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Christmas: Historical Prospective

On December 25th most Christian Churches celebrate Christmas, a holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Most Eastern Orthodox Churches continue to celebrate Nativity Of Our Lord (Christmas) on January 7, the day corresponding to December 25 of Julian calendar.

Historically Christmas went through many different stages, from being unknown in the early church to become a holiday that was accompanied by variety of festivals in Middle Ages to being banned as a result of Reformation and even was argued in 2000 in the Supreme Court of the United Sates.

In the early Christian Church celebration of Christmas was not very common, in fact the church of the apostles celebrated the Resurrection of Christ before any other feast was introduced. It was not until the year 350 that December 25 was officially added to the calendar, shortly after when Christianity has become an official religion of Byzantine Empire during the reign of Constantine the Great in 313. While first records of this feast date back to year 221. One famous theologian named Origen denounce celebrating Christmas in the year 245 as pagan influence. According to Origen only "sinners, not saints, celebrate their birthdays", probably reflecting the fact that saints were commemorated on their "heavenly birth" or the day they died.

During the middle ages, the celebration of Christmas has become one of the predominant holidays, and history recorded that this holiday was celebrated by many magnates and even royalty. Middle ages are also know for the variety of festivals that accompanied and influenced the celebration of Christmas. Many of these festivals, as for example Yule, a Scandinavian festival had predated Christianity in that part of the world. Even today in Scandinavia Christmas is called Jul (or Yule).

During the reformation in the 17th century, Protestants have condemned Christmas. The Catholic Church responded by promoting the holiday in a more religious form. In England Christmas was officially band by Charles I in 1644 which lead to rioting in some parts of the kingdom.

In the United States Puritan's opposition to Christmas lead to outlawing the holiday in Boston in late 1600. In Virginia and New York, Christmas was celebrated freely until the times it fell out of favor after American Revolution since it was seen as an "English Custom". The Christmas was revived by Washington Irving, who published several short stories depicting warm-hearted holiday. German immigrants helped to promote and eventually lead to declare Christmas as a federal holiday in 1870.

During the World War I, a "Christmas truce" between German and British troops was reportedly triggered when the solders on both sides began to sing Christmas carols. The truce began on Christmas Day and lasted for some time after.

In the modern times, there was a controversy in the United States of the the Christmas. Since having its roots in Christianity, it was seen as a violation of separation of church and state. The decision in favor of Christmas was upheld by Supreme Court on December 19, 2000.

Eugenia Brown is a writer for Everything Catholic!- website that promotes products from Ingatius Press, a Catholic Publisher. There you can find books and literature on variety of topics including Christmas.

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