Five Holidays Christians Celebrate During the Yuletide Season
Winter time is a time of so many holidays; a great number of these belong to the Christian faith. The word "holiday" itself comes from the phrase "holy day". In notice of this holiday season, below are five of my favorite Yule time Christmas holidays!
Krampus Night is a holiday where some individuals give a little bit of spirited terror around children (similar to Halloween). Krampus is a character who is almost the opposite of Santa Claus; they are two ends of a dichotomy. Some celebrate Krampus Night by wearing costumes (usually including horns on the head). In many countries, children recognize Krampus with as much validity as Americans do Saint Nicholas. Although the stories are not always consistent, Krampus tends to be described as the creature who takes away the bad children (sometimes in a sack which he is often depicted carrying). Even though Krampus is not as well recognized in the United States, some American Christians celebrate the holiday. The holiday is observed on December fifth.
There was a time when the Krampus would hurt children with switches. However, even though modern day celebrations of Krampus Night often involve physical contact with the Krampus - generally, the Krampus no longer intentionally harms little children. One may also find it interesting that the Krampus is often depicted with his tongue out. The symbolism of this act can be debated; however, it's continuity is one item which suggests a rich history around the tradition. And, whatever the reason for the long tongue - this feature only adds to the horror that is embodied within the Krampus!
SAINT NICHOLAS DAY
On December sixth, many Christians celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. Children will often find oranges, tangerines, or even candy in their stockings. Among many Christian groups, Saint Nicholas has the status of being a patron saint of children. Interestingly, many of those who celebrate the joys of Saint Nicholas Day also recognize the horrors which accompany Krampus Night.
One should additionally note that Saint Nicholas is considered by many to be a legitimate Christian saint. As many Roman Catholics pray to their saints, it shouldn't surprise us that some children have adopted the habit of praying to Santa Claus. Many peoples of Spanish decent call Santa Claus "Papa Noel" which means "Father Christmas". "Noël" is the French word for "Christmas".
For millions of Christians, Christmas is the most holy of holidays. That being said, even the proceeding night is a special night for many Christian families. Businesses will often be closed, and streets will regularly be quiet. Some individuals will open a Christmas present early on Christmas Eve. People around the world will make sure that their Christmas trees have been decorated, that stockings have been hung, and that milk and cookies have been left out for Santa Claus. Children will often be sent to bed especially early by families who celebrate this holiday on the 24th of December.
As with so many winter holy days, many families will feast on Christmas Eve. one could consider the possibility that feasts during essential harvests may have been one of the earliest manifestations of holidays. After all; widespread application of agriculture was one of the great jumps of humanity. Regardless of its possible origins, lots of Christians would agree that sharing a large hearty meal with loved ones is a great way to experience the love of Christ.
I should think that this holiday seems a very obvious inclusion to most of my Christian readers. Christmas is generally celebrated on the 25th of December or on the seventh of January. The word "Christmas" is an abbreviation of "Christ's Mass". "X-mas" is an abbreviation of the abbreviation "Christmas". Why the "x"? The word for "Christ" in Greek begins with a letter that looks almost identical to the Latin letter "x". The Spanish term for "Christmas" is "la Navidad" which literally means "the Nativity". The Nativity refers to the nativity of Jesus from Nazareth.
Christmas is generally a celebration of the earthly birth of the Christian Messiah. Although, one should note that not all Christians celebrate Christmas and that some individuals of other affiliations will sometimes celebrate the holiday as well. Regardless, for Latter-Day Saints, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Southern Baptists, Primitive Baptists, the Russian Orthodox Church and many, many others - Christmas is an essential celebratory festival and reminder of faith. Gifts are usually exchanged as an observance. There are multiple possible origins for the giving and receiving of gifts. Many people relate gift giving to the giving of gifts to Jesus Christ by the Magi. For Christians of the Mormon variety, gift giving serves as a reminder of the gifts of Christ (e.g. Eternal Life, forgiveness, peace, love, ect.)
Now, I would like to place a special emphasis on a common Christmas tradition - the Christmas tree. The tree has served as one of the earliest symbols in our histories. Although this symbol hasn't been traced back to the neanderthals nor the denisovans yet, the symbol is still fairly old. Earlier Christians (especially those in colder climates such as modern-day Russia) may have seen the evergreen tree as a symbol of Everlasting Life, since this tree stays green when other trees appear to temporarily die in colder months. It would seem that the Christmas tree still stands, for many Christians, as a representation and reminder of Christ's gift of Life Everlasting.
HOLY INNOCENTS DAY
Holy Innocents Day is perhaps the most depressing of my mentioned observances on this list. It is celebrated on the 28th or the 29th (depending) of December. For a lot of Christians, this day is a day to remember the children who were killed under King Herod's orders. Although this seems very sad in tone, one should appreciate that the deaths of these children and the mourning of their families is remembered to this day. Some Christians feast on this day, surely happy that their own children are safe.
What is your favorite holiday in the wintertime? Did I mention it or is it some other festivity? Please tell me your thoughts in the comments below! Happy holidays and a very merry Christmas to you all!!!
© 2017 Alexander James Guckenberger