Christmas is a traditional Christian festival marking the birth of Jesus. Most, although not all, Christians observe this festival on December 25th. However, Christmas is now celebrated as a holiday by many people and cultures besides Christians, and indeed many Christmas traditions originated with pre-Christian observances that were subsumed into Christianity (e.g. Saturnalia, Yule or the Winter Solstice).
In predominantly Christian countries, Christmas has become the most economically significant holiday of the year, and it is also celebrated as a secular holiday in many countries with small Christian populations like Japan. It is largely characterized by gifts being exchanged within families and being brought by Santa Claus, Father Christmas or by other mythical figures. Local and regional Christmas traditions are still rich and varied, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs disseminated by globalisation, popular literature, television, and other media.
The word Christmas is a contraction of Christ’s Mass, derived from the Old English Cristes maesse. It is often abbreviated Xmas, the X originates from the Greek letter X (chi) which has often historically been used as an abbreviation for Christ.
HistoryPodcast 39 – Christmas.mp3 22:06 – 20.4MB
A Christmas Carol Podcast From Penguin Books
History of Christmas from History News Network
Songs Played this Episode:
7-8pm History of Christmas
8-10pm Modern Marvels: DisneyWorld
10-11pm Giganto: The Real King Kong
8-10pm Nostradamus 500 Years Later
10-12am Hell: The Devil’s Domain
Meteors: Fire in the Sky
9:30-10pm History Viewpoint: What the Romans did for us
8-9pm Line of Fire: Waterloo
7-7:30pm Almanac: History’s Turning Points: The Rise of the Mob
7:30-8pm Almanac: History’s Turning Points: The Television Explosion
8-9pm The worst jobs in history: The Stuarts
10:30-11pm History Explorer: What the Tudors did for us: The Applyance of Science
9-10pm World Justice: Cover Up: Attack on the USS Liberty
American Experience: Transcontinental Railroad
10-11pm MythBusters: Confederate Rocket