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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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.
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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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Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
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Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
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Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
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More than just cooking a meal, roasting a suckling pig is an event. Oftentimes the pig is roasted in a wood-burning oven or outdoors, making it impractical for a lot of us. But this recipe from Chef Jose Garces makes it doable in a home kitchen. Garces has developed a nearly foolproof method for achieving tender, moist meat by brining the young pig before roasting.
What to buy: Order your suckling pig from a quality butcher you trust. This recipe will accommodate a 12- to 20-pound pig, but most ovens won’t easily fit a pig that’s more than about 18 pounds. Suckling pig has a more distinct pork flavor than most commercial pork cuts, and the taste can take some getting used to.
Tips for cooking a suckling pig involve careful scrubbing—you’re dealing with a large amount of raw meat here, so be sure to clean up thoroughly afterward. You can use foil to hold the pig’s mouth in place during roasting or the more traditional apple.Take the internal temperature of the pig by inserting a thermometer into the thigh (be sure the thermometer doesn’t touch any bone).
This recipe was featured in our Suckling Pig for the Holidays menu.
Don’t have time to commit to roasting a whole suckling pig? Try our easy baked pork chops recipe.