How Merry Are The Merry Christmas Celebrations: Facts, Statistics & Trends
A Tradition called Christmas: Some basic facts
- ‘Cristes Mæsse’. The word Christmas originates from the Old English ‘Cristes Mæsse’ meaning the ‘mass of Christ’
- Birth of Christ. The story of Christmas begins with the birth of a Christ in Bethlehem. It is believed that Christ was born on the 25th, although the exact month is unknown. December was likely chosen so the Catholic Church could compete with rival pagan rituals held at that time of year and because of its closeness with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a traditional time of celebration among many ancient cultures.
But its not just a Traditional Celebration Anymore….
Watch this very brief video on what Christmas stands for today
Really How Merry is Merry Christmas: Some very interesting Statistics and Trends related to Christmas Celebrations
How Merry is Merry Christmas Around the Globe: Interesting facts about Christmas Celebrations around the world
Christmas has its own unique flavor depending on the place in the world you are enjoying it. One person’s St. Nicholas is another person’s Père Noël. Some feast on turkey; others prefer porridge. Here in a beautiful video which takes you exactly through this feeling. Thats followed by some more interesting facts about the different celebrations of Christmas around the globe.
Christmas Celebrations in United States
- Christmas is not just celebrated by the religious in the U.S. Non-denominational celebrations center on family and presents. Those who are religious usually attend a church service on Christmas Eve. Most families decorate with Christmas trees, outdoor lights, and holiday scenes, and display holiday cards received from family and friends.
- Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning is when people usually open gifts with their families and stockings are often hung by the chimneys (or on the walls, if lacking fireplaces) for Santa Claus—a bearded old man wearing a white suit and characterized by a fondness for sweets. He visits after everyone has gone to sleep on Christmas Eve and eats the cookies and milk left out for him. (Some also leave carrots for his reindeer posse.)
- Traditional Christmas dinners are similar to Thanksgiving feasts—roast turkey, ham, stuffing, and so forth.
Christmas Celebrations in Bethlehem
- Christmas is a big to-do in Bethlehem because it is the believed site of Jesus’ birth.
- Throughout December, there are Christmas fairs in Manger Square (located in the West Bank area of town) and the outdoors are adorned with lights.
- The Church of the Nativity is a popular destination on the day and night before Christmas.
- A yearly parade passes through the town and most of the community comes out to watch the procession of horses and city officials.
Christmas Celebrations in China
- Kids who celebrate Christmas in China hang stockings and eagerly anticipate the nighttime arrival of Dun Che Lao Ren, which translates to “Christmas Old Man.”
- Decorations include paper lanterns and flowers on what they call “Trees of Light.”
- This time of year also hosts celebrations for the Spring Festival, which is during the Chinese New Year at the end of January.
- This is when most people have elaborate feasts, give gifts to children, honor ancestors, and set off fireworks.
Christmas Celebrations in Russia
- Christmas in Russia is sometimes celebrated on December 25, but for those who follow the Russian Orthodox Church calendar, it actually falls on January 7.
- Christians in Russia usually attend church on Christmas Eve (January 6) and some people don’t eat until the first star has appeared in the sky that evening.
- Regardless of when people sit down to eat, the meatless meal centers on kutya, a porridge consisting of grains, honey, and poppy seeds. These ingredients represent hope, well-being, unity, and bounty.
- The symbolic gift-bringer is Babushka, a grandmotherly figure. What we think of as Christmas traditions, such as giving presents, occur more commonly on New Year’s Day.
Christmas Celebrations in Japan
- Christmas is not so much a religious holiday in Japan because the Christian population is small (about 1 percent). However, the Japanese have adopted many of the commercial customs that are popular in the U.S., such as decorating their homes with Christmas trees, exchanging gifts, and hosting parties.
- Many people celebrate on Christmas Eve, which has become more of a romantic holiday (similar to Valentine’s Day) with couples going out to dinner.
- Christmas cake, a sponge cake with whipped cream and berries, is a traditional treat during this time. Oddly enough, fried chicken is a popular choice for Christmas dinner and restaurants like KFC prepare special chicken meals for the holiday.
Christmas Celebrations in France
- French children have not one, but two Christmas figures to answer to when the holidays near.
- Père Noël fills shoes (not stockings) that are placed near fireplaces with gifts; for those who were more naughty than nice, Père Fouettard is the disciplinarian who tells her counterpart whether the kids deserve gifts or spankings. (In some parts of France, baby Jesus brings the gifts instead of Père Noël.) Most homes put up small nativity scenes and the use of Christmas trees isn’t very common.
- Instead of a Yule log, the French make a chocolate cake in the shape of a Yule log. This is a component of Christmas Eve dinner (la rveillon), which follows midnight mass.
- Kids receive gifts on Christmas Day (and sometimes on St. Nicholas’ Day on December 6) and adults give each other presents on the first day of the new year.
Christmas Celebrations in Australia
- A beachside Christmas is perfectly acceptable in the land down under, where December falls during the summer season.
- Due to the hot weather, the holiday feast usually includes cold cuts, salads, and similar light fare. Pavlova, a meringue cake covered in whipped cream and fruit, is particularly popular this time of year.
- One of the major events during this time of year is Carols by Candlelight, which is a series of outdoor concerts in towns across the continent on Christmas Eve. People sit together outdoors and sing Christmas carols while candles light up the summer night.
Christmas Celebrations in Greece
- Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Christmas in Greece, and he’s also the patron saint of sailors, which could explain why the Greek gift-bringer (Agios Basilis, who gives presents on January 1, St. Basil’s Day) arrives via ship instead of sled.
- Instead of helpful elves, people tell tales of kallikantzeri, little creatures that create problems during the twelve days before the holiday.
- The night before Christmas is a time for children to walk around the towns singing carols and they’re rewarded with sweets and nuts.
- Lamb and pork are the main attractions at Christmas dinner, and christopsomo (Christ bread) and kourambiethes, a type of cookie, are served as well.
Christmas Celebrations in Nicaragua
- The holiday season here is marked by street fairs with lots of festive items on display.
- Christmas celebrations officially kick off on December 6, and the whole month becomes one long party.
- Homes are decorated with pine trees covered in ornaments and lights and small nativity scenes.
- Kids are encouraged to write their gift wish lists to either Santa or Baby Jesus.
- Many attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, which is followed by a large dinner.
- Christmas Day is a continuation of more eating, dancing, and singing carols. The season ends with a dazzling fireworks display.
More Facts on Christmas: Knowing the The Santa Claus
While all of us know Santa Claus as a big, round, red-cheeked, joyous, old gentleman who delivers Christmas gifts clad in black boots and a red and white suit, who really is Santa Claus and where does Santa Claus come from ? Lets take a look at some of the facts on origin of the Santa Claus:
- The legend of Santa Claus dates all the way back to the 4th century when a child named Nicholas was born who was to become world renowned as Santa Claus. Nicholas soon showed signs of special abilities.
- As a grown-up he became bishop of Myra in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey, where, according to legend, he only did good deeds. One of the deeds later associated with Nicholas as Santa Claus or gift donor took place when he saved a family from poverty one night by throwing money through their window. But Nicholas was capable of much more than that. He could, by the power of God, bring the dead back to life and save sailors from storms. Therefore, Nicholas (later known as Santa Claus) was beatified and initially, was mostly honored by the sailors.
- At first, Nicholas became a Catholic saint, but during the Reformation hagiolatry was abandoned by the Protestants. However, it was difficult to just drop St. Nicholas due to his popularity; thus, he was portrayed without a bishop’s miter and was named Santa Claus. Coincidentally, Nicolas had died in December, thus, it was now easy to associate him as Santa Claus with Christmas and gift-giving. That’s how St. Nicholas became known under the name Santa Claus in Europe and later on, also in the USA. His story was spread by the Dutch sailors berthing in New York. They called St. Nicholas “Sinterklaas”, and through translations to American English, he became the American “Santa Claus”.
- Today, Santa Claus is famous all around the world as the kind, old man who brings Christmas gifts to the children. Santa Claus has been widely used as a commercial eye catcher, in particular after 1930, when Coca Cola used him in their advertisements for the first time. Here he had a big, white beard, black boots, a big red coat, and an infectious laughter – exactly like we know and love him today.
- However, discussions about his origins continue. St. Nicholas came from Asia, but today he is associated with snow and Christmas; therefore, countries like Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, and Sweden are fighting for the right to house the old gift giver.
Some more interesting facts about about the symbol of Christmas – The Santa Claus
- Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth.
- In Poland, Santa Claus gives gifts on the 6th of December.
- Santa Claus is also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, and Kris Kringle.
- In 1866, the artist, Thomas Nast, made a montage entitled, “Santa Claus and His Works” and for the first time established Santa as a maker of toys
- It was Coca-Cola’s magazine advertisements, billboards, and point-of-sale store displays that exposed nearly everyone in America to the modern Santa Claus image.
The Several Names of Santa:
|Chile||Viejo Pascuero (“Old Man Christmas”)|
|China||Dun Che Lao Ren (“Christmas Old Man”)|
|Germany||Weihnachtsmann (“Christmas Man”)|
|Hungary||Mikulas (St. Nicholas)|
|Japan||Hoteiosho (a god or priest who bears gifts)|
|Norway||Julenissen (“Christmas gnome”)|
|Poland||Swiety Mikolaj (St. Nicholas)|
|Russia||Ded Moroz (“Grandfather Frost”)|
|Sweden||Jultomten (“Christmas brownie”)|
|United Kingdom||Father Christmas|
A very interesting infographic shared with me by James Mechan on Twitter (@Mechan135) comparing Santa with Felix Baumgartner who did the Redbull Stratos Freefall
More Facts on Christmas: Knowing About The Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree serves as the family’s center of attention. In fact, it is the center of most Christmas ceremonies all over the world. The scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree enlivens the Christmas spirit.
- During the pre-Christian era, people and tribes often had holy groves and trees where they sacrificed to the gods. The trees were most often oak or ash, and they symbolized a connection between heaven and earth. Similar ideas are found in the Old Testament – trees symbolized wisdom and life.
- In the 15th and 16th centuries, German tradesmen began to hold parties where a spruce was placed inside a home. Another story tells of how the German theologian and reformer, Martin Luther, put candles on the leaves as symbols of the stars twinkling among the forest’s trees.
- In the 17th century, the tradition of decorated Christmas trees in connection with festivities spread out to the German towns, and from there, to other parts of Europe.
- Even if the first Christmas tree in the USA, perhaps, can be traced all the way back to 1777, Christmas trees did not become popular in the USA until the middle of the 18th century. An image of the English royal family standing in front of a Christmas tree was copied and brought to the USA in 1850. This resulted in the American upper classes embracing the Christmas tree. In the following decades, the tradition of Christmas trees in living rooms became popular among the rest of the population.
- Today, the lighting of the United States’ National Christmas Tree has become a major event. The tree is located south of the White House in Washington D.C. In fact, it has already become an important symbol for the nation for many years now. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter only lit the top star on the tree in honor of the American hostages in Iran.
American Christmas trees
- Fraser Fir: The tree lives in acidic, sandy, moist soil at high elevations of 1,200-2,000 meters. The crown is pyramidal and it has horizontal branches. The tree is widely used as a Xmas tree in the USA.
- Red Fir: The tree grows in the northern parts of California and Oregon. It typically grows between the range of 40-60 meters. It has a narrow conic crown. It is often used as an outdoor holiday tree.
European Christmas Trees
- Silver Fir: Silver Fir grows in mineral-rich soil in the Central European mountain forests. The crown is conic-shaped and slim. It is highly suitable as a Christmas tree.
- Nordmann Fir: Nordmann Fir is native to the mountains on the eastside of the Black Sea. It is a large, evergreen tree with a wide and conic-shaped growth.
Traditional decoration for the Christmas tree:
- In the early days, Germany dominated the market of Christmas decorations.
- The most popular items were hand-blown glass balls and later, also silk threads, angels, and butterfly wings. USA entered the market for Christmas tree decorations in the beginning of the 1940’s when an American company succeeded in producing 2,000 Christmas balls per minute on a specially designed machine.
- In 1973, mass production really took over when the company, Hallmark, published a wide variety of Christmas products for christmas trees.
- Today, decorations for Christmas trees vary from family to family, and from country to country. In the United States, Santa Claus is frequently used as decoration; the same is the case with candy, fruit, animals, and artificial snowflakes.
More Facts about Christmas Trees
- Christmas trees have been selling commercially in the United States since the 1950’s.
- With 3,000 Christmas lights, a towering Eucalyptus regnans, 80 meters (262 ft) tall, became the tallest-ever Christmas tree in the world. This record was set in Tasmania in 1999.
- Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882.
- In the first week, a tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.
- There are over 10,000 cut-your-own farms for Christmas trees in the United States alone.
With this I wish you a very Warm & Merry Christmas. Hope you have a wonderful time.
Also, I invite you to share your thoughts about the occasion through your comments. What do you feel about the festivities, celebrations and the entire atmosphere around Christmas ?