Christmas also referred to as Christmas Day, is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.The day marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days.The nativity of Jesus, which is the basis for the anno Domini system of dating, is thought to have occurred between 7 and 2 BC.December 25 is not known to be Jesus' actual date of birth, and the date may have been chosen to correspond with either a Roman festival or the winter solstice. Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and nonChristians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers.

Christmas Symbols
• There are many things that became a regular part of Christmas festivities and celebrations with time. There are Christmas toys that became popular gifts for kids and Christmas ornaments that graced Christmas trees and other holiday decorations. Christmas stockings became a part of the celebrations due to the story of kindly Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, who is believed to bring toys for children who wash and hang their stockings near the fireplace. Stars of all sizes symbolize the divine Christmas Star that made its appearance when the Christ was born. Christmas angel ornaments are symbolic of divine angels while Santa Claus is symbolic of not only the kind patrons that delighted in giving gifts to the poor and the children to bring happiness to them during the Christmas season but also of the kindness and charity that are integral part of Christmas spirit.

• Christmas cakes and puddings were part of the Christmas festive meals and Christmas crackers and candy canes became popular sweets that had a touch of fun and looked quite interesting to children. Christmas trees such as firs and pines and other evergreens such as holly and ivy were symbolic of long life and hope. They also add cheer to the look of the household. Holly with its red berries and ivy were fashioned into wreaths and garlands and were used to decorate the house. Tinsel, Christmas ornaments and toys were added to Christmas trees to make it look sparkling and livelier. Hanging mistletoe and kissing under it is considered to bring good luck to the household and spread the message of love all over the world. In this section, we will talk about some of the most significant Christmas symbols.

Christmas Superstitions
• Christmas is related to the birth of Christ and hence, Christianity. But many of its traditions have pagan origins. Thus, it has many superstitions and religious beliefs that are used for divinations and future predictions related to it. Many things and activities are classified as good omens and ill omens for the coming year on this day. Here we have brought some of the most common ones for you.

Christmas Decorations
• With Christmas carols in the air, Christmas is a time of celebration, beauty and fun. We decorate the houses to contribute to the gaiety and festive spirit of the Christmas holidays. We use lights, colors, ornaments, wreaths, garlands, stars and the Christmas tree to add more and more loveliness to the homes. The grand and magicallooking Christmas tree is undoubtedly the highlight of these decorations. Today, people keep adding to the list with fancy lights and musical décors but the ones that are innovative and made by one's own hands and the most favorite ones too for they also bring the families and friends together as we trade ideas signifying caring and sharing. So take your cutters, papers, ornaments, glitters, ribbons and glue to carve out your best Christmas ever.

• An easy home-made Christmas star can be made in a jiffy using shiny red wrapping paper, cardboard, scissors, glue, glitter and some string. Draw a huge star on the cardboard and cut it out. Make a hole on the top. Cover it with the foil or shiny wrapping paper. Paint glue in any pattern on the star and spread the glitter over it. Dust off the excess glitter, when the glue dries. Attach the string and your star is ready to be hanged anywhere you wish. Christmas wreaths made of evergreen leaves with bright red ribbon bows look beautiful too along with hollies and bells. Read this section for some great tips and ideas for your Christmas decoration.

Christmas Tree
• One of the most awaited Christmas décor items, especially by kids, is undoubtedly the magical looking Christmas tree. It is said that Christmas tree was included in the celebrations ever since humans observed these evergreen trees glistening in the moonlit sky on a clear night sparkling against the backdrop of white snow. One of the most import Christmas symbols for centuries, Christmas trees were used in many pagan festivals to honor their gods and spirits. Vikings in North Europe considered these evergreen trees a reminder of the Spring that is about to approach and that the Winter will end soon. In ancient England and France, Druids used to honor God of harvests by decorating oak trees with fruit and candles, just as Romans adorned trees with trinkets and candles.

• It is said that the German Christians were the first to bring the trees into their homes to decorate or use a Christmas pyramid made of wood in areas where there was a scarcity of trees. Soon, whole Europe caught up with the trend and the English Royalty popularized it among the elite. Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, decorated the first Christmas tree. They had then used candles, candies, fruits, and gingerbread. Christmas tree came to America with the German immigrants and was accepted by the general public only in the late 1800s. At the time of the first public display of a Christmas tree by German settlers in Pennsylvania, it was considered a symbol of pagans. Till then, apples, nuts, cookies, candies, colored popcorn and candles were the popular Christmas tree ornaments.

Christmas Stories
• Here is a collection of stories about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Three Wise men and Santa Claus. There are other anecdotes that tell us about the popular Christmas symbols and traditions and their origin such as hanging the stockings on Christmas Eve, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Evergreen Trees, Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe and many other things frequently used and done in Christmas season.

• • • •

Legend of the Evergreen Trees Legend of the Rudolph Legend of Santa Claus Legend of the Christ Child

Christmas Carols
• Most of the Christmas carols are related to the Nativity story and Jesus Christ as our Savior. St Francis of Assisi is credited with introducing Christmas carols to the church services for the first time in the 12th century. The word 'carol' is a derivation of the French word 'caroler' meaning 'dancing around in a circle'. Oliver Cromwell who was a Protestant banned the joyous-themed Christmas carols in England and thus many old Christmas carols were lost for all time. In Victorian era, they were revived again to take over the somber lyrics of the Christian hymns. By the 19th century, Christmas carols became quite popular again in the United States and England. The recent Christmas symbols such as Santa Claus and reindeer found their place in later Christmas carols too.


Christmas Gift Ideas
• The Three Magi or the Wise Men have known to bring precious gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense to the Baby Jesus, while St Nicholas, who is now known more as Father Christmas or Santa Claus, performed many kind acts and gave benign gifts to the little children anonymously, the most notable being his providing dowry for the three daughters of a poor old man by sneaking to their windows. Even today, giving each other gifts on Christmas is considered an essential part of Christmas celebration and is meant to express love to the family and friends in this joyous season. The most appropriate Christmas gift may not be expensive but it should be bought keeping the age, needs and choices of the person for whom it is bought. Here are a few suggestions for you:

The traditional Christmas meal
• First courses "Racituri" or "piftie," jellied headcheese, consisting of the pig's feet, ears and head in aspic, accompanied by a grated horseradish and beet salad marinated in vinegar, water and sugar. • Fresh pork sausages, either grilled or fried, garnished with "muraturi" (cucumber pickles), as well as hot peppers and green tomato pickles. • Various traditional charcuterie products are served: "toba," pork intestine stuffed with meat jelly, liver and rind; "caltabos," a kind of blood sausage; "babic" and "ghiudem," varieties of sausage, very dry and highly spiced, made from goat, mutton or beef. • Beef salad - steamed or boiled vegetables: carrots, celery, potatoes, peas and pickled vegetables (cucumbers, tomato peppers and green tomatoes), all finely chopped and combined with olives and strips of cooked beef and bound with mayonnaise. • "Sarmale" - Romanians' best-loved traditional dish - sour cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork and served with polenta. • Roast pork - garnished with pickled vegetables or mixed salads.

• The traditional Christmas dessert is called "cozonac." This rich fruit bread requires a long preparation time that begins early on the morning of Christmas Eve. Usually while the men are outdoors butchering the pig, the women stay in the kitchen to make the cozonac. • Since it takes so long to make, cozonac is made in huge quantities. It has to feed the entire family throughout the week of Christmas.

Traditional DRINKS
• Tuica or palinca - very strong eau-de-vie, usually made from plums Wines - mostly reds, depending on the region



• http://www.worldofchristmas.net/christmas

http://www.worldofchristmas.net/christmas • http://www.roembus.org/english/communit • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

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