Christmas is the most important date in the Christian calendar as its celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, son of God, which was the start of the religion Christianity. It is celebrated annually on 25 December.
The precise date of Jesus' birth is unknown. Records show that Christmas has been celebrated as early as the 4th century AD. The date of the 25th December could be as a result of merging roman pagan winter rituals with Christianity when key events were merged, or perhaps because it is exactly nine months after the conception of Christ in the Christian calender.
Many of the customs associated with Christmas have pre-Christian or secular origins. These include the giving of presents, exchanging Christmas cards, Christmas trees, decorations, mistletoe and nativity scenes. In 1647-1660 the celebration of Christmas in England was banned in order to rid the holiday of excess and corruption of the roman catholic church and pagan trappings.
Often it is noted that Christmas has become increasingly commercial, with shops and retailers reporting their highest sales around this period. However, the essence of Christmas still remains and many families consider this time to be a special time for families and a period of reflection.
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