Christmas is a celebration of traditions that most people who celebrate the joyous season do not know about.
Here are some interesting and unique Christmas facts for a fun holiday trivia night:
1. Christmas wasn’t always on December 25
While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the actual date of the big event is lost to history. Some historians posit the date was originally chosen because it coincided with the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which honoured the agricultural god Saturn with celebrating and gift-giving.
2. Gifts have both Christian and Pagan origins
Christians may have grown up learning that we give gifts at Christmas to mimic the presents the Three Wise Men brought the baby Jesus, but like so many other traditions, that also has its roots in Saturnalia, the pagans originally gave offerings to the gods too.
3. Evergreens are an ancient tradition
The tradition of Christmas trees goes all the way back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans, who decorated with evergreens during the winter solstice to signify that spring would return. Evergreens reminded them of all the green plants that were to grow once the sun returned.
4. St. Nicholas was more generous than jolly
Most people already knew that the idea of Santa Claus came from St. Nicholas. The saint wasn’t really a bearded man who wore a red suit; that look came much later. In the fourth century, the Christian bishop gave away his large inheritance to the poor and rescued women from servitude.
5. Hanging stockings started by accident
Legend has it we hang stockings by the chimney with care because a long time ago, a poor widowed man did not have money for his three daughters’ dowries, making it difficult for them to marry. Generous St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down their chimney one night and dropped into one of the family members’ shoes. After that, the tradition stuck!
6. “Jingle Bells” was originally a Thanksgiving song
Dashing through the snow was first started for an entirely different holiday. James Lord Pierpont wrote the song called “One Horse Open Sleigh” for his church’s Thanksgiving concert in the mid-19th century. Then in 1857, the song was re-released under the title we all know and love and it’s still among the most popular Christmas songs today.
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