By Calia Bennett
Christmas is a holiday loved by many people around the world. There are many traditions and other ways to celebrate, but where did it all begin?
Christmas has a long history that includes religious and cultural customs dating back to over two thousand years ago. Long before Jesus was born, early Europeans celebrated the longer days and sunlight on the winter solstice. Yule (a German Christmas festival), for example, was celebrated from December 21 to January 1 throughout Scandinavia.
As Christianity expanded, these midwinter traditions were accepted. Christmas Day, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, had become a custom by the fourth century. Throughout Europe, Christian customs gradually replaced old solstice rituals.
Today, Christmas is celebrated in many ways, such as gift-giving, decorating Christmas trees, attending church services, eating meals with loved ones, and waiting for Santa Claus to visit. When asked how he spends Christmas, Izaiah Pampeno, a culinary student, said, “I spend it with friends and family.” When asked how she spends it, Olivia Carney, an ADT student, stated, “I spend Christmas with my family each year. We always have, like, a big celebration.”
Since 1870, the 25th of December has been marked as a federal holiday in the United States. While Christmas is a Christian celebration, it has grown into an independent family holiday celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike over the years.