Each year, millions and millions of people celebrate Christmas in their very own unique manner, and the holiday is known by a somewhat different name in each nation, but where did the term “Christmas” originate? Why is Christmas called Christmas?
The term “Christmas” as we know it today is a very recent invention. The historically Christian festival commemorates the birth of the infant Jesus to Joseph and the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the English phrase “Christmas” derives from the combination of the terms “mass” and “Christ.”
Christ is derived from the Greek word “Christos,” which is derived from the Hebrew term “Messiah.” According to Britannica, the Messiah is the term given to the prophesied monarch who would rescue the Jewish country.
However, the holiday has been referred to by a variety of different titles. According to Britannica, the name “yule” was used before Christmas and was referred to the winter solstice feast that is unrelated to the birth of Jesus.
It has significantly more to do with the Pagan custom of winter solstice celebrations. The solstice occurs on December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere each year and is often referred to as the day with the least amount of sunshine and hence the longest night.
After the year’s longest night, people who observed Yule would celebrate the return of the sun the following morning. Today, at Stonehenge in England, people still gather each year to welcome the rising light on the morning after the winter solstice.
There are also terms in other languages that are also associated with the birth of Jesus. The term Navidad, like the term Natale, is supposed to refer to the nativity.
The event has become less religious in nature, and many individuals who are not Christians also participate. Along with its religious beginnings, this festival has been centered on the introduction of Santa Claus and the habit of gift-giving.