Christmas

Christmas is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days.
         Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem. The birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecy.

Celebrations
          Popular modern customs of the holiday are gift-giving, music, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations.
        Most people attend church on the day of Christmas. Prayers are also held at home and churches too. Speaches are also given by priests,or any other either about the Birth of Jesus,his life and miracles,or Holy Bible.
         Parents also tell to children about these and also about Santa Claus that he brings gifts to good children so that to make them always move in right path.
         In some places,children are told they have to recite a short poem or sing a song in order to get sweets or a small gift.

Decorations
Christmas trees decorated with lights and ornaments,display of Christmas villages sleighs, snowmen,stars signifying the Star of Bethlehem are hung on rooftops garlands, mistletoe, bells, colored ribbons, candles, chimneys, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels, nativity scenes with miniature figures of the Virgin Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, in addition to the shepherds and the three Kings of Orient, and holly. In addition, several figures, known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, and Santa Claus, among other names, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season.Also La Befana,as it is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children.
         The traditional colors of Christmas are green and red. White, silver and gold are also popular. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter.

Customs
People clean their homes well before Christmas and prepare special treats for the festival.
                     In some parts of the world on the day of christmas, emptying of towns and cities and return to their ancestral villages to be with family and all involving dancing and singing. Also in some villages, masquerades were inspired by local gods who would punish wrongdoers; this involves having the mask wearers flog the "bad" people with whips, an outlawed tradition that nonetheless continues being practiced in the villages. Most masquerades include a man walking on stilts.

Music
Traditionally, carols have often been based on medieval chord patterns, and it is this that gives them their uniquely characteristic musical sound. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal folk songs. Some carols like "Personent hodie", "Good King Wenceslas", and "The Holly and the Ivy" can be traced directly back to the Middle Ages. "Deck The Halls" and "Jingle Bells" are Christmas seasonal songs.

Food
A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday's celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country.Christmas meal includes turkey or goose,pork, lamb, beef, chicken, meat, gravy, potatoe salad, rice pudding, vegetables, fruits, dry fruits, sometimes bread and cider.
                Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies and fruit cake, chocolate and chestnuts beverage.

Games and Sports : Various games and sports are played on the day of Christmas in different places depending on their traditions like
  • Cutting Apples : Apples are always cut crosswise: if a perfect star appears in the core, the next year will be successful, distorted star means a bad year or illness, while a cross may suggest death.
  • Throwing Shoes : Girls throw shoes over their shoulders - if the toe points to the door, the girl will get married soon.
  • Pouring Molten lead :  People pour molten lead into water and guess a message from its shapes.
  • Children also go and play with skateboards, roller blades and bicycles