Christmas marks the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but since then, numerous other traditions have been mixed with the originals. Today even people of other faiths – or none at all – celebrate Christmas worldwide. No celebration is more intertwined in myth than is Christmas. Some Christmas "myths" turn out to be true and some "truths" turn out to be myths! Following are few such myths!
As many business struggle with whether or not to call their December party a “Christmas party” or a “Holiday party,” there has always been a bit of confusion over the use of the word “Xmas” in place of “Christmas.” Many assume that replacing Christ with the letter X is disrespectful. This is not true. X is a substitute for the Greek Chi which is an early church representation of Christ. There is no intention of disrespect.
It's illegal to eat mince pies on Xmas
Actually, it is illegal to eat mince pies, but on Christmas Day only, because Oliver Cromwell banned them on a long time ago and the law hasn't been changed since. He banned them because he felt that Christmas Day should be a day of prayer, and respect, not a day of parties and merry making. In Britain, it is illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day, although the law is obviously not enforced today. So it is still a law, though it is not enforced, so feel free to eat mince pies any time you feel like it.
No Decorations On Jan 6
Taking down ornaments on January 6 is a European tradition still followed by many people of German, Polish and Czech ancestry. The tradition, in part, dates before 1900 when ornaments were often real fruit, nuts and marzipan and would be eaten. It is explained to children that, if you take down your lights before January 6, the Wise Men may not be able to find their way, even though all the Christmas lights in the world, combined, would not be as bright as the star God used to guide them. January 6 is the day the three kings arrived and the traditional day to take down the tree but, there really are no rules.
Christ was born 2001 years ago
This error can also be traced to Dionysius Exiguus, who calculated that Christ was born 753 years after the supposed date of the foundation of Rome by Romulus. We know that Herod died in 4 BC. Therefore the Jesus of the Gospels must have been born before that date. Jesus was born either before 4 BC or in 6 AD. The traditional date, 25 December 1 BC, is a combination between a symbolic choice and a calculation of Dionysius Exiguus.
Santa Was Always Fat and Jolly
Not always. Santa is loosely based on St. Nicholas, the fourth century Bishop of Demre, Turkey, who was said to have carried a sack full of toys for poor children. Our modern day version of "Jolly Old St. Nick" was created in 1863, by Thomas Nast. Not until 1821 was Santa seen flying in the sky behind a pack of reindeer. Only in 1837 do we find evidence that he arrived in American homes via the chimney. And not until the Civil War did Santa look the way we imagine him. In colonial days he was often described as thin and beardless. Later, Santa was depicted as a fat man with brown hair and a big smile.
Christmas Trees Are Traditional
The Christmas tree first made its appearance in America in the middle of the 18th century, thanks to German immigrants. When Theodore Roosevelt became president he denounced the practice of cutting down trees for Christmas. In 1851 a Cleveland, Ohio reverend who had recently emigrated from Germany put up a Christmas tree in his local church. He was roundly condemned. Nobody before had ever put up a Christmas tree in an American church.
The Christmas Cards Tradition
The custom of sending Christmas cards started in Britain in 1840 when the first 'Penny Post' public postal deliveries began. As printing methods improved, Christmas cards were produced in large numbers from about 1860. They became even more popular in Britain when a card could be posted in an unsealed envelope for one half-penny - half the price of an ordinary letter. For about 30 years, Americans had to import their Christmas cards from Britain. It wasn't until 1875 that the first Christmas cards would be printed in the United States. And the Christmas cards sent back then really didn't mirror today's popular cards at all.
Father Christmas was Christian
Father Christmas typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, but was neither a gift bringer nor particularly associated with children. The pre-modern representations of the gift-giver from church history, namely Saint Nicholas, (Sinterklaas), and folklore merged with the English, and later British Isles, character Father Christmas to create the character known to Americans as Santa Claus. Like Santa Claus, Father Christmas has been identified with the old belief in Woden (Odin to the Norse). Woden was the god of magic and healing and he rode across the sky on Sleipnir, his eight-legged horse. At midwinter, Woden came to earth and down the smoke-hole in the form of Father Christmas to dispense goodwill, peace, plenty and presents. Christians stole this myth when they turned a 4th century Turkish bishop called Nicholas into a saint. Subsequently, the Americans corrupted his name into 'Santa Claus'.
Jesus was born on December 25th
Was Jesus born on December 25? There is no evidence for this date. So then, who decided that Jesus' birth would be celebrated on that date? The early Christian church did not celebrate Jesus' birth. It wasn't until A.D. 440 that the church officially proclaimed December 25 as the birth of Christ. This was not based on any religious evidence but on a pagan feast. The custom of celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25 first occurred in the 4th century. This was a clever move on the part of Church fathers, who wished to have it forgotten that the December 25 festivities were of a rival pagan religion. The celebration of Christmas became a permanent fixture in the Western world in the year 337 under the rule of the Roman emperor Constantine.
Christians invented Christmas
This is considered a myth by many. Christians hijacked a pagan festival and tried to turn it into their own. It was originally a celebration of the return of the sun god on earth. The ancient Romans, for example, exchanged gifts at Saturnalia. Some Christian groups have made attempts to stop the observation of Christmas However these have proved unsuccessful. The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges: The date of Christ's birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month." According to Biblical evidence surrounding his birth,Jesus could not have born in the wintertime, but is thought to have born in the fall, perhaps October. So, in answer to the question,"Who invented Christmas?", the Pagans invented the holiday, with all of its customs, and the early Catholic church renamed it, so that today it is called "Christmas." Enough said.