Alexa Austin

Alexa Austin

Christmas is one of the ancient holidays, which has been celebrated since the ancient epoch. Today, it is one of the most popular traditions not only in western civilization, but also in many cultures, which have assimilated western traditions. At the same time, Christmas has a long history and its origin dates back to the antiquity, while many traditional elements of Christmas have persisted since the ancient epoch.
Traditionally, Christmas was closely associated with Christianity and Christian rituals. However, the origin of this traditional holiday may be traced back to the epoch of the dominance of pagan rituals and traditions. In this respect, it should be said that the tradition to celebrate winter festivals existed in different culture and, in spite of the variety of forms, such traditional winter festivals marked the end of the agricultural cycle and people accompanied these festivals with gift-giving, merrymaking, and charity. In such a way, the modern tradition of celebrating Christmas has originated from ancient winter festivals, such as the Roman winter festival celebrated on December 25, called “the birthday of the undefeated sun” (Kelly, 68). In fact, this tradition existed in different parts of the Roman Empire, which actually laid the foundation for many traditions of the contemporary western civilization.
At the same time, the origin of the Christmas proper is associated with the birth of the Chris and the celebration of this event by the follower of Christ and Christians worldwide. Initially, Christmas was celebrated by early Christians who commemorated the day of the birth of Christ, who was believed to be a son of God, Messiah who sacrificed his life for the sake of all people. The earliest references to the celebration of Christmas can be traced in the 4th c AD. Early Christians celebrated Christmas, the birth of Christ as part of Epiphany, although this festival focused on the baptism of Jesus.
In later epochs, Christmas has grown extremely popular and became one of the major annual festivals celebrated not only by religious people, including Catholics, Protestants and various followers of Christianity, but also by atheists, though Christmas is still predominantly western tradition. In such a way, in the course of time, Christmas evolved from a purely religious tradition to a kind of cultural tradition, which has not only religious value but it also bears a considerable cultural significance, being a traditional family holiday. Hence, today, practically all people adepts of western culture and traditions celebrate Christmas.
As for the celebration proper, Christmas has preserved some elements of ancient traditions. To put it more precisely, Christmas is accompanied by gift-giving, church celebrations, and the display of various decorations, associated with the birth of Christ and Christianity, such as the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holy. In addition, Christmas tradition implies that there is Santa Claus, also referred to as Father Christmas, who is a mythological figure associated with bringing gifts at Christmas (McGreevy, 37).
Thus, taking into consideration all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that Christmas has a long history. Originating from the ancient epoch, Christmas has preserved many ancient traditions which slightly evolved in the course of time. At the same time, today, Christianity has partially lost its purely religious significance and become basically a cultural tradition widely spread in the western civilization.

Works cited:
Kelly, Joseph F.. The Origins of Christmas, Liturgical Press, 2004, p. 67-69.
McGreevy, Patrick. "Place in the American Christmas," Geographical Review, Vol. 80, No. 1. January 1990, pp. 32–42.