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Amazing facts about Christmas

Yavor Aleksiev 11 IB

The Date

At first Christmas was not a remarkable holiday. The Church tried to set the date of the Birth of Christ in 200 BC for the first time, when the theologians in Alexandria set the date at 20th May. Till the year of 380 the Roman Church had been trying to unite the various regions with the date of 25th December as a universal holiday and since then Christmas has been celebrated on this day. Then is also celebrated the birth of the sun.

Birth of Christ

You might have heard about Saint Francis – he is a saint-patron of Italy and also a saint-patron of the animals and he has traveled to the Middle East to preach to the Muslims. Everyone has seen scenes of the Birth of Christ, where are depicted people attending the birth of Jesus. Few people know that actually Saint Francis portrayed the scene in the 13th Century. Despite the three wise men paying homage to baby Jesus in the picture of Saint Francis, the Bible never gives an accurate number. Matthew’s Gospel refers merely to “wise men”.  Our neighbors – the Greeks celebrate Christmas on January 7 because of the old Julian calendar, while Christmas presents are opened on New Year’s Day.

The Presents

Giving presents and Christmas cards does not have its root in capitalism. Actually the tradition comes from the ancient Romans who exchanged gifts on New Year’s Eve. At some moment the Church forbidden this custom and at the end the custom went over to Christmas. It is calculated by US scientist that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second. 

Christmas was forbidden

In England Christmas was forbidden in 1644. Puritans claimed that the holiday urges squandering and damages the basic Christian beliefs. All actions connected with Christmas were forbidden, including the gathering of many people at one lace.

In Boston the holiday was also forbidden from 1659 to 1681. The prohibition imposed by the pilgrims was abolished in 1681 by governor Edmond Andros, but in 19th Century the celebration of Christmas becomes a tradition in the region.


As it happens with many ancient traditions, there are various myths connected with Christmas. The most famous is that the Birth of Christ is not true, but is based on Mitra – pagan god of the sun. A proof of that are the many stories told about the life of Mitra. According to a legend he was born the same way as Jesus, but actually pagans believe that he was born on the peak of the mountain.

The Christmas Tree

You might have heard that Martin Luther – the famous Protestant from the 9th Century first introduced the Christmas tree, but that’s actually not true. The very first connection between trees and Christmas dates as far back as 7th Century when Saint Boniface cut down the Oak of Thor to prove to the local peasants that they believe in false gods. Till 15th Century people had already started chopping off trees and bringing them home so to decorate them with candles, candies and fruit (the first being apples). The first artificial Christmas tree was made with feather by the Germans.  According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.

Santa Claus

The grey-beard old man is based on a real person Saint Nikolas of Myra (also known as Smyrna).  He was born in Patara (Turkey) and lived during the 4th Century. Santa Claus is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary. The modern representation of him as an cheerful old man with a red costume probably comes from a poem from 1823 “A Visit from Saint Nikolas” also known as “The Night before Christmas”. He is the patron saint of banking, pawn broking, pirating, butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.