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                    Christmas Day 圣诞节

                    ◎ Anonymous


                    As winter rolls around again this year and the days become chillier, millions of people around the world will break out their winter coats and look forward with anticipation to the approaching holiday season. That’s right, Christmas is upon us again.


                    The name Christmas is short for “Christ’s Mass”. A Mass is a kind of Church service. Christmas is a religious festival. It is the day we celebrate as the birthday of Jesus. There are special Christmas services in Christian churches all over the world. But many of the festivities of Christmas do not have anything to do with religion. Exchanging gifts and sending Christmas cards are the modern ways of celebrating the Christmas in the world.

                    圣诞节的英文原名Christmas是Christ’s Mass的缩写,意思是“基督的弥撒”。弥撒是一种教堂礼拜仪式,圣诞节则是一个宗教节日,我们在这一天庆祝耶稣的诞生。圣诞节到来之际,世界各地的基督教教会都会举行特殊的礼拜仪式。但是,现在的很多圣诞节欢庆活动已经和宗教毫无关系。直到近些年来,圣诞节交换礼物?#36864;?#22307;诞卡这两种大众庆祝方?#35762;?#24320;始兴起。

                    For some, that means digging out those old lights and ornaments out of the closet to hang on the Christmas tree. Although it is generally agreed that the Christmas tree in its current form came from Germany in the early 19th century, the tradition of decorating a tree to mark winter celebrations dates back hundreds of years to Roman times, when they used to decorate evergreen trees with small pieces of metal to celebrate Saturnalia.


                    In medieval times the “Paradise Play” was performed every year on 24 December. This depicted the creation of Man and the fall of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and always included an evergreen hung with apples which represented the apple tree of temptation. In the late 16th century, Martin Luther (the founder of the Protestant religion) was the first to decorate an indoor tree with candles when he attempted to recreate the stars shining over a forest of evergreens. The first mention of decorated trees being taken indoors came in 1605 in Germany—a country with a long Christmas tree history! The trees were initially decorated with fruit and sweets together with hand-made objects such as quilled snowflakes and stars. German Christmas Markets began to sell shaped gingerbreads and wax ornaments which people bought as souvenirs of the fair and took home to hang on their trees.


                    For many children, Christmas is the season of Santa Claus, that mysterious and jolly invader of chimneys, soaring through the sky on his magical sled, bearing gifts for the nice and coal for the naughty. Most people who celebrate Christmas are familiar with the figure of Santa Claus. However, few know the details of his origins or the fairly complex history of his development.


                    The figure of Santa Claus actually has many different origins and is derived from a variety of traditions. Elements from these different traditions became incorporated together with time and produced the Santa Claus that we know today. The primary inspiration for Santa Claus is the 4th century Christian bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra. Nicholas resided in the ancient Lycian town of Myra, located in Byzantine Anatolia. Having devoted his entire life to Christianity at a young age, Nicholas became known for his generous gifts to the poor. One famous story tells of how he presented three impoverished daughters of a faithful Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. Today, we continue to use Saint Nicholas (or Saint Nick) as a pseudonym for Santa Claus.



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