Christmas in Sri Lanka
The Christian population in Sri Lanka is much less compared to Buddhist and Hindus. Christian make up only 7% of the total population, but preparation for this great day begin several weeks prior to the festival, and celebration with great enthusiasm in true Sri Lankan style.
Christmas in Sri Lanka
The first sign of Christmas festival in Sri Lanka has an interesting history. When Sri Lanka was under European rules from the sixteenth century for twentieth century, that culture has been greatly influence by the culture of its European colonies.
Sound of fire crackers at dawn of 1st December and is the first sign of intimation that Christmas in round the corner .All most every home pf Christian or Catholics wake up in first day and perform the first ritualistic task of merry making .By the time Christmas spirit can be seen everywhere .the hotels, shopping malls wayside boutiques are decorated by Christmas trees bells angles & statues of Santa clauses lit up in most of the country sides.
In December 25th the commemoration of the birth of Lord Jesus Christ .It’s a public holiday on Christmas day Of Sri Lanka. The midnights of 24th December cathedrals, churches, and little chapels all over the country Christian attend Midnight Mass.
Sri Lankan peoples find Christmas as the perfect time to sharing kind, loving compassion hearts with others. Christians invite relatives, friends to their Christmas parties and share with them seasonal cakes, wines and other Christmas foods. That engages hearts of one and all. No one can feel that Christmas is a minority in the nation .Other Sri Lankan people treats the Christmas festival as their own festival.
Christmas Customs and Traditions
People all over the world have various traditions they observe when celebrating the Christmas season. Some put a candle in the window; others hang mistletoe and holly around the house, many people sings carols, put up nativity scenes, and decorates Christmas trees.
The Christmas tree
The Christmas tree is thought to have developed from the ‘Paradise Tree’ an evergreen tree decorated with apples and used in popular play about Adam and Eve held on December 24th in medieval Germany. Martin Luther is credited with being the first to decorate a tree with lights. As he worked through the woods near his home, he looked; he looked up in to the night sky and thought about the star that led the wise men to the Holy Child. He then took home a small tree and decorated it with candles to represent the stars he saw that night and told his family about his walk through the woods and recounted to them the story of the Christ Child.
Decorating the Christmas tree was very popular in Germany. In fact many of the first ornaments were made in Germany. No tree could match the splendor of the German Christmas Trees. German emigrants, who settled in Pennsylvania, brought the first Christmas Trees to America as early as 1747.
As the country grew, more and more Christmas trees appeared, in 1851, Mark Carr opened the first retail Christmas tree lot in the United States, hauling his trees from the Catskill Mountains to New York City. These early-American trees were decorated with candles, popcorn, nuts, and homemade paper ornaments. If the family were well-to-do, a few ornaments imported from Germany would be seen in the tree.
The tradition of placing lights in and around the windows and houses began in the middle Ages. These Lights, which began as candles, became a symbol of Christ, the light of the world. These lights held a two –fold purpose, to guide the Christ child to Christian homes so that he would leave his blessing on the house and present for those inside, and to be a sign to weary travelers that they would find a welcome in that house.
Putting tinsel on the Christmas tree began in Germany as thin strips of the beaten silver. Later the present form of tinsel was developed. It was cheaper and lighter than the beaten silver so more people could obtain it and would not be the breaks.The story is told of poor a woman who was unable to provide decorations for her children’s Christmas tree. During the night, spiders logged in the tree and covered it with their webs. The Christ child seeing this realized that the women would be saddened to see the disappointed faces of her children upon seeing only spider’s webs on their tree. He turned the spider webs into silver, and the next morning the poor family was dazzled by the brilliant tinsel that shone on tree.
The candy cane started out about 400 years ago as a plain stick of white candy. As Christmas tree became popular in Europe people began putting them on their trees as decorations along with other foods like fruit and cookies. The first reference to these candy sticks in relation to Christmas came in 1670.A choirmaster as the Cologne Cathedral in Germany gave the candy to the children that attend the churches nativity services so they would be quite. To make the candy go along with the spirit of the services he bent the candy in to the shape of a shepherd’s staff.
The first reference to the candy cane in America came in 1847 when a German immigrant living in Ohio named August Impart decorated his tree with the sweet treats. About 50 years later the first candy canes with red stripes appeared. Peppermint and wintergreen flavored were also added to the candy at this time making the candy cane the Sweet Christmas favorite is it today.
A carol is defined as a song of rejoicing, usually associated with festive occasions and religious celebrations .The first Christmas carol was sung by angels who announced the birth of Christ to shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem. Since that time many carols have been sung to honor the birth of Jesus. In fact more that 500 English carols from the 15th century still survive, with the earliest printed copy of a carol that still exists being the ‘Boar’s Head carol.
Today carols celebrate the many traditions that have become a part of Christmas today, such as sleigh rides, building snowmen, giving food and gifts to others, Santa Clause, the reindeer, bell ringing and caroling, They also memorize the manager, the star of Bethlehem, the wise men, the shepherds, and the animals that attend the birth that special night.
Many homes put up at least one nativity scene every Christmas. To Christians they are a picture of the poverty and squalor into which Jesus Christ was born and a way to remember the reason for the season. The first nativity scene was set up by Francis of Assisi on December 24, 1223.These scenes were most commonly found in southern Europe where the Catholic faith was strongest.
Nativity scenes are made in all fashions from the simple, hand-made crèches to fancy store-bought dioramas. No matter what form the nativity scene takes, they all display the manager, the star of Bethlehem, angles, angles, shepherds, wise men Mary Joseph and Jesus. More elaborate scenes may contain animals, houses [something form a miniature village], and additional people. Also popular are painted nativity scenes. Living nativity scenes and dramas portraying the birth of Christ.
The custom of hanging stockings by the fireplace began around 300 A.D .Legend tells of three daughters of a poor miller who could not marry because they had no dowry. St.Nicholas upon hearing of their plight passed by their house in the middle of the night and tossed three bags of gold coins down the chimney of the girl’s house. The bags landed in stockings which the girls had hung to dry the evening before.
The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is attributed to the wise man who gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child. However, the true origin of gift giving Christmas at is this.’ For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. That whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life’
perish Christmas cards are token of friendship and goodwill and have become the means by which people and families keep in touch with those far a way. The first Christmas card was made in 1843 by an English illustrator named John Calcott Horsley. Sending cards at Christmas became quite popular in Europe and America during the next few years.
The first Christmas card appeared in America in 1846, but they were expensive and not affordable the masses. They become popular in U.S when in 1857.a German emigrant printer, Louis Prang, started providing economical Christmas cards that everyone could buy. These first cards pictured flowers, plants, and children and contained simple greetings of the season. In 1915, John C.Hall and two of his brother got into the card business when they established Hallmark cards.
A study of Christmas cards of the past is a study of history as they reflect times in which they were created. In the 1920’s Christmas cards showed stylish flappers, good times, and roadster-driving Santa’s. Cards of the 30’s spoofed the poverty and made light of the bad times that the Great depression brought on while looking forward to better times. War and patriotism characterizes the cards of the 40 s. In the 50 s Santa was seen relaxing in front of a television set or fling around the world in a space rocket while thoughts of the Cold War loomed in the background .The 60 s and 70 brought images of peace and brotherhood as seen by the frequent use of doves, flower children, and youngsters joining hands around the world.The 80’s and 90’s saw pictures of silent ,snowy scenes and a return to more traditional themes and nostalgic looks at past christmas.
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