Did You Know?
Facts, Figures &
Folklore about Christmas
Dec 17 : 08 days till Christmas
Did you know that the Roman’s celebrated a festival in mid-December that is believed to have inspired many of our Christmas traditions?
Their festival was called Saturnalia which began the middle of December and ended January 1st. With cries of “Jo Saturnalia!” the celebration would include masquerades in the streets, big festive meals, visiting friends, and the exchange of good-luck gifts called Strenae. The Romans would also deck their halls with garlands of laurel and green trees lit with candles.
The Early Christians wanted to keep the birthday of their Christ child a solemn and religious holiday, not one of cheer and merriment as was the pagan Saturnalia. But as Christianity spread they were alarmed by the continuing celebration of pagan customs and Saturnalia among their converts. At first the Church forbid this kind of celebration. But it was to no avail. Eventually it was decided that the celebration would be tamed and made into a celebration fit for the Christian Son of God.
BTW – Saturnalia is still being celebrated today, December 17th.
Christmas is the Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and is a central part of the winter holiday season. In Christianity the holiday marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days. And although traditionally a Christian holiday, Christmas is widely celebrated worldwide by many non-Christians.
Popular holiday customs include the playing of seasonal music, gift-giving, the exchange of greeting cards, observing special church celebrations and masses. The display of holiday decorations are common; including Christmas trees, indoor and outdoor lights, garlands, mistletoe, and nativity scenes.
Santa Claus, a popular mythological figure, is also an important part of the celebration and is associated with the bringing of gifts for children.
Join us for a new Did You Know holiday fact each day as we countdown to Christmas. This year Christmas Eve will be celebrated Thursday December 24, Christmas Friday December 25.