Christmas is the religious holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in his father's home of Bethlehem. It is usually celebrated on the 25th of December each year as both a cultural and religious holiday by billions around the world. The Christmas feast is elemental in the liturgical Christian year; it brings an end to the Advent season and begins the twelve days of Christmas. This holiday has become one of the biggest on the world, celebrated by both Christian and non-Christian people. Much like Easter, Christmas has become a huge commercial holiday where central themes include Santa Claus, his eight reindeer, the North Pole, and gift-giving. In Western Christianiaty, it has become the most important holiday in the religious calendar, while in the Eastern Orthodox religions, Easter remains the most important.
Historians believe the birth of Jesus to have been sometime between 7 and 2 B.C. although it is truly unknown. Christmas was made to be on December 25th by the Western Christian Church during the 4th century. Some people believe that the Christmas date was chosen to as the date of exactly nine months after what Christians believe to be the day of Jesus’ conception. It is also the same day as the Roman winter solstice (southern solstice). This could be because the sun is a direct connection to what Christian’s call Jesus; the Son of Righteousness.
Eastern Christianity’s original date for Christmas was set as January 6th by the Julian calendar, connecting directly with the Epiphany. The Julian and the modern-day Gregorian calendar’s differ by exactly 13 days. This means those following the older Julian calendar celebrate the 25th of December and the 6th of January on the 7th of January and 19th of January respectively. Orthodox Christians, including those in Serbia, Russia, Macedonia, Ethiopia, Greece and Ukraine, honor Christmas on January 7th of the Gregorian calendar.
There are extensive Christmas customs practiced around the world in an array of countries. Some of the most popular of them include Christmas music and Christmas caroling, church services and celebrations, Christmas card exchanges, and special holiday meals shared with extended family. Christmas decorations are wildly popular and range from anything as simple as a decorated tree (usually a spruce, fir, or pine tree), Christmas lights over homes, and wreaths, mistletoe, and garlands. Major figures associated with Christmas include Santa (Saint Nick, St Nicholas, Father Christmas), snowmen, reindeer, and elf. There are Christmas Markets around the world, with some of the most colorful being those found in Europe - particlarly the Kris Kringle Marts in Germany.