Christmas is celebrated every year on 25th December around the globe. Learn about the origin of Christmas, its history, the Christmas tree and Santa Claus.

Decorating the house with ornaments, lights, exchanging gifts, grilling delicious meals and exchanging greetings are a few traditions that people carry while celebrating Christmas. Christmas marks the end of the year and portrays Jolly and heartwarming things. It is that time of the year when people from all over the globe visit their family, enjoy the festival together and spend time. 

The origin of Christmas is all about merrymaking..

What Is The Origin Of Christmas?

The origin of Christmas has a mix of both Roman and Pagan cultures. The Romans enjoyed double holidays in December. Saturnalia was the first one. It is a festival celebrated for two weeks in the devotion of the God of agriculture, Saturn. 

The other festival is celebrated on the 25th of December. They celebrate this day in the honour of the birth of Mithra, Sun God. Both the celebrations had one thing in common. It was wild and drunken behaviour at the parties.

In December, the darkest day of the year arrives. The pagan custom uses candles and bonfires to remove the darkness. Roman culture incorporated the Pagan culture into their way of Mary making. Although Christianity gained popularity in Europe, the Christian Church and authorities could not control the practices of celebrations and pagan customs. As people did not know Jesus ‘ birth date, they corporated the Pagan culture while celebrating his birthday.

Significance Of Christmas Tree

The Pagan culture allowed people to adorn and illuminate their houses and garden with lights and other decoration pieces. They also thought of it as a way to welcome good things. The evergreen trees of the area stayed green during the dark days. Therefore these trees were anticipated to have extraordinary powers. 

Roman culture also allowed people to illuminate the temples with fir trees. They mainly used metal to decorate it. Greek History has several records of the trees getting decorated in the devotion of gods. The trees were introduced in the homes of Pagan by hanging from the ceiling. 

The decoration of the tree that we see people following today comes from the traditions of Christmas in northern Europe. In Northern Europe, the Germanic tribes (pagan tribes) adorned these evergreen trees to worship God with dried fruits and candles. This culture was adopted into the Christian faith in 1500 in Germany. They decorated the tree with gifts, toys, sweets and lights. 

Santa Claus

Motivated by St. Nicholas, the history of Christmas celebration of Christmas tradition doesn’t have Pagan roots. It had Christian origins. He was born in southern Turkey around 280. He was a bishop in the early Christian church. He had to go through imprisonment for his belief. 

Belonging to a prosperous family, St.Nicholas was famous for being helpful toward the needy. There are several stories of how he helped the poor. The most notable was how he saved three girls from getting traded into slavery. According to their father, he did not have enough capital to give dowry, which was the only option left. St.Nicholas threw a piece of gold through his window and saved the fate of the three girls. 

It is believed that the gold was put in a sock, drying near a fire. Therefore children followed the same and started hanging stockings near the fires hoping that they would get gifts in the socks. To honour him, December 6 is St. Nicholas day.

As time passed, every European tradition of Christmas came up with its own version of Saint Nicholas. In German and Swiss culture, Christ’s child (Kris Kringle) delivered gifts to obedient children. A gleeful elf, Jultomten distributed gifts in Sweden on a sleigh, which goats drew.  

Pere Noel in France and Father Christmas in England distributed gifts to children. In France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and Luxembourg, he was famous for Sinter Klaas. This is the entire concept of the American culture of Santa Claus.

History Of Christmas

The Christmas festival is observed because of the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th of December. The history of Christmas is related to the North of Jesus Christ. 

Christ was born to Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem. According to the Western Christian Church, 25th December was the date for the celebration of Christmas during the early to mid 4th century. Later this date marks the celebration of Christmas throughout the world. In 1870 the United States announced Christmas as a federal holiday.


People from all across the globe are very thrilled about the celebration and significance of this festival. While celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, they believe in a spiritual reality. 

Christ was born in an era when the world was facing greed, hypocrisy, ignorance and hatred. 

He was born to change people’s lives and give them a new direction. The entire land saw a transformation, and people started incorporating a new attitude to life. Therefore, the world saw a new era.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

When is Christmas celebrated?

Ans : Christmas is celebrated on 25th December every year. Christmas marks the end of the year and ...Read full

What do people do on Christmas?

Ans : People decorate the house with colourful papers and lights, exchange gifts, cook delicious me...Read full

What is the significance of Christmas?

Ans : Jesus Christ was born in an era when the world faced greed, hypocrisy, ignorance and hatred. ...Read full

What are the different cultures about Santa Clause?

Ans : In France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and Luxembourg, St. Nicholas was famous for Sinter ...Read full

What is the importance of a Christmas tree?

Ans : In Northern Europe, the Germanic tribes (pagan tribes) adorned these evergreen trees to worsh...Read full