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Exploring Christmas Essay

Decent Essays
Exploring Christmas

As the year draws to an end, the holiday spirit is in the air (quite literally we are waiting for the actual ‘holiday’ to start) Well, jokes aside Christmas is surely just around the corner and the spirit of Christmas is once again present among us. But what is this ‘Spirit of Christmas’? In fact what is Christmas?

When a person thinks of Christmas, the first thing that most probably comes to mind is the Christmas tree or Santa Claus or even presents. Christmas can be described in many ways but it is usually celebrated by millions of people according to tradition. Tradition dictates to put up a Christmas tree, decorate the house for ‘Santa Claus to come and visit’
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Centuries ago in Great Britain, wood priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.

Late in the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their door to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early traditions.

Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share the story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honour of Christ’s birth.

The tradition of the mistletoe is derived from the pagan worship of the sun god, Balder. He was supposed to be immune to all forms of destruction because of spells cast by the other gods. The only thing they lacked was the immunity to mistletoe. And so Loki, the evil god contrived to have Balder killed in an arrow made of mistletoe.
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