No year passes by without the celebration of Christmas in the month of December. This celebration takes place simultaneously around the world on the 25th of December. As a matter of fact, once the month of December kicks in, merriment and celebration fill the air, parties and shows everywhere, the atmosphere is always clouded with joy and happiness. The big question is that amidst all these, have we really considered finding out what the season of Christmas is all about and why we celebrate it when we do? It will definitely blow your mind.
The word, ‘Christmas’ was actually coined from an old English word, ‘Cristesmæsse’, first recorded in 1038. It was later changed to ‘Cristes-messe in 1131, followed by ‘Cristemasse’ from which ‘Christ’s Mass’ (Christmas) was derived. The word ‘Crist’ is from a Greek word ‘Khristos’ which can be translated in Hebrew as ‘Messiah or anointed’ while ‘mæsse’ is a Latin word which means ‘the celebration of the Eucharist’. This celebration may also be referred to as ‘Yule’, ‘Nativity’ or ‘Noel’, all referring to the birth of a person (Jesus Christ).
This is the period the Christians celebrate the birth of their Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. While we were growing up, the 25th of December always the D-day, the day Jesus was born. So, we all thought but it turns out to be one of those fallacies we have been initiated to believe. Some scientists have come up with theories stating that Jesus was born in summer, others said he was born in autumn, saying that Venus and Jupiter came together to form the bright light which was the star stated in the bible and that Saturn and Jupiter together also formed the star in the two seasons respectively. The fact still remains that he wasn’t born on the 25th of December. This date was in fact chosen by the Catholic Church for various reasons- a story for another Christmas. The first time the birth of Jesus Christ was attributed to the date December 25 was in the 4th century, according to early Roman history. Early celebrations of Christmas are thought to have derived from Roman and other European festivals that marked the end of the harvest, and the winter solstice. Some customs from those celebrations that have endured include decorating homes with greenery, giving gifts, singing songs, and eating special foods.
The holiday developed further with the legend of St. Nicholas. Although much of his history is unconfirmed, the man who became St. Nicholas lived in the 4th century and is believed to have been a bishop in Asia Minor. Many miracles attributed to him are dubious at best. Nevertheless, some countries named him their patron saint. He also is considered the patron saint of, among others, children (for protecting them), sailors (whom he reputedly saved at sea), and the poor (to whom he generously gave gifts). In his honor, the Feast of St. Nicholas was marked on December 6 and gifts given the night before. The tradition was well established in many European countries by the 12th century. Eventually, because St. Nicholas’ Day and Christmas Day are so close together, their traditions generally were combined. St. Nicholas took on different personas in different countries. For example, The Netherlands have Sinter Klaas; Father Christmas gives gifts in Great Britain; Père Noël does the same in France; and in Germany St. Nicholas has had many names including Klaasbuur, Burklaas, Rauklas, Bullerklaas, and Sunnercla, although Father Christmas is becoming more popular. In the United States, the Dutch settlers’ Sinter Klaas evolved into Santa Claus.
As popularly said, ‘too much talk no dey full basket’. Ignore the story, celebrate Jesus, flex and ‘chop life’, it’s the season. Stay safe. Merry Christmas to you!