Origin of Christmas
You will not believe what is my favorite holiday which makes me excited and impressed, and which is always in my thoughts and memories. Are you ready to know what my favourite holiday is? Christmas! Yes, Christmas! In my opinion, Christmas is the state of mind, state of soul and heart; it is a desire to be better, to reunite with the family.
Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is religious and cultural holiday celebrated by people from all over the world. Christmas is very deep in its sense: it is religious (very sacral) and it develops cultural life of people because it is rich in traditions, which are transferred from generation to generation.
The aim of Christmas celebrations is to unite people with the common beliefs in Christ, provide entertainment, develop culture and art, inform people about their traditions and transfer certain knowledge to the next generation. All people of different religious views, social statuses, races, and nations adore Christmas and mark it as a special occasion.
I am convinced that such a cultural event is the opportunity for everybody of us, to forget about everyday routine and problems which follow us constantly. I observe people during this holiday and see that their eyes express happiness and joy. I feel that their hearts beat quicker. With bated breath, and with happy looks, they congratulate each other, sing carols and send postcards and gifts.
The Peculiarities of Christmas Celebrations
Christmas is a very symbolic holiday for my family. On this day, everything in the streets and at home shows that it is holiday: Christmas trees decorated with toys and candies, Santa Clauses who bring gifts for children, carol singers who congratulate people on Christmas and create the special winter atmosphere. In my family, this is the most important event as we always gather at this day; Christmas is like a fairy tale for us, and we are the main characters of it.
Modern American Santa Claus rides reindeer, he is dressed in the red costume, and he brings gifts to children who were obedient. All little children believe in Santa Claus and write letters to him asking for Christmas gifts.
Why is Christmas such a special occasion? It was created to honor the birth of Christ. That is why it has the magic force, which makes the human spirit flourish and enrich cultural life of people. Many of Christmas holiday traditions differ from family to family and often depend on the culture and origin. American Christmas is the unity of international traditions because people of different nations live there. Christmas is not only cultural event; it is religious and family occasion.
I do not imagine Christmas without a decorated tree. To my mind, it is the symbol of this holiday which brings not only pleasant smell but family coziness, peace and elevated feelings of the holiday. Christmas tree is decorated with a star, which represents the Star of Bethlehem, or by an angel, which symbolizes the birth of Christ. Many family trees have toys, decorations and lights from more than one generation. Christmas trees are not only at home but in the streets, in the offices, everywhere where people work and rest.
As for me, I adore decorating the Christmas tree outside the house with lights. However, the most pleasant feeling is when you put on the lights and your home shines like a star. Since childhood, we used to make snowmen, decorate windows with snowflakes and yard with reindeer.
I always help my mother to prepare Christmas dinner, and it is very symbolic moment when all the family gathers together and exchanges pleasant gifts. Very often, we invite our close friends.
We prepare a variety of delicious dishes for Christmas dinner: turkey, salads and cakes. After Christmas dinner, we go to the church to enjoy: live Nativity scenes, church dinners, choir Christmas concerts, special church services.
My Impressions about Christmas Celebrations
From the beginning Christmas holiday was introduced by Roman pagans, however, this holiday had the name Saturnalia and was celebrated between 17 and 25 of December. At that time at this period the people were sacrificed. Not without reason the Greek historian described pagan celebrations as going from house to house, singing special songs, and eating specially prepared cakes and biscuits. One can notice that even at the present time people follow such traditions.
When Christianity began to develop it did not mean that such traditions disappeared. People worshipped Christmas tree as the pagans who respected forest and even prayed there. They brought Christmas tree at home and decorated it. As we see, these customs are very ancient.
In pre-Christian times on Saturnalia people brought gifts and offerings to their emperor. Nowadays Christmas also means making gifts to each other.
As every cultural event, Christmas has its myths and stereotypes. Without doubt, there are a lot of people who adore Christmas, but there are opponents who created the myth and stereotypes that Christmas is the opportunity for shops, supermarkets and different commercial companies to earn or to raise profits. However, to my mind, this stereotype was created by people who do not want to prepare dinner, to decorate houses and celebrate Christmas with their families.
As for me this holiday is the most wonderful one, but there are a lot of cultural myths about Christmas. People celebrate it because they like to celebrate something without thinking about meaning, history or origin. It was not proved that Jesus was born on 25 of December; it is only our figure of imagination. This day can not be the day of celebration as at this day Jews were murdered, tortured and shamed. However in spite of all myths and stereotypes Christmas is the most favorite holiday for American people.
Christmas is a unique holiday. When it comes, I feel as if I am completely absorbed in some magic events, and I forget about everything in the world. It is so wonderfully organized, and it seems to me that not people but the mysterious spirit of Christmas created everything. The carol singers, divine church service, unbelievable decorations create the unforgettable atmosphere. You can enjoy whatever you want, the carol concerts, Christmas Nativity Plays.
It is not strange that on Christmas Day people become much more cheerful, joyful, smiling, kinder and merciful.
Now I begin to understand the meaning of the quote of Calvin Coolidge, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas”.