'Merry Christmas!' evokes a feeling of warmth and happiness that encompasses the world in a thread of love and oneness as preached by the Lord Christ who took birth on this day. There are many traditions that have become associated with this festival over time such as Christmas tree, Midnight Mass and gifts that have their own significance and role to play in the Christmas celebration. An accumulation of the practices of at least half a dozen cultures over the centuries, all the Christmas traditions have their own sentiments and meanings and are symbolic of liveliness and harmony of the season. Explore here the various vital traditions of Christmas.
Popular Christmas Traditions
An ornamented and illuminated Christmas tree has its own attraction during Christmas as everybody keeps straying around it, if just to get a peek of the little treasure of gifts accumulated at its base. It symbolizes warmth, love and happiness of the festive season. The Christmas Gifts are placed on the base of the Christmas tree. The Christmas ambience can't even be imagined without a shining beautifully decorated Christmas tree with tuning bulbs, candles and Christmas stars.
A much-beloved star-shaped flower of the United States, Poinsettia has a bright red color. Also termed as 'Flower of the Holy Night' or the 'Flame Leaf', the botanic name of this plant is Euphorbia Pulcherrima. It was named 'Poinsettia' by German botanist, Wilenow, which means 'very beautiful'. It is the flower used on the occasion of Christmas.
Christmas teaches us to care about our loved ones, our friends and relatives, our enemies and foes, strangers, poor and downtrodden alike. It binds us in one spirit of hope, love and faith. Giving and receiving gifts is not about money but about the thoughts that you gave in to select the gift. Though the ritual has now become so much commercialized that the feeling of love and care has been lost in the glam and glitter. However, still the exchange of gifts keeps the spirits of Christmas high in the air.
Earlier, candy canes were shaped like a shepherd's crook as a symbol of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. A candy maker introduced the Christmas Candy Cane in 17th century from Indiana. He used the pure white color originally to symbolize purity and virginity of Mother Mary, and the sinless nature of Jesus Christ and his perfect life. Later in the early 20th century, the three small red stripes and one large red stripe were introduced to represent the stripes of the scourging Jesus and the bloodshed by Christ on the Cross.
On Christmas Eve, midnight mass and day services are held in the Churches to send out the message and sermons of love and redemption to the devotees as people gather to pray and thank god for his blessings and commemorate the sacrifices of Christ that he made to save the mankind. Priests often ask people to 'give each other the sign of peace', which is considered a clue to shake the hand of a complete or give a quick kiss or hug to a family member as the sign of love and compassion and oneness of the mankind on the Christmas Eve.