Christmas Eve takes place on December 24 and is probably one of the best nights of the year! Christmas has the power to reunite families and friends, to warm up our hearts, and remind us that we have so many things to be thankful for. So put on your cozy PJs, light up your fireplace, call your loved ones, and top off your hot cocoa with some fluffy marshmallows!
History of Christmas Eve
The tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve derives partly from Christan liturgical starting at sunset, inherited from Jewish tradition, and based on the Book of Genesis’s Story of Creation, saying the first day starts at the evening and ends during the morning. It is also believed that Jesus was born during midnight. Many historical conceptions on many ancient traditions that contributed to the development of Eve celebrations which persisted in the early Christian calendar.
Celebrating Christmas as a holiday became popular in the 19th century. Christmas Eve remains an important part of Christian culture and signifies the birth of Jesus. It’s become even more popular within the last century thanks to a beloved icon: Santa Clause. With the appearance of the jolly man in red, people began preparations such as hanging stockings and leaving out cookies, milk, and sometimes carrots for reindeer.
In fact, for Christian culture, Christmas Eve marks the culmination of the Advent period, beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which is the reason why many churches have services that night. From the 12th to the 15 century, due to the “Holy Inquisition,” Christian traditions were made mandatory. In the 16 Century, the church was influenced by the “Winter Solstice” celebrations, and began Christmas preparations the night prior.
Christmas Eve took on another meaning other than Santa Claus and Christianity, but it also became a day made for spending time with family and loved ones over dinner, decorating, gift wrapping, and Christmas themed-movies. The holiday unites families and friends, allowing them time to get together and enjoy special and traditional activities, from Europe, to North and Latin America, to Asia.