Christmas Day is on December 25 , when the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is celebrated according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke . After Easter is the most important feast of the ecclesiastical year .
As the Gospels do not mention dates, it is not certain that Jesus was born that day. In fact, Christmas Day was not officially recognized until the year 345 , when the influence of St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Nazianzen proclaimed December 25 as the date of the Nativity.
The pagan festival most closely associated with the new Christmas was the Roman Saturnalia , December 19 , in honor of Saturn, god of agriculture , celebrated for seven days bustling entertainment and banquets. At the same time , was celebrated in Northern Europe a similar winter festival known as Yule, in which large logs and branches adorned with ribbons in honor of the gods for the sun to shine harder burned.
Birth and carols
Once incorporated these elements , the Church later added in the Middle Ages birth and carols customs. At this time , the banquets were the highlight of the celebrations. All this had an abrupt end in Britain when , in 1552, the Puritans banned Christmas. Although Christmas returned to England in 1660 with Charles II , rituals disappeared until the Victorian era.
Tree and Christmas cards
Christmas as we know it today is a creation of the nineteenth century. The Christmas tree , originating in Germanic areas , spread other areas of Europe and America. The carols were recovered and composed many new ( the custom of singing carols, although ancient origins, comes mainly from the nineteenth century). Christmas cards did not begin to be used until the 1870s, although the first one was printed in London in 1846.
Santa Claus and
the Spirit of Christmas
The familiar image of Santa Claus with sleigh , reindeer and bags with toys, is an American invention of these years, although the legend of Santa Claus is ancient and complex , and proceed from San Nicolas and jovial medieval figure the spirit of christmas. In Russia traditionally wears a pink pig under his arm.
Today, Christmas is a time of great commercial activity and exchange of gifts , gatherings and family meals.
In the West the Midnight Mass is celebrated in churches and cathedrals. In Latin America, strong Catholic tradition, especially celebrates Christmas Eve ( 24 December) with a family dinner for a variety of dishes , desserts and traditional drinks are made.
Midnight Mass is the end of a long accumulation of wakefulness own winter solstice celebrations, the image and likeness of the eve of the summer solstice , San Juan. It is a solar party that once played a major fire , like on the eve of San Juan paper. The conclusion that this had just being a Mass , is a triumph of ecclesiastical discipline of freedom and debauchery to the secular celebrations . Christmas is celebrated liturgically with three masses : the midnight, the dawn and noon, covering the entire development of the Christmas celebrations . On this night the awakening of the sun was celebrated ( is when the day begins to lengthen ) , should not be sleeping, but had to spend the whole night out. With Christianity these festivals were Christianized , with the new axis of the newborn Jesus .
Another of the stars of this mass festive and could take hours to reach , was the rooster, which is what could name this mass. For starters, this Mass was not celebrated at midnight as now, but at dawn. In fact , this celebration called before Mass, Matins (the first liturgical prayer , which is done at dawn ) was called , and was enlivened by the cock crowing ( one) that led to mass with this objective. Each cockcrow was celebrated with great fun and joy . In these unique masses even ate and drank , under the watchful eyes of the priest who presided over the ” mass ” and tried to enter it all the religious elements was possible.
Another name given to this Christmas celebration night (and still preserved in the Baleares) is the Calendar . It is so called reading the lives of saints important celebrated throughout the year. These calenders in the major feasts were accompanied by sacred representation , sung and quite festive. The Christmas Calendar was par excellence.
Here was a tour of the most archaic forms of the celebration of the Vigil of Christmas, which was becoming more serious and formal, to become mince. The name of this Mass is the only remnant that remains of the old informality of this mass . , Which actually was a very honest vigil format, with deep religious brand, which was accentuated even more.