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  • Writer's pictureAn Da

Origin and Development of Christmas

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

The Christmas season is here again, and the shopping malls are full of customers buying gifts. People give each other colorful Christmas cards and gifts. The streets and alleys are bright and colorful, and the exquisite and gorgeous Christmas decorations are dazzling. A familiar Christmas song rang in my ears, and a warm and joyful atmosphere filled the place. Families gather together to share a delicious Christmas dinner. In sweet dreams, the children look forward to Santa Claus descending from the sky and bringing them the gifts they dream of. But do you know the true origins of Christmas?

Christmas, also known as Christmas and the Birthday of Jesus, is the most important traditional festival in the West and the grandest festival in the Christian world. Christmas originated from Roman paganism to commemorate the birthday of the "Invincible Sun God". After Christianity became popular in the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church gradually incorporated this folk festival into the Christian system. Since the 4th century AD, December 25th has been designated as Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus. After the mid-5th century, Christmas, as an important holiday, became a church tradition and gradually spread among Eastern and Western churches.

Today, Christmas has lost its original strong religious nature. With the integration of global cultures, the habit of celebrating Christmas has spread to all parts of the world, and has gradually become a festival celebrated by the whole world. Today's Christmas customs have lost their close connection with the traditional Christian Christmas. Instead, they are more about matching the shopping frenzy of Christmas and New Year. Christmas spread to Asia in the mid-19th century. Japan, South Korea, China, etc. were all affected by Christmas culture. For example, in Japan, Christmas is usually a holiday celebrated by couples. Young people will celebrate by eating KFC on this day, mainly because KFC’s Christmas advertisements are too brainwashing. In recent years, Christmas has become very popular among young people in China. People give each other Christmas fruits, hold Christmas parties, send each other Christmas gifts and cards, etc.

Christmas customs and activities

1. The shopping spree before Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving is "Black Friday", which also means the official start of the Christmas shopping spree. Everyone will rush to the mall to buy Christmas gifts, party supplies, Christmas decoration accessories, etc.

2. Decorate the Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations


Christmas trees are usually made of evergreen trees such as fir and cypress, which symbolize the longevity of life. The whole family will hang various lights, stars, balls and other decorations on the Christmas tree in advance. This is also the symbol of Christmas. One of the highlights. In addition, every corner of the home must be decorated with a strong Christmas atmosphere. Elegant tablecloths, exquisite tableware, warm candles, garlands made of holly and mistletoe, etc. are all essential for Christmas. element.

3. Enjoy Christmas dinner

Christmas is to Westerners just like the Spring Festival to Chinese people, and the Christmas dinner is as important as our New Year’s Eve dinner! The traditional Christmas dinner consists of appetizers, soups, appetizers, main dishes, snacks and drinks. The essential foods on this day include Christmas turkey, smoked ham, Christmas salmon, Christmas pudding, etc.

4. Santa Claus delivers gifts

How can Christmas be without this red, chubby old man with a white beard, Santa Claus? Legend has it that Santa Claus always arrives on Christmas Eve in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, climbs into the house from the chimney, leaves gifts for the children, and eats the food left by the children for him. He monitors the children at other times of the year, recording their behavior and making gifts. Children usually hang their Christmas stockings by the bedside or the fireplace on Christmas Eve, expecting to receive gifts from Santa Claus the next morning. Parents usually put the gifts they want into the Christmas stockings after their children fall asleep. Or placed under the Christmas tree.

5. Attend Christmas Eve Mass

The church holds two evening masses on Christmas Eve. One is the eve mass for the congregation. After the end, a choir will sing hymns in the community and go door to door to announce the good news; the other is the midnight mass, which will end at midnight. Held to ring the church bells to officially welcome the arrival of Christmas.

6. Exchange gifts and send Christmas cards

On Christmas Day, everyone opens the presents under the Christmas tree together, which is usually the most exciting moment. For relatives and friends who cannot get together, handwritten Christmas cards will be sent to express care and blessings.

7. Visit the Christmas market

Christmas markets originated in Germany and Austria in the late Middle Ages and have a history of seven to eight hundred years. The Christmas market is usually held in the square in front of the city hall, selling food, drinks, and handmade products related to Christmas, such as gingerbread, sweet cakes, mulled wine, Christmas wreaths, etc.

Christmas traditional food

Christmas mulled wine

It is the iconic festive drink of Christmas, in which spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, star anise) and fruit slices (apples, oranges, lemons) are added to red wine, then heated over the fire while stirring. Finally, add a little vodka, which gives it a sweet and sour taste and a fragrant aroma. It is perfect to have a drink on a cold winter day.

roast turkey

In the eyes of Westerners, it wouldn’t be a Christmas dinner without roast turkey. This is a delicacy with complex baking techniques and long-lasting flavor. It is an indispensable main course on the traditional North American Christmas table.



Gingerbread originated in Germany and is usually made with honey, brown sugar, almonds, candied peel and spices. People will make gingerbread into different shapes and images, such as gingerbread men, gingerbread Christmas trees, gingerbread houses, etc.

Smoked ham, salmon

In addition to roasted turkey, smoked ham and cured salmon are also traditional dishes on the Christmas table. Smoked grilled ham is often topped with a sweet sauce, such as honey or cherry pomegranate sauce. In Europe and the United States, people usually make smoked or pickled salmon and enjoy it with fresh lemon juice and mustard, which is delicious.

Christmas pudding

Plum pudding is a traditional food eaten on Christmas Day in the UK. It is also known as plum pudding and is a traditional dessert of Christmas. Made with dry fruits, suet, bread crumbs, flour, eggs, spices and milk.

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