Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25th the official celebration date or the birth of Jesus Christ in AD 350 even though, due to information in the Bible, this probably wasn't really his date of birth.
An English custom called "wassailing" started the tradition of Christmas caroling. The house-visiting "wassail" is when individuals go door-to-door singing carols and offering a drink from the wassail bowl in exchange for gifts.
The Bible never specifically mentions that three wise men visited baby Jesus or that they visited him when he was an infant. They may have visited an older Jesus.
Imagery from Clement Clarke Moore's Visit from St. Nicholas may have inspired the modern look for Santa Claus. This poem was initially published anonymously because the author felt the poem was beneath his talents.
Tradition of hanging stockings--the legend goes like this: There was a poor family that wouldn't accept charity so Santa left cold coins in the girls' stocking hanging to dry by the fireplace.
Origin of Christmas trees came from pre-Christian traditions. At the solstice, the ancient Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes, which symbolized the triumph of life over death in honor of the sun god Ra. Ancient Romans marked the solstice with a celebration called Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. They decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. The mysterious druids, priests of the ancient Celts, decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The Viking believed evergreen boughs were the special plant of the sun god, Balder. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century.
Merry Christmas and Happy Yule!
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