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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In the classic French repertoire, pommes Anna are regular potatoes, peeled, sliced thin, and cooked in a buttered pan on the stovetop until tender and crisply crusted. That’s essentially how this holiday twist begins—as a mass of peeled and thinly sliced sweet potatoes. Only here, the butter’s mixed with maple syrup, orange zest, and a little cinnamon, and it bakes like a casserole, packed in a dish with a layer of walnuts and brown sugar in the center, and another on top. You top with foil and bake in a hot oven, then uncover to brown and crisp the surface.
Special equipment: It’s not absolutely necessary, but a mandoline slicer ensures thin, even sweet potato slices.
For more inspiration, check out our Baked Ginger Sweet Potatoes, Baked Sweet Potato with Molasses-Clove Butter, and Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes.