Learn about some interesting Christmas facts and trivia in today’s guide.
Christmas is one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) holiday of the year. We all look forward to it, and for good reason. It is the merriest time of the year after all 🙂
But how much do you know about Christmas?
Check out today’s guide to learn some fascinating and interesting facts about Christmas.
Keep reading to learn more.
Brush up on your Christmas facts and trivia!
- Other names for Christmas – Christmas is not the only name for this massively popular holiday. The Feast of the Nativity, Noël, and Nativity are three other names Christmas is also known by.
- The date is not universal – You might think that the universal date for Christmas is the 25th of December, but that is not the case. Not everyone celebrates Christmas on the 25th. In fact, there are not one or two but three other dates when Christmas is celebrated! Most Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. January 6th is when Anabaptists like the Amish celebrate Christmas, and January 19th is when the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrate Christmas.
- The date was not confirmed till the forth century – We all know that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth, but this was not officially fixed until the forth century. That is when the Church officially fixed Jesus’ birth day as the 25th of December. That said, there is no concrete information yet on his day of birth.
- The origin of the word Christmas – Do you know where the word Christmas came from? Based on historical records, it is a shortened form of two words: Christ’s mass.
- It was banned at one point – Christmas is an essential holiday pretty much in every part of the world these day, but the celebration of Christmas was not always so widely practised. In fact, Christmas was banned in England by the Puritans during the Protestant Reformation, and was only restored as a legal holiday in 1660.
- It’s on the same date as winter solstice – Christmas is widely known as a Christian holiday, but Christians are not the only ones who celebrate on the 25th of December. It also happens to be winter solstice!
- Isaac Newton’s birthday – One of the greatest scientists of all time, Isaac Newton, was born on Christmas Day!
- The biggest Christmas feast? – Christmas is the time for feasts, but as far as we know no one has yet outdone the Christmas feast that King Richard the Second of England threw. His Christmas feast of 1377 included twenty-eight cows and three hundred sheep! Talk about a feast.
- Christmas caroling was started by dancers! – Caroling is a big part of Christmas now, and is all about singing. But the first group of people who popularised Christmas caroling were actually a group of dancers! They were dancers who sang (obviously) but dancers nonetheless!
- When did Christmas get official holiday status? – Christmas is now a public holiday is most parts of the world, but this was not the case till the 1800s. In fact, Christmas became an official public holiday in 1834.
- Christmas values and Charles Dickens – A lot of the values we associate with Christmas now (namely compassion, goodwill and family) are largely thanks to the work of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. So we have him to thank for for the Christmas spirit that we know of today!
- The origin of the Christmas greeting – Charles Dickens did not just influence the values we associate with Christmas. Even the most popular Christmas greeting, Merry Christmas, is something that came from A Christmas Carol!
- The first Christmas card – Even though Christmas became an official holiday in 1834, the first Christmas card came nearly ten years after that. The first commercial Christmas card was published in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole.
- Lutherans started the Christmas tree tradition – We can’t think of Christmas without thinking about Christmas tree these days, and this is by and large thanks to the German Lutherans. They were the ones who first used the Christmas tree (in the 16th century), and also the ones who brought the tradition to the United States.
- German royalty made Christmas tree mainstream – Even though the Lutherans started the tradition, it was actually a German prince who helped the tradition go viral! In 1848 Prince Albert of Germany brought a Christmas tree for his new wife, Queen Victoria of England. When a drawing of the royal couple with the Christmas tree was published in Illustrated London News in in 1848, the idea really took off, and the rest is history.
- Christmas was banned in Russia till 1991! – As you learned earlier, the Puritans had banned Christmas at one point. But it was also banned until pretty recently in Russia. It was not until 1991 that Christmas started being celebrated in Russia!
- The three colours of Christmas – Red, green and gold are the traditional colours of Christmas. Here’s what they symbolise: The colour red symbolises the blood of Jesus, the colour green symbolises eternal life and the evergreen tree, and the colour gold is the first color gold symbolises royalty and comes from the one of the three gifts of the Magi.
- The first Christmas tree star – Putting a star on top of a Christmas tree is a common Christmas tradition now, but it was not used until the late 1800s. In fact, 1897 was the first recorded use of the Christmas tree star
- Christmas plants – Pine and Fir are the most common trees we associate with Christmas, but those are not the only ones. Poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas since the 16th century. But that’s not all – holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus are also plants that are associated with Christmas.
- First American eggnog – Eggnog is one of the most popular and common Christmas food items now, but do you know when the first batch of the eggnog that we are familiar with today was created? It was in the 1700s.
- Traditional end of Christmas – Do you know what date Christmas officially ends? It’s on the Twelfth Night – that is when Christmas decorations are officially taken down. So in case you wondered how long you should keep your Christmas decorations up, or when to take them down, you can follow the traditional date. That said, if you want to take them down earlier, or later, then by all means do that! It’s your celebration, so you make the call in your house!
- First ever Nativity play – Watching a Nativity play is one of the oldest Christmas traditions, but do you know when the first Nativity play was enacted? It was in 1223 AD.
- Fried Carp instead of Turkey! – You think of Turkey or some other meat when you think of a Christmas meal, right? Well, turns not that’s not the case everywhere. In fact, fried carp or other fish is the traditional Christmas meal in Central Europe!
- The meaning of the Christmas wreath – Christmas wreaths are another big Christmas tradition now, and it originally began as a symbol of Christ. The green holly in the wreath symbolises the crown of thrown that Jesus wore at his crucifixion, while the red berries represents the blood he shed on the cross. The point is to remind us the reason for Christmas, and the sacrifice Jesus made.
- The origin of Santa Claus – We can’t think of Christmas without thinking of Santa Claus – without him Christmas isn’t really Christmas! The name Santa Claus is not a modern invention though – it comes from the Dutch word “Sinterklaas”, which stands for “Saint Nicholas”. And who is Saint Nicholas? He was a Greek bishop from the 4th-century who was famous for his compassion and generosity and over time the Church recognised him as a saint and his feast day (December 6th) became a celebration is many parts of the world as a day of giving gifts.
That’s a lot of interesting Christmas facts and trivia won’t you say? But we do have more in store for you, a whole twenty five more Christmas facts and trivia! Keep your eyes out next Friday for the second installment and learn yet more fun, fascinating and interesting Christmas facts and trivia.
As for today’s collection of Christmas facts and trivia, which one is your favourite?
Do you have any Christmas facts and trivia of your own to share?
Share your thoughts about (and trivia!) in the comments section below.
Have a great Friday!
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