Christmas is something that unites people of similar beliefs around the world together every year. Though not everyone is Christian, many non-Christians still celebrate Christmas equalling out to an estimated 2.275 billion people celebrating Christmas each year. This is nearly a third of the whole world unifying under a single holiday. If you have ever wondered where your favorite holiday traditions come from, continue reading and learn!
One of the most well known and loved Christmas tradition is hanging up christmas lights. Bright and colorful lights can be seen hanging on just about everyone’s house during the holiday season and it is one of the most symbolic parts of Christmas. This tradition comes from the belief that God is the light of the world and with the true meaning of christmas being about Jesus coming into this world, the lights represent that Jesus is present. The tradition began in Germany where candles were placed on Christmas trees hundreds and hundreds of years ago has turned into houses being fully covered in lights. Now this tradition has evolved into a worldwide custom.
Another popular Christmas tradition is putting up a tree inside of houses. This tradition did not even originate from Christmas, rather a symbol that green plants and crops would start growing again come spring. The evergreen tree was used because they are a solid green color which stands for all the everlasting life. Later in the 16th century and the Germans started decorating evergreens in their house in celebration of Christmas. The tradition was finally brought to America by German settlers in 1830. Americans thought it was very odd that they would bring trees inside their houses, and were actually looked down upon because of the pagan symbol they represented. Yet as the 19th century continued, Americans came to adopt this tradition and started placing giant trees in popular places such as the Rockefeller Center and in other major city squares. Trees have grown into the most classic form of representing Christmas in America and make it a point to cut down your own tree.
Another very well known Christmas tradition is sending Christmas cards to friends and family. Every year it is nice to open cards with photos of old family friends you forget about. This is a simple, yet thoughtful action as it reminds everyone of all the great people they are acquainted with. The tradition began in the UK in 1843 when Sir Henry Cole and John Horsely sent the first Christmas card in attempt to promote the Post Office (back then called Public Records Office). They sold over 1000 cards with their specific design on it and eventually people started to make their own. Within a few years Christmas cards reached America and became widespread by the 1900’s. Nowadays people put lots of time and money to make sure their card is more creative than the next.
The holidays are built off traditions and are an essential part of what bring people joy during the Christmas season. Year after year billions of people participate in shared traditions without knowing where they came from. Knowing the history adds a more in depth aspect to what you are celebrating.