Christmas SVG is one of the most important Christian holidays and a state holiday in more than 100 countries of the world.
The first information about the celebration of Christmas SVG by Christians dates back to the 4th century. The question on real date of Jesus Christ’s birthday is disputable and ambiguously solved among church authors. Probably, the choice on December 25 is connected with the pagan solar holiday “Birth of the Sun Invincible” which after acceptance in Rome of Christianity has been filled with the new maintenance.
According to one of the modern hypotheses, the choice of the date of Christmas occurred because of the simultaneous celebration of the Incarnation of God (conception of Christ) and Easter by early Christians. Accordingly, as a result of addition to this date (March 25) nine months, Christmas fell on day of a winter solstice.
The feast of the Nativity of Christ has five days of pre-Christmas (from 20 to 24 December) and six days of festivities. On the eve of the feast, or on the eve of the feast (December 24), a particularly strict fasting, called Christmas Eve, is observed, because on this day is used as food Sochi – cooked with honey wheat or barley grains. Traditionally, Christmas Eve fast ends with the appearance of the first evening star in the sky
In the 13th century, during the reign of St. Francis of Assisi, there was a custom to exhibit a nursery in the temples for worship, in which the figure of the Infant Jesus is placed. Over time, the nursery was placed before Christmas SVG, not only in the temples, but also in the houses. Homemade santons – models in glassed boxes represent a grotto, and the baby Jesus lies in the manger. Next to him the Mother of God, Joseph, an angel, the shepherds who came to worship, as well as animals – a bull, a donkey. Also depicted are whole scenes from folk life: for example, next to the holy family placed peasants in folk costumes.
Church and folk customs are harmoniously intertwined in the celebration of Christmas. In Catholic countries, the custom of caroling – walking to the homes of children and young people with songs and good wishes – is well known. In return, carolers receive gifts: sausages, fried chestnuts, fruits, eggs, pies and sweets. Poor owners are ridiculed and threatened with misfortune. Various masks are involved in the processions, which are rooted in the skins of the animals, and this action is accompanied by a lot of fun. This custom has been repeatedly condemned by the church authorities as pagan, and gradually began to go only to relatives, neighbors and close friends with carols.
The remnants of the pagan cult of the sun in Christmas carols are evidenced by the tradition of lighting the ritual fire in the home hearth – the “Christmas log”. The log was solemnly brought into the house, lit on fire, at the same time making a prayer and carving a cross on it (an attempt to reconcile the pagan rite with the Christian religion). The log was sprinkled with grain, poured with honey, wine and oil, put pieces of food on it, treated it as a living being, raised glasses of wine in his honor.
During the Christmas celebrations, it was customary to refract the “Christmas bread” – special fresh wafers consecrated in the temples during Advent – and eat it both before the festive meal and during each other’s greetings and congratulations on the holiday.
A characteristic element of the Christmas SVG holiday is the custom to set up a dressed up Christmas tree in the houses. This pagan tradition was born in the Germanic peoples, in the rituals of which the spruce was a symbol of life and fertility. With the spread of Christianity among the peoples of Central and Northern Europe, the spruce decorated with multicolored balls acquires a new symbolism: it began to be installed in the houses on December 24, as a symbol of the paradise tree with abundant fruits.