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.
1 of 3
Next: What Does the Name 'Christmas' Mean and What Is the Meaning of Christmas?
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.
2 of 3
Next: How Can We Celebrate Christmas?
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.
3 of 3
Next: Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25?
When I spent the holiday season in Madrid, I kept overhearing ladies exchange recipes for this classic Christmas compote, which combines dried and fresh fruit with red wine infused with vanilla and spices. Dried fruit in Spain—figs, peaches, cherries—is of exceptional quality, so seek out excellent organic dried fruit for the compote. If the prunes are very soft, add them along with the fresh fruit. Adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of the apple and pear; the liquid shouldn’t be syrupy sweet. The compote is wonderful on its own or with a scoop of honey and cinnamon ice cream and/or pound cake. If you’re serving the compote over ice cream or cake, you might want to strain it. Set aside the fruit, then cook the poaching liquid until it is reduced by half.