What comes to your mind when Christmas is mentioned? No marks for guessing; the festive season, Santa Claus, merrymaking, giving gifts, getting in touch with family and friends, Christmas carols, Christmas trees and suchlike symbolic decorations, culinary delights, among others. But do you know the history behind Christmas? Read on what is Christmas celebrated for, what year did Christmas start, when did Christmas start being celebrated.”
What is Christmas Celebrated For?
For starters, Christmas is an annual festival celebrated by Christians. Did you know that the word ‘Christmas’ is a synthesis of the ‘Mass of Christ’, alternatively known as ‘Christ’s Mass’? Jesus is a son of God according to Christians. So what is Christmas celebrated for? To put it precisely and concisely, the celebration of Christmas is a commemoration of the day Jesus Christ, a key figure in Christianity, was born.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas
Did you know that there are different dates on which Christians from various geographical backgrounds celebrate Christmas? Incidentally, the majority of the Christians, celebrate Christmas on December 25 annually; most of these Christians use the Gregorian calendar. However, Christians using the Julian calendar celebrate it on January 7.
Even then the theme of what is Christmas celebrated for transcends these calendars and regions, and remains the same–to remember and rejoice the birth of the Christ.
What year did Christmas start?
Exactly what year did Christmas start? The answer is hazy and episodic. This is because it was not until 313 A.D. when Saint Constantine legalized Christianity, through the issuance of the infamous Edict of Milan. Before that time, there was religious intolerance regarding Christianity. Perhaps there existed Christmas before this period, possibly held in informal gatherings or secretly. However, with the violent religious intolerance, the recording was possibly not an option.
However, the question what year did Christmas start is a wide umbrella issue. These are because Christianity was introduced in different geographical locations at different times. This meant that the first coverts observed Christmas for the first time in their respective regions. Thus, to answer the question what year did Christmas start and where is to know when Christianity was introduced at that particular place. For instance, it was not until in the 6th century when Christmas began in the United Kingdom. This followed its introduction there by Saint Augustine, a person who hailed from areas using the Roman calendar.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_and_holiday_season
When did Christmas start being celebrated?
The earliest recorded celebration of the Christmas event took place on December 25, 336. This got a big boost when, shortly after that, Pope Julius I officially made December 25 the day for celebrating Christmas. As such, though first celebrated on December 25, 336, the first en masse celebration of Christmas started after Pope Julius I resumed office, between the years 337 to 352. This is because the Pope enforced the Nativity.
If you delve into the aforementioned Nativity, then you’ll no doubt realize that when did Christmas start being celebrated predates the earliest recorded celebration. Did you know that the original entry is written thus: “25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem, Judea”. This entry means that Christ’s birthday is December 25 and birthplace is Bethlehem, Judea.
Among the various traditions and theories behind the Christmas celebration on 25th December is an interesting argument. This approach is entrenched in the Holy Bible, thereby making it credible. According to Luke 1: 26-38, Angel Gabriel announced Incarnation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is said that this Annunciation took place on March 25 and, interestingly, is celebrated on that date each year.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_Romania
Considering that a pregnancy usually lasts nine months, it’s natural that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth on December 25. The birth of Jesus Christ, a special baby who would be the Savior of the people, excited people. A logical explanation would be that, since they looked forward to the baby, they most likely celebrated its birthday every year just like you would celebrate yours annually. What’s more, it’s widely believed that Jesus was born between 7 and 4 BCE,
Based on these arguments, we can try to figure out when did Christmas start being celebrated. Therefore, it can be summed up that, if indeed people celebrated Jesus’ birthday during his lifetime, then they were the first to celebrate Christmas. Consequently, the actual Christmas started being celebrated on December 25 in the years between 7 and 4 BCE. So when did Christmas start being celebrated? Mathematically, this means the first ever Christmas, albeit unrecorded, was celebrated more than three centuries before the first recorded Christmas.