Christmas History and Traditions
Understanding Christmas history and traditions can make the holiday season much more enjoyable. It can be fascinating to learn from where traditions originated, and even more fascinating to learn that there are some Christmas traditions - like the Christmas pickle - that have no definitive genesis in history books.
There are many ways to celebrate the holidays. Some traditions are culturally based and some are rooted in history; others are annual rituals established by families to mark this joyous season. Some traditions from the past are looked back upon fondly and repeated today with a sense of nostalgia. And while Christmas is technically a religious holiday, not all Christian denominations celebrate in the same way.
Around the World
- Europe: Christmas traditions in countries like England, Italy, Germany, Holland and Scotland point to some of the earliest Christmas traditions, many of which are still celebrated today.
- North America: Native American Christmas traditions and those observed in Mexico are colorful and interesting, with many traditions being specific to tribes or regions.
- Asia: Both China and Korea celebrate Christmas with traditions that are both Asian yet with some Western influences.
- Down Under: Christmas traditions in Australia take place in warm weather - no white Christmases for this continent!
Significance of Celebrations
Both popular and lesser-known holiday traditions are rooted in something historical, but the meaning behind them can change over the years.
- Christmas trees: The meaning and symbolism of Christmas trees may surprise you. The early history of Christmas lights that hung on trees were candles, though most are electric now.
- Gift giving: Christmas stockings and Christmas toys are mainstay Christmas traditions nowadays, but it hasn't always been this way.
- Food traditions: There are some unique food traditions for Christmas, including the eating of seven fish on Christmas Eve and more.
- Origins: Find out how early Christmas celebrations started, and about the history of Father Christmas.
Christmas is a global celebration, though it doesn't look the same everywhere. Though it all stems from the same thing, every culture infuses their own influence into how its people celebrate the holidays. Historical events of Christmas pasts continue to influence celebrations in present day. It's all part of what makes Christmas such a magical time of year.