Christmas Trivia

When did you celebrate Christmas as we know it today?

Between the Celts and the Roman Empire the feast of the birth of the Sun was the most important festivity of the pagan world. December 25 surrendered homage to the God Sun to plead for a new year of light and heat. During this ancient Sun worship the Romans asked their gods to allow to return the Sun, since from the first days of December and until approximately January 6 days dark and cold, because the winter solstice they prevailed.

In Rome the saturnalias parties were held for seven days through bustling entertainment and banquets. In Gaul, Denmark and in the Celtic countries, offered sacrifice to the gods.

According to the druid tradition, they hung bears or warriors enemies heads in the sacred tree, which used to be an oak or pine. Hence, one of the roots of the tradition of the pinito and Christmas spheres.

In the North of Europe held a similar Winter Festival, known as Yule, which burned large trunks decorated with branches and ribbons in honor of the gods for the Sun to shine more strongly.

In the Christian world was celebrated on December 25 Christmas tradition since the end of the fourth century (except in the Eastern Churches, Greece and Russia, performing it on January 6 with the feast “Theophany” or manifestation of Jesus as God).

He began to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25 – day close to the celebrations of the winter solstice that is celebrated in antiquity – as Christmas party thanks to the influence of San Juan Crisóstomo and San Gregorio Nacianzeno, but still it was not an official Church holiday because by the time they used not to perform them.

This early church was still the policy of absorbing and not to repress the existing Pagan rites from ancient times, who celebrated the winter solstice and the coming of spring.

He is believed that Pope Julio I (337-352) who began to establish Christmas as a religious holiday, but it can be no because there are no documents that corroborate it. It is more likely that this happened later, during the reign of the Emperor Honorius (395-423). But all these were attempts: newborn to the year 440, the Church decided to officially celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. This was definitely established in the year 529, when Emperor Justiniano said the date as a holiday.

Despite these institutionalization, is generally accepted that by a mistake of the monk Dionisio the meager in the year 540 when calculating dates, Jesus was not born the night of 24 to 25 December and, even, he was born between 4 and 6 years before the beginning of the Christian Era. The exact day of the birth of Jesus is not known, it is believed that it was during the reign of Herod. But the Christian world tacitly accepts the tradition of celebrating Christmas on December 25.

Customs, myths and legends of the Christmas celebrations were added over the centuries and come from various countries.

Christmas tree

Much of the tradition of the Christmas tree originated in an European legend: it is said that during a cold winter night, a child looking for refuge. A woodcutter and his wife received it at his house and gave him food. During the night, the child became an angel gold dress: was the baby Jesus. To reward the kindness of the elderly, it took a branch of a pine tree and told them they planted it, promising them that each year would give fruits. And so it was: that tree gave Golden Apples and nuts of silver.

Meanwhile, the Germans wore their trees in winter (when lost leaves) the good spirits inhabiting them back soon. The most common motifs were painted stones or apples. It is said that this was the origin of the ornaments. Glass balls were added around the year 1750 in Bohemia. The custom of tree spread throughout Europe and America during the 19th century.


The scene depicting the birth of Christ was completed with the passage of time. At the beginning of the 4th century it represented Christ in a manger and there was only a cow and a donkey. At the end of the fourth century, a star was added. The Virgin Mary, only after the year 431, with the Council of Ephesus, appeared in the center of the image. It was St. Francis of Assisi who popularized the custom of assembling a crib. On their journey to Bethlehem, in the year 1220, was astonished by the way who was there celebrating Christmas. Then, when he returned to Italy, it asked for authorization to the Pope Honorio III to represent the birth of Jesus with a live Nativity scene. Thereafter, the tradition was extended by Europe and then the rest of the world.

Santa Claus

The figure of Santa Claus – also called Santa Claus, Sinterklaas, or Pere Noel, according to the country – is inspired by the life of the Bishop of Mira (current Turkey), known today as San Nicolás, who was popular for his goodness, and for his generosity to the poor.

Nicolas de Bari was called and was born in the 4th century. Its appearance was quite far from which today is credited. It is represented as a man of slim build and great stature, dressed as a priest. The fact that represent what is with three Golden bags is that, according to legend, Bari Nicolás knew at once that one of his neighbors was in bankruptcy and was desperate to not have the dowry of his daughter, engaged to marry at early date. Upon meeting the tribulations of his neighbor, Nicholas left a bag of gold coins as a gift in the House of the merchant. The wedding was held smoothly. Since then gained momentum the custom of exchanging gifts at Christmas. In the year 1087 the remains of Saint Nicholas were brought to Bari (Italy), where it was built a church in his name, but curiously in Italy is St. Nicholas who brings the gifts of Christmas but a good witch.

In the 12th century the Catholic tradition of St. Nicholas is expanded in Europe, mixing with similar celebrations. Toward the century Dutch emigrants 17TH took the habit to United States.

Although the legend of Santa Claus is old and complex, and appropriate part of San Nicolas, the family image of Santa Claus, sleigh, reindeer, and bags with toys is an American invention of these years. Until the English writer Clement Moore imagined it on a sled led by eight reindeer, Santa Claus distributed gifts on foot or riding a horse. But in addition, it had not always universal image that is known today. The new aspect of Christmas symbol so loved, a plump man of rosy cheeks and long white beard, was due to the art of American cartoonist of the century XIX Thomas Nast, who represented Santa as well in an illustration. In 1931 a brand of soda commissioned Haddon Sundblom designer that drew Santa Claus for its Christmas campaign. That image remained in the popular imagination and then nobody already imagined it otherwise.

Christmas cards

Christmas cards did not begin to be used until the 1870, although the first one was printed in London in 1846.

Christmas carols

During the middle ages began to merge the carols in Christmas festivities. During this time, the banquet were the focal point of the celebrations. But in 1552 the British Puritans banned Christmas. And although the Christmas celebration returned to England in 1660 with Carlos II, the rituals disappeared until the Victorian era. Carols were recovered and many new is composed. The custom of singing carols, although of ancient origins, mainly comes from 19th century.

Roscón de Reyes

This sweet, one of the oldest Christmas is pagan in origin. The Roman Empire celebrated the arrival of the new year on 1 March. The Romans tended to the laws of the time, because arriving spring overflowed living trees and plants, and increased light, making believe that it began a new annual cycle. In those days, from mid December to end of March took place the winter festivals, during which Rome was celebrating the protection of their gods. Years later the Church managed to christianize these pagan festivities by superimposing the date of Christ’s birth to the winter solstice. On the occasion of those parties were produced a round cakes made with figs, dates and honey distributed between commoners and slaves. Inside a dry bean was introduced and to the lucky one which played the legume was appointed King of Kings for a short period of time. Around the year 1000 the Church had succeeded in transforming the primitive spirit of the party in such a way that in various places in France, the figure of the “King bean” rested on the poor child of the city. Philip V imported in Spain it is tradition of the rosco as culmination of the Christmas festivities, devoid of any symbolism and covered with fruits, frosted with any surprise hidden inside.


The Flor de Pascua was discovered in Mexico in 1834, its scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima, the name pulcherrima means ‘the most beautiful‘.

Its use was initiated by a tradition taken from the Anglo-Saxon countries, which imposed the usual Christmas decorate the houses with trees and plants.

Also known as a flower or star of Christmas, it is dark green leaves with jagged edges, and possesses other colored sheets looking petals (bracts), which can be red, white, yellow or pink.

It flowers from November to January and its spread is by stakes, since the seeds are abortive. Grows in temperate and warm climates and wild are found in some parts of Oaxaca and Chiapas. A coloring matter is extracted from the bark and bracts and in Guatemala the latex is used as a depilatory.

Its cultivation experts recommend that, when it is blooming, is expose in places with abundant light, since the leaves come in dry environments and little illuminated. One of the major care that we have with the Easter is not wet the Red leaves, this makes staining or discoloration.

After the holidays, the plants can be transplanted in the garden or other place where not given completely the Sun, to last throughout the year. They can measure up to five meters in the form of Bush, although grown in pot usually reach 50 cm.

Argentina in a swimsuit

In Argentina, land of gauchos, adventurous and passionate tangos, the snow and the cold, conspicuous by their absence at Christmas and Santa Claus wears bathing suit.

The characteristic of these dates cuisine is marked by the influence of Italian, Spanish and French settlers. Therefore the diet does not differ much from the European, although the differential touch is given by how to cut meat: against the fiber. Cooking roasting it to grilled, with firewood or charcoal, until it reaches the so-called Argentine point or cow moaning.

In addition, it is seasoned with chimichurri, a sauce whose recipe is almost a State secret. Its components include the ajimoli, a type of ground pepper, as if it was oregano, reddish and strong, somewhat spicy flavor, but without being aggressive.

The dish featured on these dates is the emblematic Creole roast, which provides all kinds of meats, which are roasted on a grill to grill.

Jorge Pérsico, Argentine birth, and owner of a restaurant in Madrid, specializing in food from its mother country, says: in Argentina every creature walking goes into the grill. We eat from the ribs of the cow, the sausages, the sausages or the chinchulines, that are the guts of the animal…

Dinner is served in a large buffet where the food, due to high temperatures, take cold. The meats are chopped, and made various salads with all kinds of vegetables and pasta. The King of desserts, together with Nougat typical of Spanish heritage, is ice cream, with a varied fruit salad of apples, peaches, pears, pineapple and strawberries.

Christmas in the United States

The holiday season begins in November

In the United States, the Christmas season traditionally begins after the Thanksgiving of that falls on the third Thursday of November. The Saturday immediately after, is carried out a spectacular parade in the city of New York, with the arrival of Santa Claus by marking the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Christmas is a religious and secular celebration

Christmas was originally a strictly religious holiday that is celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. In the United States has become very commercial and a secular celebration. Department stores, shopping malls and small shops very elaborately decorate their establishments and induce customers to spend generously on Christmas presents. However, for many people, Christmas still retains a serious religious meaning. It is the occasion for an annual family reunion and creates an atmosphere of generosity and goodwill, known as the “Christmas spirit” throughout the country.

This season of celebration is more than just Christmas

According to, Jewish Hanukkah celebration is celebrated in mid-December and the African-American Kwanzaa celebration falls in the same period. Along with Christmas, make a cheerful holiday season.

Santa Claus is the San Nicolás of America

Santa Claus was created originally based on Saint Nicholas who was a European Bishop known for his generosity by giving gifts to poor neighbors during the harsh winters. In the United States, Santa Claus is usually presented as a man happy and fat, with a big white beard and dressed in a red suit. He leads a magical sleigh that is pulled by eight reindeer and flies around the world, the night before Christmas, delivering toys and sweets to all the children.

Christmas trees are a tradition

Many families in the United States placed a small pine tree in their homes and decorate it with lights of colors and bright ornaments. On Christmas morning, the children awake to find their gifts in colourful wraps under the Christmas tree. The small, often hang empty stockings on the fireplace and also found them filled with candy and small toys.

Christmas lights create wonderful scenes

Families decorate their homes for the holiday season by decorating with lights outside and small trees and hedges of its property. Neighborhoods take a look festive and cheerful every night. Some are so extravagant that surround their homes with thousands of lights and placed up to Santa Claus, reindeer and snow men, illuminated and of normal size, in their gardens or on their roofs. Many churches and houses placed illuminated births commemorating the humble birth of Jesus. Suburban neighborhoods in the Northern States can become indescribably beautiful after a fall of snow and millions of lights shining in the houses and trees.

Many Americans send Christmas cards

During this season, many people exchange Christmas cards or cards of happy holidays. Cards are mailed to friends, neighbors, relatives, and associates in the business during the month of December. If you receive a card it is not necessary to send one back because some people simply do not send cards. If you want to send a Christmas card and not sure of the religion of those who receive it, always choose a card without any religious issue to prevent offences.

Christmas is usually a family celebration day

Typical activities in the month of December are, Christmas or Hanukkah gift shopping and Christmas partying. At parties we normally find enough food, drink and joy. Christmas Eve and Christmas are reserved for religious observation and family celebrations. The members of the family, close and distant, gather on Christmas day for the annual party. When they invite a family party, it is appropriate to bring with him a small present for the family. If there are children, sweets and a small gift is very much appreciated.

New year’s Eve is a night of partying

During the week after Christmas, the stores are filled with customers that are going to change their gifts and to take advantage of clearance sales. On the eve of the new year, festivities abound in restaurants, bars and clubs across the United States. They tend to be events full of noise with drinks, dancing and outrageous celebrations. Some cities have large feasts outdoor ending with Fireworks at midnight. The party most famous is that of Times Square in New York City. The first day of the year marks the end of the holiday season and people stay at home recovering and watching football on television. Some families have a new year dinner for friends and neighbors.