Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25?
There are several reasons Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25. The date is nine months after March 25, a day recognized by Christians as Annunciation. It was the day Mary was told she would was having a baby. The nine months that follow are an approximation of Jesus’ birth. Dec. 25 also coincides with pagan Winter Solstice celebrations like Saturnalia' and Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. Since they were historically celebrated around that time of year there was precedent for holiday festivities during this time of year.
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What Does the Name 'Christmas' Mean and What Is the Meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is a shortened from the words “Christ’s mass.” It’s derived from the Middle English word "Cristemasse" which has Greek, Hebrew and Latin origins. Christmas is an annual holiday that honors the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by Christians around the world and is regarded as an important religious and cultural holiday.
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How Can We Celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is traditionally celebrated in many ways and celebrations vary across cultures. In the days leading up to Christmas, people usually put up special decorations including colorful lights and evergreen trees. Gifts are often placed under the tree and exchanged on Christmas day among loved ones. Large meals are also typically served as part of the celebration as well.
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I am a vanilla person: one of the few food lovers completely unseduced by chocolate’s charms. Perhaps that explains why I made the match: buttery caramels with tender rugelach. It was bashert, or meant to be; two delicious nonchocolate sweets just waiting to be introduced.
And using purchased caramels makes these rugelach as easy to prepare as, well, the chocolate chip kind. But the sweet molten filling does tend to seep out somewhat during baking. I find that adding chopped pecans and shaping the rugelach in rectangles rather than crescents helps cut down on leakage. And when needed, I just trim away the caramel that has found its way out of the baked cookies.
Cook’s Note: Rugelach may be frozen, unbaked. You need not defrost before baking, but increase baking time by 5 to 7 minutes.
If your caramels are soft enough, press the pieces with your fingertips to flatten them. You’ll get a smoother, tighter roll.
My good friend, Dr. Mary McLarnon, who helped me perfect these little treats, prefers them warm. She recommends gently heating them in a microwave or toaster oven. But never eat them hot: caramels, like all sugar when heated, can badly burn your mouth. She also suggests these would be delicious made with English toffee or homemade caramels.
This dish was featured as part of our Hanukkah Recipes photo gallery.