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Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
21. Show your children how to hang stockings by the hearth
If this is part of your Christmas tradition, your children will love the anticipation of hanging their stockings by the fire and waiting for Santa.A cute idea is, when your children are asleep, to fill their stockings and then take them off the hearth and leave them at the foot of their bed.In the morning, ask them to bring their stockings into your room and you can all open your stocking gifts on your bed.
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed generally on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night.Christmas is a public holiday in many of the world nations, is celebrated culturally by a large number of former or non Christian people, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.While the birth year of Jesus is estimated among modern historians to have been between 7 and 2 BC, the exact month and day of his birth are unknown.His birth is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels.By the early to mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date later adopted in the East, although some churches celebrate on the December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to January 7 in the modern day Gregorian calendar.The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived, or with one or more ancient polytheistic festivals that occurred near southern solstice (i.e., the Roman winter solstice) a further solar connection has been suggested because of a biblical verse identifying Jesus as the Sun of righteousness.
Christmas is a compound word originating in the term Christ Mass.It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes messe in 1131.Crist (genitive Cristes) is from Greek Khristos, a translation of Hebrew and m
The Chronography of 354 AD contains early evidence of the celebration on December 25 of a Christian liturgical feast of the birth of Jesus.This was in Rome, while in Eastern Christianity the birth of Jesus was already celebrated in connection with the Epiphany on January 6.The December 25 celebration was imported into the East later in Antioch by John Chrysostom towards the end of the 4th century, probably in 388, and in Alexandria only in the following century.Even in the West, the January 6 celebration of the nativity of Jesus seems to have continued until after 380.In 245, Origen of Alexandria, writing about Leviticus 12.1 8, commented that Scripture mentions only sinners as celebrating their birthdays, namely Pharaoh, who then had his chief baker hanged (Genesis 40 20 22), and Herod, who then had John the Baptist beheaded , and mentions saints as cursing the day of their birth, namely Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20 14 15) and Job In 303, Arnobius ridiculed the idea of celebrating the birthdays of gods, a passage cited as evidence that Arnobius was unaware of any nativity celebration.Since Christmas does not celebrate Christ birth as God but as man, this is not evidence against Christmas being a feast at this time.The fact the Donatists of North Africa celebrated Christmas may indicate that the feast was established by the time that church was created in 311.Many popular customs associated with Christmas developed independently of the commemoration of Jesus birth, with certain elements having origins in pre Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice by pagan populations who were later converted to Christianity.These elements, including the Yule log from Yule and gift giving from Saturnalia, became syncretized into Christmas over the centuries.The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival like state in the Middle Ages, to a tamer family oriented and children centered theme introduced in a 19th century reformation.Additionally, the celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain Protestant groups, such as the Puritans, due to concerns that it was too pagan or unbiblical.
25. Relation to concurrent celebrations
Prior to and through the early Christian centuries, winter festivals especially those centered on the winter solstice were the most popular of the year in many European pagan cultures.Reasons included the fact that less agricultural work needs to be done during the winter, as well as an expectation of better weather as spring approached. Many modern Christmas customs have been directly influenced by such festivals, including gift giving and merrymaking from the Roman Saturnalia, greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year, and Yule logs and various foods from Germanic feasts.Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period.As northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, its pagan traditions had a major influence on Christmas there, an example being the Koleda, which was incorporated into the Christmas carol.Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul.In English, the word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900.
Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non Christian.In some non Christian countries, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration (e.g.Hong Kong) in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday.Countries such as Japan, where Christmas is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift giving, decorations, and Christmas trees.Countries in which Christmas is not a formal public holiday include Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, China (excepting Hong Kong and Macao), Comoros, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.Christmas celebrations around the world can vary markedly in form, reflecting differing cultural and national traditions.
27. Commemorating Jesus birth
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic prophecy.The Bible contains two accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus birth.Depending on one perspective, these accounts either differ from each other or tell two versions of the same story.These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1 18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1 26 and 2 40.According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.
The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history.In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green.The heart shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.
29. Music and carols
The earliest extant specifically Christmas hymns appear in 4th century Rome.Latin hymns such as Veni redemptor gentium, written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were austere statements of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation in opposition to Arianism.Corde natus ex Parentis (Of the Father love begotten) by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d.413) is still sung in some churches today.In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Christmas Sequence or Prose was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas.In the 12th century the Parisian monk Adam of St.Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.By the 13th century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Asissi, a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed.Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty five caroles of Cristemas, probably sung by groups of wassailers, who went from house to house.
30. Traditional cuisine
A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country.Some regions, such as Sicily, have special meals for Christmas Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served.In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey or goose, meat, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider.Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, and fruit cake.In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish often is used for the traditional main course, but richer meat such as lamb is increasingly served.In Germany, France, and Austria, goose and pork are favored.Beef, ham, and chicken in various recipes are popular throughout the world.The Maltese traditionally serve Imbuljuta tal Qastan, a chocolate and chestnuts beverage, after Midnight Mass and throughout the Christmas season.Slovaks prepare the traditional Christmas bread potica, buche de Noel in France, panettone in Italy, and elaborate tarts and cakes.The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or candy, and Jamaican rum fruit cake.As one of the few fruits traditionally available to northern countries in winter, oranges have been long associated with special Christmas foods.Eggnog is a sweetened dairy based beverage traditionally made with milk and or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture).Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added.The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
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