Most families have a Christmas tradition or two that help bring them together. And, whether ago-old or new, you may be surprised to learn that most still have either religious or spiritual roots. In the blog post below, we explore five popular traditions…
The Giving and Receiving of Gifts
It is said we exchange gifts because God sent us the most precious gift he could; His only son. Others suggest it is to remind us of the three Kings who visited Jesus bearing gifts of Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh.
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe pre-date Christian times being used to celebrate the Winter Solstice Festival by warding off evil spirits and symbolising new growth.
Since Christian times, the prickly Holly leaves, often used to decorate homes during the Christmas season, have come to represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore around His head when He was crucified. Ivy has to cling to something to grow and as such symbolises the need for God as support in our lives.
The tradition of hanging Mistletoe in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. It is supposed to possess mystical powers which bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. In Norse mythology it was used as a sign of love and friendship and that’s where the custom of kissing under the Mistletoe comes from.
Lighting candles at Christmas date from the early Winter Solstice celebrations, reportedly to remind that spring was on its way. One of the earliest records of candles being used at Christmas is from the middle ages, where a large candle was used to represent the star of Bethlehem. Jesus is sometimes called ‘the Light of the World’ by Christians. This might have started the custom of the Advent Crown and Advent Candles.
The tradition of serving Christmas pudding stems from medieval times and for those observing it as a Christian tradition, it should be; made on the 25th Sunday after Trinity; contain 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 apostles, and every family member should stir it in turn from east to west to honour the Magi and their journey.
Boxing Day is reported as starting in the UK about 800 years ago, during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms boxes were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. Some churches still follow this tradition.
There are many more but however you are choosing to celebrate the season, all of us here at Marriage Care would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Written by Jenny Porter
Director of Relationship Support
This blog was researched using whychristmas.com
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