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SKS Spotlight of the Month: Winter Traditions

Christmas Tree and Children <br \> Consumer Product Safety Commission, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

Christmas Tree and Children
Consumer Product Safety Commission, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

Christmas holiday celebrations are the result of hundreds of years of blending with other spiritual, religious, and cultural traditions.

Roman Church Fathers conceived the observation of the Nativity and added it to the Christian calendar about 350 years after the development of Christianity. They wanted to indoctrinate the idea that Jesus was human and so celebrate him by recognizing his physical birth. The event was positioned during the winter season, which was already replete with revels and festivals such as Saturnalia, a pretty wild and lavish time. To the Church Fathers’ chagrin, Christmas followed suit and was soon defined by parties, feasts, luxuries, and drinking, not by religion as they had envisioned. It was only during the 1800s that Christmas transformed into the holiday many know today: an integration of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the holiday’s pagan roots of parties, lights, music, and indulgences.

Want to learn more about the evolution of Christmas and other holidays? Visit December’s SKS Spotlight of the Month and explore the winter traditions of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and more.

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