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Christmas

A confused Christian celebration. It celebrates the birth of Christ although the date of the celebration is not historic, having been fixed at Dies Natalis Solis Invicta by Pope Julius in 349 AD.

There are elements of pre-christian activity and associations (Yule Log, Fire, Holly, Mistletoe, Feasting) and there are all the Victorian inventions in their attempt to recreate Christmas - the Tree, decorations, presents. Nowadays, many see it is just obscenely commercial. For countries which have not accepted the Gregorian Calendar or Juian Reforms, Christmas falls on January 7th. 

 Notable events which have syncretised to Christmas

Winter Solstice - December 20 - 23rd (Generally taken as 21st)

Boxing Day - December 26th is St Stephen's Day

Saturnalia - Roman festival December 1 - 24. Hats were worn, possibly giving rise to the paper hats worn today.

Dies Natalis Solis Invicta - Roman festival December 25th celebrating rebirth of the sun

Yule - a Scandinavian and Germanic festival late December - early January.

Tradition has it that trees and flowers will blossom on Christmas night.

Christmas celebration was forbidden by Act of Parliament in England in 1644. Puritans maintained that a day of fasting and normal business should make people ponder their sins. Mass was forbidden unless Christmas fell on a Sunday (it was wrong to attend church except on the holy day)

St Nicholas - A Saint and Bishop of Myra (3rd century) with a reputation for secret gift giving.