14 Traditions Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them That You Probably Didn't Know Before - ViralStories
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14 Traditions Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them That You Probably Didn’t Know Before

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Christmas is the most exciting festival to end the year. There are beautiful traditions that we follow and wait eagerly for to celebrate this magical festival. But all of those traditions and symbols representing Christmas have very surprising and interesting history and legends associated with them. Let’s find out.

1. Star

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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The star represents the Star of Bethlehem that guided Magi or the wise men to the birth place of baby Jesus. Thus, it is the guiding light that leads us to the Almighty. Although, this Eastern Star can also be taken as the miniature Sun which is the largest star in our solar system and signifies, illumination, progress and renewal.

 

2. Nativity Scene

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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It comes from the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Baby Jesus was given birth in a manger. There are always many different animals along with angels and the three wise men around. Although, the later did not reach the birthplace until about Jesus was two years old. Besides, we are not even sure how many of the wise men were actually there or even if they were kings or not.

A very bizarre figurine used in the decoration of the scene is the caganer, which is a defecating figure. Yes, you heard it right. Children play a game of searching for the idol among all of the nativity scene figurines on Christmas morning. The origin of the tradition of caganer however, is not fully known. (You can check Google for the image.)

 

3. Candy Cane

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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Believed to be made by a Christian candy maker, it bores the symbol of Christ’s purity (white stripes), his blood (red stripes) and the trinity (3 stripes). But this story has no proof as such although, people believe to link it to Christmas traditions in this way.

 

4. Santa Claus

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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You can’t imagine Christmas without the Jolly good red suited plump Santa spreading Christmas joy. But he is only an imaginary being based on the one Saint Nicholas or St. Niclaus who lived in the modern day Turkey. He was a very generous and kind man and lived to help the poor and the needy by secretly giving off gifts to them.

 

5. Stockings

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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According to the most popular legend among many, a poor man had three beautiful daughters. He was greatly worried about getting them married since he could not afford to give their dowries in the marriage. Saint Nicholas learnt about the man’s plight; but since he was a man of dignity and would never accept charity, Saint Nicholas stealthily climbed down his chimney and dropped gold coins in his daughters’ stockings which were hanging by the fireplace to dry. This is how the tradition of hanging stockings by the fireplace on Christmas eve started.

 

6. Reindeer

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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The mention of reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh comes into picture in the 1800s in a poem named ‘A Night Before Christmas’. We know that Christianity has been derived from other Pagan religions. As in Norse mythology Thor, the Thunder God rode on his chariot pulled by goats. It is thus believed the idea of Santa’s sleigh pulled by reindeer must have been adopted from there. Moreover, reindeer are considered mysterious creatures of the snow because of their strength and survival skills. This must also be the reason for the adoption.

 

7. Mistle Toe

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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As legend tells it, once the God of Summer Sun, Balder saw the dream of his death making her mother Frigga, the Goddess of Love scared and take promise of every element, plant and animal that it will not harm her son. However, she forgot the lowly Mistletoe that grew neither in nor on earth, but on Oak tree. Taking advantage of this, Loki the God of Evil made an arrow from it and got Balder killed. Frigga cried for days grieving for her dead son under the tree. Her tears became the pearl like fruits of the mistletoe and gave life to Balder. In her joy, she kissed everyone whoever passed below it and that is how the tradition of kissing beneath Mistletoe plant came into being.

 

8. Lights

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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Light signifies hope and happiness. Edison after gaining mastery over incandescent light bulbs first demonstrated them during the holiday season of 1880. Then it was just a string of bulbs bordering his Menlo lab to give a Yuletide effect. However, after two years, taking inspiration from this, a person named Edward Johnson decorated the Christmas tree in his Manhattan home for the first time in history. And slowly but gradually, as the prices of the incandescent bulbs lowered, it came to become a tradition of every household.

 

9. Angels

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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Angels are said to be divine creatures who act as messengers of God. In one of the legends, the archangel of revelation, Grabiel told Mary that she was going to bear the son of the God. Another one tells of the angels who sang of the glory of God and broke the news to the shepherds living in the hills of Bethlehem about the birth of the Christ and how they need to follow the star to reach the place.

 

10. Bells

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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Bells have been a medium of warding off evil by ringing them and thus, bringing in the good. In the olden days they were rung to call the people for masses. And even now in some of the churches in UK, it is customary to ring the largest bell four times, in the hour before midnight and then at the midnight all the bells are rung to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

 

11. Christmas Tree

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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From among many of the legends behind the starting of Christmas tree, this is the most popular and interesting. It is said that once the family of a forester happened to hear a knock on their door. When they opened it, they saw a little boy lost and alone. So, they took him in, had him fed and sleep in their son’s bed. The next morning to their surprise, the boy had turned into Christ himself and as a token of thank you, he gave them a branch of fir tree growing in their garden. This is how the tradition took root.

 

12. Wreath

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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The circular shape of the wreath denotes the eternity or continuance since it doesn’t have a beginning or an end. Moreover the the evergreen holly used in it welcomes the spring after the cold days are over, representing hope. Besides, the thorns in the holly and the red berries in it, signify the thorn crown and the blood that Jesus shed for His people. However, the idea of the wreath is not completely Christian and was taken from the Pagan worshippers of Greece, Persia etc who used it as a laurel or a symbol to denote success.

 

13. Candles

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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Candles represent the purity and light of the sun. They were used to celebrate winter solstice festivals in the ancient times in hopes that spring would be here soon. The association of candles with the Christmas dates back to the middle ages where a huge candle was used to represent the guiding star of the wise men. This is how the tradition of advent candles started. In the olden days people used to decorate the Christmas tree with candles which was replaced by safer electric lights today.

 

14. Christmas Gifts

14 Traditions And Symbols Of Christmas And The Legends Behind Them

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No Christmas can be complete without sweet and thoughtful gifts from and to our loved ones. The Bible also calls Salvation a gift, Jesus too was a gift to the mankind, maybe hence the tradition. However, the custom is even older with the ancient Roman and North European people giving gifts to their family and friends to mark the year-end celebrations.


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