5 things you might not know about Christmas traditions

  • Sol Rivero

While celebrating the Christmas day, we’re checking out some Christmas traditions, and tell you 5 things you might not know about their incredible origins!

Happy holidays!


Origins of Christmas traditions #5: Why do we kiss under the mistletoe?

Christmas traditions derive from practices of many non-Christian religions and cultures. For the Greeks, for example, the plant was a symbol of fertility, and people kissed under it during the festivities. The Nord mythology, however, states that this plant was the only element which could harm the goddess Frigga’s son, Baldur, and after he was killed with it, she revived it and decreed that mistletoe could never be used for harm again, but instead anyone who passed under it would be protected from death and deserved a kiss.


Origins of Christmas traditions #4: Why do we give presents on Christmas?

On one hand, the Christmas presents derive from the Christian mythology, where the Three Wise Men gave the baby Jesus some gifts to celebrate his birth and honor him. However, this also derives from the Saturnalia festivities, during which the Romans traded gifts. Both traditions combined, and nowadays it’s common to exchange presents during the Holidays.


Origins of Christmas traditions #3: Why do we decorate a Christmas tree?

Non-Christian cultures used wreaths and Christmas tree as a way of connecting with nature, and evergreen plants were used during winter to symbolize rebirth. It wasn’t until the 16th century when it turned into a Christmas traditions after the Germans began decorating trees inside their houses, perhaps as a remnant of the pagan traditions.  


Origins of Christmas traditions #2: Who is Santa Claus?

Santa Claus derives from a monk caller Nicholas, who was believed to help the poor and sick and perform acts of kindness. His myth grew, and he became a popular saint amongst the Christians. During the 18th century, the story of Sinter Klaas –Nicholas’ Dutch nickname- grew in popularity, and Holiday advertisements soon began showing the image of Santa Claus. As time passed, his legend grew and changed, until finally becoming the jolly good man we know today as Santa.


Origins of Christmas traditions #1: Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25th?

For the Christians, Christmas means the celebration of their main religious figure: Jesus Christ. During the 4th century, the Christians wished to attract the pagan masses, and thus they turned to one of the most popular holidays of the time: the Roman Saturnalia, during which people committed heinous crimes and punished their enemies. This celebration occurred from December 17 to December 25, and since it bared no resemblance to the Christian traditions, they named the last day as Jesus Christ’s birthday in order to mesh it with the pagan holiday and gain acceptance amongst the non-Christians.


Now you know where many of this Holiday’s traditions come from!


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December 25, 2013

Sol Rivero.


History. Christmas. http://www.history.com/topics/christmas
How Stuff Works. How Christmas works. http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays/christmas.htm
Livescience. Pucker up! Why do people kiss under the mistletoe? http://www.livescience.com/32901-why-we-kiss-under-mistletoe.html
SimpletoRemember.com. The History of Christmas. http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm