Saint Nicholas
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Saint Nicholas is celebrated in Germany from the tenth century, and the day of December 6 is chosen as the day of the festival of traders, bakers and sailors. The Saint-Nicolas is today a festival mainly directed towards children, staging … Read More

Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
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(The Immaculate Conception (1628-1629) by Pierre Paul Rubens, Prado Museum.) The Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8th, or on December 9th when the 8th falls on a Sunday, the “supposed” date of Mary’s conception, since 1477, by decision of … Read More

Christmas carols
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Christmas carols are songs (Christian or secular) traditionally interpreted during the holiday season. According to Catholic tradition, the first Christmas carols were sung by the angels above the manger to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. Historically, the first Christmas … Read More

Christmas during the Renaissance
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Before the Christianization of the West, Christmas was called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti and corresponded to the birth day of Sol Invictus. The date of 25 December has been set as the great feast of the undefeated Sun (Sol Invictus) … Read More

Advent symbols and traditions
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In Catholicism, The great Os, sometimes called “Major Antiphons”, or “O before the Christmas”, are antiphonies sung of Vespers of Advent in the week preceding the Feast of the Nativity. Tradition had been respected since about the eighth century in … Read More

The Star of Bethlehem
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The “Star of Bethlehem” or “Christmas Star” is the sign that, according to the Gospel, announced to the Oriental Magi the birth of Jesus. The Christian tradition (The star guiding the Magi, mosaic of Ravenna, beginning of the 6th century, … Read More

Christmas markets
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(Christmas market in Köln, Germany, in front of Cologne Cathedral, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Weihnachtsmarkt_Dom_2011_1.jpg) A Christmas market is an outdoor market associated with the Christmas celebration and traditionally held during Advent. There is everything about the Christmas party but also about Saint Nicholas. … Read More

History of the Christmas tree
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(Rock carvings in the Swedish province of Bohuslän, made between 1800 and 500 BC and showing a spruce) If it is clear that the custom of the modern Christmas tree dates back to the Renaissance in the Germanic countries (attestation … Read More

Origins of Santa Claus
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(“Ghost of Christmas Present”, an illustration by John Leech made for Charles Dickens’s festive classic A Christmas Carol (1843)) Santa Claus, as it is commonly depicted, can be seen as a relatively modern syncretistic building with far-reaching origins: it is … Read More

Adoration of the Magi
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  (Adoration of the Magi, Gentile da Fabriano, 1423) The Adoration of the Magi from an episode of the Gospel according to Matthew (2-1-12) is a popular Christian iconographic theme of an episode in the life of Christ, the visit … Read More

Christmas lights
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(A decorated avenue from Madrid, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alumbrado_navide%C3%B1o_en_Madrid_%282007%29.jpg) Christmas lights are lights installed outside during the Christmas period, and more generally for the period of the holiday season. These Christmas decorations can be placed on buildings, trees, or through the streets, mainly … Read More

Christmas Advent Liturgy – Meaning and Ceremonial
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(Incense during vespers of Advent.) The time of Advent celebrates the triple coming of Christ; His birth in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, his coming into the heart of men of all times, and his glorious return at the end … Read More

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