Christmas is a special time of year that everyone looks forward to. Traditions like gift-giving, decorating the home, and gathering with family and friends are all part of what makes Christmas so enjoyable. But when is Christmas in 2022? And how will it be different from previous Christmases? Check out this post to find out!
Over two billion people (roughly a third of the world’s population) will commemorate Christ’s birth on this day.
Christmas Day commemorates the birth of Jesus, which occurred on December 25th, 1 BC, according to tradition. In most countries around the world, December 25th will be a national holiday. If the 25th of December comes on a weekend, a nearby weekday may be substituted as a holiday.
While the holiday has its roots in the account of Jesus’ birth, many of the rituals we associate with it have grown from pre-Christian beliefs, and the traditions have clearly evolved beyond being solely a Christian celebration to have a broader secular significance.
The fact that Christmas is celebrated in late December is almost definitely due to pre-existing festivities commemorating the Winter Solstice.
Yule (meaning ‘Feast’) is the most well-known of these, a winter pagan celebration that was originally observed by Germanic tribes. Yule’s exact date is determined by the lunar cycle, but it usually falls between late December and early January. The native word for Christmas in certain Northern European nations is more closely related to ‘Yule’ than to ‘Christmas,’ and it is still used for Christmas in some English-speaking countries. Several Yule traditions are familiar to current Christmas celebrations, such as the Yule Log, the ritual of burning a large wooden log on the fire during Christmas, or carol singing, which is surprisingly an ancient tradition.
The winter solstice was established on December 25 under the Julian calendar, and this day was also the day of the celebrated Roman holiday of Saturnalia, which was eventually succeeded by Sol Invictus, a day that packaged the celebration of multiple sun-based gods into one easy-to-manage feast.
As Christianity spread throughout the Roman empire and beyond, the date of Christ’s birth became a point of contention, with various different dates proposed.
It wasn’t until 350 AD that the then-Bishop of Rome, Pope Julius I, set December 25 as the official Christmas day. I’m sorry, Julius, but I didn’t show you how he determined this date; other academics later suggested that it was nine months after the Annunciation (March 25), when the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary and told her she would bear God’s son. Whatever the cause, it is evident that the date was picked with the purpose of catapulting Christmas into becoming a big holiday by placing it over pre-existing pagan festivities, much as key pagan locations were chosen for new churches.
Kissing someone who happens to be standing under a twig of mistletoe is considered a Victorian England ritual. However, the fact that the Mistletoe grows its fruit around the Winter Solstice, and its the alleged mystical capacity to heal and boost fertility, lends credence to this relatively new ritual.
Balder, Thor’s brother, was killed with a mistletoe arrow, according to Norse mythology. Balder’s mother, Frigga, resurrected him by crying tears that turned the red berries on mistletoe white. The mistletoe was then sanctified, and everybody who went beneath it was promised a kiss from Frigga.
The mistletoe plant used to be a tree, and its wood was used to create the cross on which Jesus was crucified, which is an indication of the Mistletoe’s incorporation from pagan celebrations into Christmas tradition. The plant shriveled after the Crucifixion and evolved into the parasitic vine we know today.
As previously stated, the practice of singing songs dates back to pagan festivals prior to the arrival of Christmas. Indeed, the word carol comes from the Greek word “choraulein,” which means “an ancient circle dance performed to the accompaniment of flute music.”
Because carols were already a popular tradition, early Christians wisely chose to include Christian melodies in the tradition rather than outlaw it.
The majority of new Christian Carols were written in Latin, which was only utilized by the church by the middle ages, diminishing the popularity of the ritual.
When St. Francis of Assisi began his Nativity Plays in Italy in 1223, which included music composed in the local people’s language, carols enjoyed a boost in popularity.
In England, the tradition of ‘Modern’ Carol singing blossomed. Wassailing, as it was known, was a way for peasants to get much-needed charity from feudal lords. This singing for money evolved from a tradition in which traveling musicians would visit wealthy families and sing in exchange for money, food, or presents.
There was a brief pause in 1647 when the Puritans seized control during the English Civil War. Under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell, the Puritans opposed Christmas celebrations. Anyone caught singing Christmas songs faced a fine of up to five shillings. When King Charles II reclaimed the throne in 1660, Christmas carols were once again allowed to be sung in public.
Christmas Eve is on December 24 and marks the culmination of the Advent period before Christmas that starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve. Many churches mark the end of Advent with midnight church services. In modern times, it is popularly celebrated on the night before Christmas Day.
The day of the week is Sunday
So, is Santa Claus real? Santa Claus is real, of course. The New York Sun even reported it back in 1897! But the current Santa Claus isn’t from the North Pole
It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, and we hope this blog post has helped you get a better idea of when Christmas will be in 2022. Keep checking back with us as we update our calendar with more information about holiday dates and celebrations around the world. Merry Christmas!
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