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Christmas Day Services

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Christmas Day

Christmas Day

The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ, first noted written down in 1038, and Cristes-messe, seen in 1131. This in all likelihood takes its stem from the latin.

Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual Christian and secular holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, along with themes such as family, goodwill, giving and compassion. It incorporates Christian religious ceremonies with the traditions of ancient winter festivals such as Yule and Saturnalia. Christmas traditions include Nativity scenes, the exchange of gifts, the arrival of Santa Claus, Christmas cards and decorations and the display of Christmas trees.

Christmas is traditionally celebrated on December 25 which is the observed date of Jesus birth, as well as the historic dates of the Roman festival of Sol Invictus and the Winter solistice. It is preceded by Christmas Eve and in some countries is followed by Boxing Day. Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas on January 7, which corresponds to December 25 of the Julian calendar. These dates are merely traditional; the precise chronology of Jesus' birth and death is still debated.

Christmas is celebrated in most countries around the world, owing to the spread of Christianity and Western culture, mixed with the enduring popularity of exisiting winter celebrations. Various local and regional Christmas traditions are still practiced, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs disseminated by film, popular literature, television, and other media.

Last Modified Sunday 25 March 2012