Every 24th December marks Christmas Eve. Christmas, which is on the 25th of December is celebrated to remember the birth and second coming of Jesus Christ. Christmas is a great day. While many families come together to reunite and have fun on Christmas day, some group of believers (Catholics) prepare themselves spiritually in about four weeks as they anticipate the Christmas feast. Jesus is undoubtedly our Lord and personal savior and so the world has every right to celebrate His ‘birth.’ The world can’t probably just celebrate Christmas only on the 25th of December. No! It has to start from somewhere. While some Christians start their Christmas on Christmas Eve (24th December), many other Christians including the Catholics start their preparation towards Christmas four weeks to Christmas. This preparation towards Christmas is what Catholics call ADVENT. God being so good, the advent season is almost over and today marking a ‘new’ day. Today ‘starts’ the Christmas season.
HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS EVE
Christmas Eve has a traditional history, coupled with a Christian liturgy inherited from Jewish tradition, which is based on the book of Genesis which says that the first day starts at the evening and ends during the morning. According to history, Jesus was born at midnight in the region of Palestine. Christmas Eve marks the end of advent season (the period of preparation for Christmas to begin). It was on a night that the shepherds keeping their watch over their flocks outside Bethlehem saw the bright star in the sky that signaled the birth of Jesus Christ. From the 12th to the 15th century, due to the “Holy Inquisition,” Christian traditions were made mandatory. However, in the 16th century, the church was influenced by the “winter Solstice” celebrations and began Christmas preparations the night prior.
In some part of Europe, it is believed that at midnight on Christmas Eve, animals briefly possess the power of speech. It is perhaps due to this that we have the traditional association of the ox and the ass with the Nativity scene that gave rise to such superstitions, but the concept of talking animals is probably pagan in origin. In England, there is a closely related belief that cattle rise in their stalls at midnight on Christmas Eve, or kneel to worship the Christ child.
Despite the Christian significance of Christmas Eve, there are a number of pagan and supernatural beliefs connected with Christmas Eve. In Scandinavian countries for instance, it is believed that the dead revisit their former homes on Christmas Eve. In this regard, people make sure their homes are tidy and that a good fire is burning before they go to bed. They usually light candles, set the table and leave out plenty food for their ghostly visitors.
It was in the 19th century that Christmas Eve became popular. Christmas Eve remains an important part of Christian culture and signifies the birth of Jesus Christ. It has even become more popular within the last century. Thanks to our beloved, Santa Claus, with the appearance of the jolly man in red. On Christmas Eve, people began preparations such as hanging stockings and leaving out cookies, milk and sometimes carrots for reindeer.
However, Christmas Eve took on another meaning other than Santa Claus and Christianity. Christmas Eve has also become a day made for spending time with family and loved ones over dinner, decorating, gift wrapping and Christmas themed-movies. The holiday unites families and friends, allowing them time to get together and enjoy special and traditional activities.