Christmas, celebrated by millions of Christmas and non-Christians alike on the 25th of December every year, is the most popular holiday in the world. But how much do you even know about your most favorite festival? Maybe very little. But we’re here to brush up your knowledge on Christmas. In this article, we’ll discuss some interesting Christmas facts that you’ve not heard anywhere else. So stay tuned!
Interesting Christmas Facts That You Must Know
Christmas History Facts:
- 25th December is generally considered to be the birth date of Jesus Christ, but it isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Bible that Jesus was born on the 25th December. Instead, historians believe that Jesus was born in the spring. The date December 25th was chosen because it coincided with the pagan festival Saturnalia, which celebrated Saturn, the agricultural god. This also explains the similarity between the traditions of Christmas and Saturnalia. Just like a Christmas tree, pagan people would use evergreen tree branches during the winter solstice to remind themselves that green plant would crop up in the spring, the time at which sun gods grew strong.
- The fact that Christmas is rooted in pagan festival did not go down too well with people, and they weren’t even ready to accept it as a Holiday. In fact, celebrating Christmas was considered illegal from the years 1659 to 1681. People were fined when they were caught celebrating.
- The term Christmas is derived from the world Christ’s Mass. In olden times, which was around 1038, Christmas was called Cristesmæsse, which meant ‘Christian Mass”. And the Anglo-Saxons referred to Christmas as ‘nativity’ or ‘midwinter’.
- The word “Noel”, which is featured in most of the Christmas garland and boards originates from the Latin term, ‘Natalis’, meaning ‘day of birth’.
- It’s believed that Jesus was born in a stable, but some people say that He was born in a cave. And the three wise men who visited Joseph and Mary got myrrh, gold, frankincense as gifts. This is the reason why we give Christmas presents to each other. Some even say that the tradition stems from the Saturnalia custom of offering rituals to the Gods.
- Christmas lights, the heart, and soul of Christmas were invented by Edward Johnson in 1882.
- The Christmas wreath symbolizes Jesus Christ. The red berries, generally used to decorate the wreaths symbolize his blood, while the holly symbolizes the crown of thrones.
- Santa is indeed the most common figure associated with Christmas, but there are other figures too, which include Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, and Christkind.
Christmas Tree Facts:
- Christmas trees are a staple during the holidays, but do you have any idea when it came into existence? We can’t say that surely, but there’s a pamphlet dating back to 1570 with Christmas tree picture on it. So it can be said that Christmas tree came around 1500s. And Germans are believed to be the first people to bring Christmas trees in their homes and decorate them with lights and cookies.
- Christmas trees were introduced in America in the 1830s, but they became popular after 1846, after Prince Albert of Germany brought it to England after marrying Queen Victoria. The two were sketched on their first Christmas together with a Christmas tree in the background. The tradition became an instant hit and has never gone down since then.
- Every year, 60 million trees are grown in Europe for Christmas.
- The largest Christmas tree, reaching 221 feet high, was placed in the Washington Mall in 1950.
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Santa Claus And Reindeer Facts:
- Santa Claus was originally St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop of the 4th century living in (now) Turkey. St. Nicholas was very wealthy, and instead of spending it on himself, he would give it to the needy. When St. Nicholas died, his legend spread across the world, and he was canonized as the Saint of Children. Santa Claus is called Le Befana in Italy, Santa Kriss Kringle in Germany and Pere Noel in France.
- The tradition of Santa Claus distributing gifts began in Holland to celebrate the St. Nicholas’ feast day on the 6th of December. Children would leave shoes a night before the feast and would find tiny gifts by St. Nicholas for them.
- We all want Santa Claus to visit us on the Christmas Eve, but you need to understand that in order to visit all the homes in the world, he would need to visit 822 homes every second. Now that’s impossible, right?
- Do you know why we serve milk and cookies to Santa Claus? That’s because Dutch children would leave food and drink for St. Nicholas on his feast day. And the reason we leave carrots for Santa Claus’ reindeer is that in Norse mythology, people would leave treats and hay for Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Odin in the hopes that God would visit their home during the Yule hunting adventures. The kids adopted this tradition, tweaked it a bit and would leave treats for St. Nick’s carrier.
- The first look of Santa Claus was decided in an 1804 meeting held at the New York Historical Society. John Pintard, the member of the society handed out his final presentation of jolly and old St. Nick with stockings filled with toys.
- For over a hundred years, Santa Claus wore a green and white outfit. The traditional red and white outfit came from a Coco Cola ad in 1930. The image of Santa flying across in a sleigh was conceived by Washington Irving, the author who created Headless Horseman. Also, early illustrations of St. Nicholas showed him as a symbol of discipline rather than and overweight, jolly and happy old man that everyone knows today.
- Every year, Santa Claus receives millions of letters, and they are addressed to the Santa Claus of United States residing in Santa Claus, Indiana.
- Rudolf, our favorite red-nosed reindeer, was conceived in Montgomery Ward, a department store. It was actually a marketing gimmick to make the kids buy coloring books. But the initial draft of Rudolf did not have the red nose because the red nose was a sign of chronic alcoholism and the Montgomery Ward people did not want Rudolf to look like a drunkard. Neither was the name Rudolf the first choice. The red-nosed reindeer was earlier supposed to be called Reginald or Rollo, but Reginald, the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Rollo, the Red-Nosed Reindeer doesn’t have the same festive ring to it, like Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
- “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, the poem that introduced us all to the other eight reindeer that initially decided to drop all the names. Also, several other reindeer have been included in the Santa’s sleigh team over the years, which include Feckless, Steady, Glossie, Flossie, Pacer, Racer, Fireball, Ready and Steady.
Christmas Stockings Facts:
- Hanging of Christmas stockings is a Dutch tradition. The Dutch people would fill the shoes with food for St. Nicholas’ donkeys and in return, St. Nicholas would leave small gifts in return. And if you’re wondering how the tradition of putting tangerines in stockings came into being, we can tell you that as well. In the 12th century, the nuns would leave socks full of fruit, nuts, and tangerines at every door of the poor in their vicinity. Even before all this, Saint Nicholas dropped a bag of gold from the house of a poor woman’s chimney who couldn’t afford the dowry for her wedding. The bag of gold fell into the stocking drying by the fireplace. This is how the tradition of stocking originally began. It stopped for a while, but was again brought up by the Dutch.
Christmas Song And Carol Facts:
- “White Christmas” is the bestselling Christmas song of all time with over 100 million copies sold while “Silent Night” is the most recorded Christmas song in the history, with over 733 versions.
- All these years, it was believed that Silent Night was written by Father Joseph Mohr in Austria, who wished to have his music at the Christmas service after one of his organs broke. But in reality, a priest wrote this song while being stationed at a pilgrim church in Austria.
- It’s said that “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” has a depressing back story. The writer of this song, James Haven” Gillespie was jobless, broken and was grieving the death of his brother when he was asked to write this song. Initially, he was too overcome with grief to write the song, but found inspiration eventually in the Christmas memories he spent with his brother.
- Nearly all the popular Christmas songs, including “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”, “Chestnuts roasting”, “Winter Wonderland” were written by Jewish people.
- “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey is considered the most popular Christmas song of all time. Tommy Mottla, Mariah’s then-husband played Santa in this song.
- The tradition of singing Christmas carols in the church began in the 13th century.
- Jingle Bells, the famous Christmas song, written by James Pierpont in 1857 was actually for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. And the song was originally called, “One Horse Open Sleigh”. Now that’s one interesting Christmas fact.
I guess, we’ve fed you with all the essential and interesting Christmas facts. We’re sure some of these Christmas facts must have rattled your mind. If you’re aware of more such Christmas facts, let us know by commenting below.