Christmas is just around the corner, but do you know why Christmas?
What is Christmas?
Christmas is known as the “most wonderful time of the year” – but what does it really mean to us? We have gathered sources to help you understand better the meaning of Christmas and what the Christmas traditions of today means and the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
Who is Santa Claus?
The idea of celebrating in December with special songs has been around for hundreds of years – even before Jesus was born.
But of course, they didn’t call them Christmas carols back then, because Christmas didn’t exist!
In Roman times, when it was dark and cold, people used to cheer themselves up with a winter festival called the Saturnalia. It was a long, noisy party, with lots of wild dancing and singing.
After Jesus was born and his teachings began to spread to the world, his followers wanted to encourage everyone to become Christian.
But they didn’t really approve of all of this noisy winter partying. They wanted everyone to celebrate the Christian message properly by singing about the birth of Jesus, so they put new Christian words to the old favourite songs.
Lucie explains: “The word ‘carol’ probably comes from the old French word ‘carole’, which – from around the mid-1100s – meant a popular circle dance accompanied by singing.”
By the late Middle Ages, carols had become more associated with Christmas and the nativity.
Turkeys were introduced in Britain more than 500 years ago by Yorkshireman William Strickland, who acquired six birds from American Indian traders on his travels.
Before that, people’s meat of choice for Christmas was geese, boars’ head and even peacocks.
But when turkeys arrived in this country, farmers realized that the animals they were killing for their Christmas feasts could be better used to provide other foods.
So, it has been left to the turkey to keep our stomachs full on Christmas Day – and many days after that.
Henry VIII was the first English king to enjoy turkey in the 16th century, although Edward VII made eating turkey fashionable at Christmas.
But even though turkey is now a regular feature on a great majority of British Christmas tables, it has only gone mainstream over the last 60 years.