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Christmas ( p.75-79 ): Christmas origin

Ranez.Ru > Помощь в учебе абитуриентам и студентам > Преподавателю > Людмила Бали >

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Every December, Christians all over the world look forward to the coming Christmas. It is the most widely celebrated holiday of the year.

It started nearly two thousand years ago, with the birth of Jesus Christ. In the Bible it is said about it, but the Bible never mentioned the date of Christ’s birth. There are no other records to tell us exactly when He was born. Not until the year 325 was December 25 chosen as the day to celebrate His birthday. At the same time, January 6 was selected as the day to remember the visit of the three Magi. (Matthew 2:1-2) Some Christians celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas from December 25 to January 6.

As the centuries went by, more and more Europeans became Christians, and the Christmas holiday became more widely observed.  Gradually, Christmas traditions began to include customs from many winter holidays.

 Every year, many Christians travel to Israel to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem. On Christmas Eve, they worship at the Church of the Nativity, built over the spot where it is believed the Christ child was born. After Midnight Mass, many of the visitors walk about a mile east of the church to the Field of the Shepherds. According to tradition, this is where the shepherds lay watching their flocks when the angels appeared to them to tell them of the newborn child.

Christmas Traditions

Christmas would never be Christmas without its many wonderful traditions. Here’s how a few of them began.

Gifts. The tradition of gift giving is as old as Christmas itself.  According to the Bible, the three Magi brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Early gifts were usually homemade.  Parents worked long and hard sewing rag dolls and carving wooden toys.  It is still common in Germany to make a gift for the person you love best.

Santa Claus. The story of Santa Claus began with a kindly bishop named Saint Nicholas. He lived in the fourth century near Turkey, and he often passed out gifts to children and poor people in secret.

Dutch seaman carried tales of this good saint and of his great generosity back to Holland. The legend grew as people pictured Saint Nicholas in bishop’s robes riding on a white horse. They said that he rewarded children who learned their prayers and behaved themselves. On the feast of Saint Nicholas, December 6, Dutch children would receive presents. When Dutch settlers came to America, they brought with them their tales of the man they called “Sinter Klaas.” The English settlers changed his name to Santa Claus.

In 1822, Clement C. Moore wrote a Christmas poem for his children. It introduced the Santa Claus with eight reindeer that we know today. In 1862, the well-known cartoonist Thomas Nast was the first to draw Santa in a fuzzy fur-trimmed suit. Through the years, Santa Claus has become fatter and jollier. In 1930, a red-nosed reindeer named Rudolph became part of the Santa Claus story.

Christmas trees Evergreen trees have been a part of European winter celebrations for many centuries. The trees, sometimes decorated with candles, were thought of as symbols of everlasting life. The custom of decorating trees for Christmas began in Germany. An eighth century monk named Saint Boniface wanted people to stop worshipping their sacred oak, so he suggested that they decorate a fir tree in honor of the Christ Child. By the 1500s, Christmas tree was very popular in Germany, and the idea was spreading to other parts of Europe. Each country developed its own way to decorate the Christmas tree.

German settlers brought the idea of the Christmas tree to America. In the early days of this country’s history, the decorations were simple: popcorn and cranberries strung and draped over paper ornaments, chains, and stars, and wax candles in simple tin holders.
In 1895, a telephone operator named Ralph Morris came up with the truly bright idea of stringing the first set of electric Christmas tree lights.

Christmas Cards Early in the 1800-s, English schoolboys would send  “Christmas Pieces” to their parents, trying to show them their best writing skills.  But only in 1840, the first real Christmas cards appeared in England.  Often, they were hand-colored. Frequently, people would compete in contests for the best card design. In one contest, the top prize was $10,000 - a great deal of money now and a fortune back to the nineteenth century! By 1870, many people in England were sending Christmas cards, and the idea soon caught on in America.  Louis Prang, a German immigrant to the United States, began printing colored cards in his Massachusetts factory in 1875.  Today, Americans send millions of cards to each other every Christmas.


Carols Music has always been an important part of Christmas. The Bible tells of the Angeles’ song over Bethlehem on the first Christmas night. By the fifth century, Christians were writing Christmas hymns in Latin.  During the Middle Ages, troupes of costumed actors traveled from village to village, presenting a Christmas story in songs. Singing and traveling gradually blended into the custom of caroling.

The true Christmas carol has its roots with Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy. From Italy, carols spread to France, to Germany, to England and to the rest of Europe. Some of the earliest Christmas carols were folk songs passed down from parents to children. Many of the songs were lullabies about the Baby Jesus.


Ex.1. Translate from Russian into English using the texts above. 

“Christmas Origin”: во всём мире; с нетерпением ждать; широко отмечается (give 2 examples); простепенно; поклоняться, почитать;

“Christmas Traditions”: волхвы; ладан; мирра; вырезать; епископ; голландский; щедрость; награждать; карикатурист, мультипликатор; вечная жизнь, бессмертие; священный; клюква; нанизывать; наряжать, драпировать; воск; жестянка, оловянный; «Рождественское Произведение»; участвовать в конкурсе; состояние, богатство; Рождественский гимн; труппа наряженных актёров; сливаться, смешиваться; колыбельная.

Источник: http://englishaz.narod.ru


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