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Christmas HistoryThe word Christmas comes from the old English Cristes maesse meaning ChristsMass The Holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ The actual birthdayof Jesus is not known therefore the early Church Fathers in the 4th centuryfixed the day around the old Roman Saturnalia festival 17 - 21 Decembera traditional pagan festivity The first mention of the birthday of Jesusis from the year 354 AD Gradually all Christian churches except Armenianswho celebrate Christmas on January 6 the date of the baptism of Jesus aswell as the day of the three Magi accepted the date of December 25thIn AmericanEnglish tradition Christmas Day itself is the day for openinggifts brought by jolly old St Nick Many of our current American idealsabout the way Christmas ought to be derive from the English Victorian Christmassuch as that described in Charles Dickens A Christmas CarolThe caroling the gifts the feast and the wishing of good cheer to all- these ingredients came together to create that special ChristmasatmosphereThe custom of gift-giving on Christmas goes back to Roman festivals of Saturnaliaand Kalends The very first gifts were simple items such as twigs from asacred grove as good luck emblems Soon that escalated to food small itemsof jewelry candles and statues of gods To the early Church gift-givingat this time was a pagan holdover and therefore severely frowned upon Howeverpeople would not part with it and some justification was found in the originalgift giving of the Magi and from figures such as St Nicholas By the middleages gift giving was accepted Before then it was more common to exchangegifts on New Years Day or Twelfth NightSanta Claus is known by British children as Father Christmas Father Christmasthese days is quite similar to the American Santa but his direct ancestoris a certain pagan spirit who regularly appeared in medieval mummers playsThe old-fashioned Father Christmas was depicted wearing long robes with sprigsof holly in his long white hair Children write letters to Father Christmasdetailing their
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