Church tells us Dec 25th is the birth of Jesus. Western countries celebrate Christmas with families and friends for gratitude and kindness. Is Christmas always like this? What is the true meaning of Christmas?
Pagan religions celebrate the Dec 25th as the winter festival, during which the night longest and the day shortest. After the winter festival, the winter will become shorter and summer longer so the Dec 25th symbolised the birth of Sun. Pagans celebrated the birth of the invincible Sun God Mithras, who was born from a rock. During the Middle Ages, Christians replaced Pagan religions and took the Dec 25th as the Christmas Day.
Stonehenge, Dec 22, 2018
Christmas was like a carnival in old England. Back to the 1600s, Christmas was rather like Halloween. If you went out, you saw people drink lavishly and couples did unholy activities. People knocked at the door of rich people and asked them for the most precious things in their house. If they didn’t get what they wanted, they’d play tricks.
During Victorian England in the1800s, however, Christmas celebrated giving and kindness. It was an opportunity to give gifts to friends and Charities. Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol (1843) defined the meaning of Christmas during the time. The novel was about a materialistic businessman who was once petty but became a generous person after being visited by three Christmas ghosts: Christmas present, Christmas past, and Christmas Yet to come.
Winter wonderland ice sculpture of the Christmas Present, 2019
Nowadays, children are usually happiest during Christmas. They would enjoy the surprising moment when receiving gifts from Santas(or from their parents). They would enjoy the family coming together with fun family time.
A festival in Asia has similar importance as Christmas to Western countries. It is Mid-autumn festival. In China, instead of celebrating the sun, Chinese people celebrate the moon. Their values are given by families and friends instead of by Gods. On August 15th of the traditional Chinese calendar, the moon is a full moon at the night. The moon appears as a perfect circle. 圆 (a circle) represents 圆满(fulfilment). Mid-autumn festival is the day for the family reunion.
What is Christmas mean to you? Look out from your window today. Watch at your stars, you may understand the true meaning of Christmas.