Christmas is the time when Christians around the world
celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Christmas in an English home
Every year in December we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. That is why we call this time of year 'Christmas' - we celebrate the 'Mass', or church service, for Christ. © copyright of projectbritain.com
The word Christmas (or Christ's Mass) comes from the Old English name 'Cristes Maesse' - Christ's Mass - and is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The first recorded observance occurred in Rome in AD360, but it wasn't until AD440 that the Christian Church fixed a celebration date of 25 December. © copyright of projectbritain.com
Christmas is a truly magical season, bringing families and friends together to share the much loved customs and traditions which have been around for centuries. Most people are on holiday in the UK and stay at home with their family on Christmas day, the main day for Christmas celebrations in Britain. © copyright of projectbritain.com
What day is the main Christmas celebration in Britain?
Christmas is celebrated on the 25th December, with a Christmas dinner at midday for the whole family. © copyright of projectbritain.com
How do the British prepare for Christmas?
During the weeks before Christmas Day, we send cards, watch nativity plays and go to carol services. We put up Christmas decorations in our homes and churches.
You can read more about our Christmas customs and traditions by selecting a link on the left of this page.
Many of our Christmas customs began long before Jesus was born. They came from earlier festivals which had nothing to do with the Christian church. Long time ago people had mid-winter festivals when the days were shortest and the sunlight weakest. They believed that their ceremonies would give the sun back its power. The Romans, for example, held the festival of Saturnalia around 25 December. They decorated their homes with evergreens to remind them of Saturn, their harvest god, to return the following spring.
Some of these customs and traditions were adopted by early Christians as part of their celebrations of Jesus' birthday.
In Victorian times some new ideas such as Father Christmas, Christmas cards and crackers were added to the celebrations.
Click on a link on the left to begin exploring the Woodlands Junior Christmas pages.
Click here to read the Christmas Story (The story of Jesus' birth)
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