I was born and raised in a traditional christian family. As christians, we don’t have many festivals to celebrate. Christmas is a time of the year that every christian is wait for. Since I live in Goa, all my christmases were quite memorable.
When it comes to religion, I have a liberal point of view. I respect other religions and their beliefs. Being in a country like India, it is important to know about each other’s religion. So in this blog post, I’ll be sharing with you guys some of the most basic concepts about christmas and christianity.
Christian revolves around the teaching of Jesus. Jesus is mentioned not only in Bible but also in Quran. Christians consider Jesus to be the “Messiah” and “the son of God”. In Islam, Jesus is considered as a prophet and not as the son of God. Islam and christianity term Jesus as the Messiah . In english messiah means “the anointed”.
Jesus was also known as Christ. The followers of Christ are known as christians. Christmas is consider as the time of celebration by christians around the world.
What is Christmas?
Christmas is a day that celebrates the birth of Jesus. There are around 2.2 billion christians in world. United States has the highest number of christian population (246 million). You will find christians all over the world. Unlike the old days, christians today belong to different cultures. In every culture, christmas is celebrated differently.
Modern Christmas traditions came from a variety of sources. Gift giving was also a Roman tradition from Saturnalia, a festival that came slightly earlier in December. The origin of the tree is debated, but some scholars think it stems from a European animist tradition of bringing an evergreen tree inside so that the tree’s spirit would protect the home during winter. Alternatively, Druids decorated their temples with evergreens as a symbol of everlasting life during their Alban Arthan festival, which also takes place at the Winter Solstice.
Many other regional Christmas traditions, such as the Yule log, also stem from winter or solstice traditions that were then incorporated into the holiday.
Read Quote of Jim Seidman’s answer to What is the history of Christmas? on Quora
Christmas Across the world :
United States of America :
People belonging to different ethnicities have settled down in USA. So christmas is celebrated differently by different families. Even their meals are different; cuisines include turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, Kielbasa, soups, cabbage dishes etc.
Streets and houses are decorated with huge christmas trees, statues of Santa Claus, reindeer and snowmen.
The Russian orthodox church of Russia uses the old julian calendar therefore Christmas is celebrated at the 7th of January. Some of the Russian Fast on the Christmas eve [Christmas Eve is the day or evening before Christmas Day].
Brazil is known for its celebrations. The Christmas celebration starts with the Christmas Eve. You will find a lot of singing, dancing and fireworks. Santa Claus is quite popular in Brazil. They call him Papai Noel. Kids in Brazil keep their shoes near the xmas tree or window. It is believed that Santa puts gifts in theses shoes.
Australians have a myth that Santa exchanged his reindeers for six white kangaroos. Barbecue by the beach is also one of the popular Australian christmas traditions.
In Greece, during christmas eve holy water is sprinkled around the house by a cross to ward of the mischief creature “Killantzaroi”.
In the city of Caracas, Venezuela; It is a tradition to roller blade to the Christmas morning mass.
Czech Republic :
In Poland it is believed that if a cherry twig planted by a girl on 4th December blossoms before the Eve of Christmas then the girl will get married in the following year.
Christmas in Goa :
Goa has a huge Christian population. This is the reason why christmas celebrations in Goa is considered as one of the finest. By christmas eve, the streets of Goan glows up by beautiful lightning decorations and fireworks. When you are in Goa, you will hear Christmas carols in buses, streets, malls and various other places during the Christmas. Santa parades the streets of Goa with gifts, chocolates and sweets for the kids. You will smell freshly baked cakes and wines at every christian house. Goans decorate their homes with the neon lights, glowing stars, xmas trees and cribs of baby Jesus.
Influence of Portuguese Culture on Goa :
It is believed christianity existed in Goa before the Portugueses. Vasco da Gama played an important role in the spread of Portuguese culture in India. After Portugal conquered Goa, a huge number of Goans converted into christianity.
The Portuguese heritage of Goa play an important role in making it a popular tourist destination. Every year countless visitors come to Goa to celebrate christmas and new year. The influence of Portuguese culture can be seen it the culture, architecture and cuisine of Goa.
Things that you will experience only in Christmas :
- Nativity scene (Christmas Crib) :
Mostly in India it’s only the Catholic Christians who put up a crib at home and in their churches. The Protestants generally avoid this. People other than Christians who visit the church to enjoy decorations and the lights also get to learn about the birth of Jesus and learn something about the religion.
Read Quote of Shriharsha Kumar Konda’s answer to Different countries make Christmas cribs in different ways. How do you make it in your country? on Quora
- Christmas Carol :
Christmas Carol is a set of christmas themed songs that are performed by families or a group of choir singers from the neighborhood. They visit every door that welcomes them and sing cheerful christmas hymns.
- Christmas Tree :
It is a decorated tree that represents the true spirit of christmas. It is considered as the centre of all Christmas decorations.
- Santa Claus :
During christmas people dress like Santa and distribute gifts and sweets to the kids.
Importance of Santa Claus in Christmas :
He is the most well-known christian icon in the world. According to the most popular legend, Mr Santa is a chubby old man. He has a jolly personality and loves to sing dance and distribute gifts to kids. He lives in a magical land of North Pole and rides a flying sledge.
There is more to Santa then this mythological stories or legend. Many don’t know the true story of Santa Claus not even christian. Santa actually existed in the 4th century.
Origin of Santa :
Santa Claus was Saint Nicholas of Myra, a christian Bishop from Greek origin. Saint Nicholas was known to be a very generous man. He loved kids and would shower them with small gifts to make them happy. He was born in a very wealthy family but spent all his wealthy in the service of the poor and needy. At a very early age St Nicholas devoted his life to christianity and spreading the good news of Jesus. He wandered around helping people.
Even after his death people followed his preaching. He was also known as Sinterklaas which means Saint Nicholas in Dutch. Sinterklaas later gave rise to the name “Santa claus”.
There are so many amazing stories in the christian culture. As a kid I was surrounded by christian families and learned a lot from them. In this article, I have shared some really basic information about the christian culture.
I hope that you found it to be interesting and wishes you a joyful christmas experience with your family and friends.
I’m ending my christmas post with this wonderful quote by Dale Evans :
“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”
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