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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Marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole has a place of honor on the Thanksgiving table (at least since the mid-twentieth century), but that doesn’t mean it has to be overcooked, overdosed with spices, and overly sweet. This simple version, topped with a traditional layer of browned marshmallows, is lightly sweetened, with sweet potatoes that end up tender, not mushy. And instead of the usual cloud of pumpkin pie spices, it’s flavored simply with just a hint of ginger (we prefer the spiciness of candied or crystallized ginger, but ground ginger works just fine). If your marshmallows happen to catch fire under the broiler, here’s a quick video tip on how to save the casserole (and the day).
Make-ahead note: Prepare through step 4 up to 1 day ahead (skip the heating of the oven). Cool the casserole completely, cover it with foil, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, reheat covered in a 350°F oven until warmed through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue with the last step.
For additional inspiration, check out our Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Baked Ginger Sweet Potatoes.