Wonderful Christmas Traditions
Why do people kiss under the mistletoe? When was the first Christmas card sent? What is the significance of Boxing Day? Learn about many more fun facts about some of your favorite Christmas traditions. There are different Christmas traditions that are practiced by a number of countries all over the world. Some of these unique traditions can be as diverse as the culture and religious practices of each and every country in the world. Enlisted below are some of the most wonderful Christmas traditions.
The practice of sending Christmas cards first began in 1840 in Britain, when the first ‘Penny Post’ public postal deliveries started. It was considered as one of the 19th century’s communication revolution as similar to the email in today times. With improvement in printing technology, Christmas cards were produced in large numbers from about 1860.
Santa Claus or Father Christmas is based on a real person, St. Nicholas where this name was derived. St. Nicholas was a Christian leader from Myra in the 4th century AD. He was very shy, and wished to bestow money to poor people without them knowing about it. It is believed that one day, he climbed the roof of a house and dropped a purse of money down the chimney. It landed in the stocking, which a little girl had put to dry by the fire. This started the tradition that Santa Claus comes down the chimney and places gifts in children’s stockings.
In Western Europe and North America, the day following Christmas Day is called ‘Boxing Day’. This word comes from the custom that began in the Middle Ages around 800 years ago where churches would open their ‘alms boxes’ and distribute the gifts to the poor and needy people of the neighborhood on the next day of 25th December. This wonderful Christmas tradition exists even today when small gifts are given to delivery workers including postal staff and children who deliver newspapers.
The history and origin of the Christmas mistletoe can be found in the ancient Scandinavian custom. The Scandinavian people truly believed that mistletoe is a plant of peace and goodwill. So, whenever enemies happened to go by beneath the plant, they had to surrender their arms and call truce at least until the next day. This custom slowly and gradually gave rise to the kissing tradition that became widespread everywhere till now. There is another legend that Christmas mistletoe is also very much associated with one of the Norse myths, known as the myth of Baldur.
Moreover, each country has its special way of celebrating the merry Christmas festival. Besides different Christmas foods, traditions and rituals in every Christian country, Father Christmas or Santa Claus has also got many different names. It is heartening to know that in all these diversities, it is the true spirit of Christmas that remains the same worldwide.