Christmas is a spirit of emotion, euphoria, blessing, charity and helping any individual selflessly irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. Merry Christmas 2021 holds the elements of benevolence, tenderness, sacrifice and peace moreover, Christmas is not only a religious festival but a tradition and custom as it is celebrated across the board by non-Christians as well.
Etymology of the word “Christmas” evolved throughout the history as different words were associated with it. Anglo-Saxons referred Christmas as “midwinter” while in old English “Yule” was the period from the month of December to January, which was also referred as Christmas. Later, in 14th century “nael” a French word also termed as “birthday” moreover, Christmas is a shorter form of “Christ’s mass” which was also used as “cristes-messe” in 1131. In history we found the traces of word “christenmas” which was the part of vocabulary for many years but in Middle English it evolved as “cristenmasse” terms as “Christian mass.”
The exact birth of Jesus Christ is still not clear till this date as the bible does not mention the exact day of birth. History narrates us about early years of Christianity in which Easter was considered as the main celebrated holiday rather than Jesus’ birth. Another perspective of selecting 25th December as Jesus’ birth was the priori logic that explored spring equinox. Spring equinox occurs on 25th march, considered when the world was created and believed to be the day of Jesus’ conception. Therefore, 25th March following nine months later to 25th December, considered to be the date of Jesus’ birth but before this date 6th January was viewed as Jesus’ birth which follows his baptism.
Later, in the 4th century, the church decided to officially institute a holiday in their calendar as Jesus’ birth; moreover, it is believed that Pope Julius 1 along with the church chooses 25th December. It mends its way to all the corners of the world, in 432 as it became a custom and festival in Egypt, and it went to England in the late 6th century. It is believed by historians that the church selected this specific date in order to adopt or absorb the traditions of pagan saturnalia festival.
Christmas festive acquires its prevalence by celebrating it at the same time of winter solstice festival in the Roman calendar; church leaders were of the view that by implementing this move worldwide would embarrass this carnival worldwide. It turned out to be a massive change as pagan religion was replaced by Christianity in Middle English but Christmas faced turmoil in the 17th century in Europe after the arrival of puritans and Cromwell in 1645. Later, turmoil shifted to America as well in 1659 to 1681 where commemorating Christmas was considered a crime and any individual instituting this ceremony would be charged five shillings.
Even after American Revolution it does not change the perspective as Christmas was not declared official holiday until 1870.Immigrant’s especially Dutch families turned out to be a source in America for the celebration of Christmas moreover, they not only establish this carnival to honour able state but also salutated the new traditional elements including Christmas tree, traditional cuisine and playing games. Dutch immigrants were the one who honoured the prestigious figure of Saint Nicholas. Contemporary Christmas wishes customs do not have liturgical affirmation or theological aspect as renaissance humanist Sebastian Brant was the one to trace the custom of placing branches of fire trees in houses in his allegory The ship of fools and advent wrath holds its origin in North America.
Christmas evolves with different eras in the pages of history but it holds its sacred worth in the hearts of its believers moreover, it is not a festival but became a major glorious event for all the people of the world as it holds the aspect of secularity. An Event that unites different cultures, traditions, customs and races irrespective of their divergence or differences. Light that shines in the inner souls of not only its believers but it also belongs to non-Christians as the event gave them cheerful moments.