Christmas: Little Known Facts

The following are little known facts and history about Christmas.

The word Christmas comes from the English observance of the birth of Jesus the Christ called Christes masse (Christ mass) because a special mass was conducted to celebrate that day. In France, it is called Noel; in Spain, Navidad; in Italy, Natale-all of those iterations meaning birthday. The Germans use the word Weihnachtenwhich means holy nights.

  • Christmas was outlawed in England by the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell who considered it a “heathen celebration.” It was illegal to celebrate the holiday until 1660 when the British monarchy was resurrected. This outlawing even made it to the United States around the same time when Massachusetts passed a law in 1659 which read: “Whoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas and the like, either by forbearing labor, feasting, or any other way, shall pay for such an offense five shillings as a fine to the country.” This stayed that was for 22 years and wasn’t rescinded until just before the Civil War.
  • During the early days of Christianity, different parts of the world celebrated Christmas on different dates. If you traveled to any extent in the Roman occupied area, there was a chance that one could celebrate the holiday six times in a year. It was Pope Julius I in the middle of the 4th century who appointed a monk by the name of Dionysus to set up a calendar to set a universal date which ended up being December 25th.
  • Candy canes are said to have been developed by a Christian candy maker that lived in Indiana who used it as a method to communicate the gospel. The hardness of the candy is supposed to be the Rock of the Christian faith. The white is the sinlessness of Christ while the red is the blood He shed at His passion and crucifixion. The shape is supposed to symbolize a Shepherd’s staff, presenting Christ as the Good Shepherd. Turned upside down, it form’s the letter “J” for Jesus.

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