Christmas is around the corner. How many of these fun facts have you heard of?
TOP 1 Christ’s Birth Date is Unknown
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who was stated as the Son of God in the bible. Even though Christmas has always been celebrated on 25 December, nobody really knows the exact date that Jesus was born. In fact, many scholars and theologians even suggest that it is unlikely that Jesus was born on 25 December as it would have been too cold for the shepherds to tend their sheep in the field and for the census to be carried out. It is more probable that Jesus was born in a warmer month.
TOP 2 Christ Was Not Born in a Manger
We have seen nativity scenes of baby Jesus being born in a manger, but is that really the case? The manger is where modern-day farmers keep their animals, but not so for people during Jesus’ time. The people of Bethlehem during that time keep their animals in an adjoining cave or the bottom floor of a house, which are more probable places for Jesus’ birth.
TOP 3 Santa Claus Originated From Saint Nicholas
Everyone knew Santa Claus, but do you know where it originated from? Santa Claus is actually a representation of Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Christian bishop who gave away large amounts from his inheritance to help the poor. The name “Saint Nicholas” is “Sinterklaas” in Dutch, which is later morphed into “Santa Claus”. The image of Santa Claus as a big bearded man wearing red suit and carrying a bag of presents only came much later.
TOP 4 Christmas Was Once Illegal
This may come as a shock, but it is indeed true that Christmas celebrations were made illegal in England in 1644! This even extends to English colonies in America soon after. The ban was put in place because the government felt that the original meaning of Christmas had been forgotten due to the holiday festivities. It wasn’t until almost 20 years later when celebrating Christmas is legal again.
TOP 5 The Origin of Hanging Stockings by the Chimney
Ever wondered where did the tradition of hanging stockings by the chimney came from? It is said that there was a poor man who has three daughters and didn’t have enough for his daughters’ dowries. One night, the girls hung their freshly-washed stockings at the chimney to dry. The generous Saint Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down their chimney and it ended up in one of the stockings. The story spread and a new tradition was born.
TOP 6 Christmas Wreaths are Religious Symbols
Christmas wreaths are a common sight during Christmas and is almost synonymous with Christmas celebrations. However, did you know that it first originated as a symbol of Christ? The wreath represents the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The spiky leaves of the holly represents the thorns, while the red berries represent the blood that was shed. The next time you see a wreath, may it remind you of the reason for the season.
TOP 7 Silent Night is the Most Recorded Song
Thanks to the incessant playing of Christmas songs everywhere we go during the Christmas season, we are familiar with many Christmas songs and we have our favourites. Of all the songs, the song that has been recorded more than others is Silent Night. Since it was composed, it has adapted and recorded numerous times, with more than 733 versions copyrighted since 1978.
TOP 8 The Origin of Christmas Tree
There are a few stories when it comes to the origin of Christmas trees. One of them is that of Prince Albert of Germany getting a tree for Queen Victoria of England, his new wife. The tree was decorated with ornaments and a drawing of the first Christmas tree (shown above) appeared in the Illustrated London News in 1848. It gained immense popularity and took the world by storm since then.
TOP 9 Jingle Bells Wasn’t A Christmas Song
Jingle Bells is a classic Christmas song, but did you notice that the lyrics of the song make no mention of Christmas? There is also no reference to Jesus. That is because it was originally written for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. Written in 1850 by composer J. Pierpont, the original song was titled “One Horse Open Sleigh”.
TOP 10 It is not Always Celebrated on 25th December
Although Christmas is always celebrated on 25 December in most parts of the world, Orthodox Christians in some countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Romania celebrate Christmas on 7 January. Some Greek Orthodox Christians also celebrate Christmas on 7 January.
Photo credits: National Catholic Register, Asia Pacific Report, Papillon Hotels, IrishCentral, SPY, Unsplash, JW Pepper, National Geographic, Ohio State University Library, Reader’s Digest Canada
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