什么是圣诞节?圣诞节的来历

2009年12月25日 | 分类: 网海拾贝 | 标签: , | 字体: 超大


小程:一年一次的圣诞又来了,中国人也越来越将其当成自己的传统国家节日了,至于原因,太多,我也说不上来。不过我猜想大家并不是有太多崇洋媚外的心理,而是希望一年中有更多的节日和日子来开心下吧。毕竟中国一年的节日不算多,而且还老调整过来调整过去的。所以大家理所当然的希望有更多的节日能过过。小程觉得圣诞给人的感觉很温馨,看的很多圣诞的片子也都是如此,但是我真没什么想要要过圣诞,毕竟对它不了解,而且也没那文化底蕴。话说回来,我还真不清楚圣诞的由来,就找了些资料,有中文,也有英文,自己瞧瞧了解下,也分享给大家吧。

  每年的12月25日,是基督教徒纪念耶稣诞生的日子,称为圣诞节。

  从12月24日于翌年1月6日为圣诞节节期。节日期间,各国基督教徒都举行隆重的纪念仪式。圣诞节本来是基督教徒的节日,由于人们格外重视,它便成为一个全民性的节日,国家一年中最盛大的节日,可以和新年相提并论,类似我国过春节。

  西方人以红、绿、白三色为圣诞色,圣诞节来临时家家户户都要用圣诞色来装饰。红色的有圣诞花和圣诞蜡烛。绿色的是圣诞树。它是圣诞节的主要装饰品,用砍伐来的杉、柏一类呈塔形的常青树装饰而成。上面悬挂着五颜六色的彩灯、礼物和纸花,还点燃着圣诞蜡烛。

  红色与白色相映成趣的是圣诞老人,他是圣诞节活动中最受欢迎的人物。西方儿童在圣诞夜临睡之前,要在壁炉前或枕头旁放上一只袜子,等候圣诞老人在他们入睡后把礼物放在袜子内。在西方,扮演圣诞老人也是一种习俗。

  “圣诞节”这个名称是“基督弥撒”的缩字。弥撒是教会的一种礼拜仪式。耶诞节是一个宗教节。我们把它当作耶苏的诞辰来庆祝,因而又名耶诞节。这一天,全世界所有的基督教会都举行特别的礼拜仪式。但是有很多圣诞节的欢庆活动和宗教并无半点关联。交换礼物,寄圣诞卡,这都使圣诞节成为一个普天同庆的日子。

  耶稣的出生是有一段故事的,耶稣是因着圣灵成孕,由童女马利亚所生的。神更派遣使者加伯列在梦中晓谕约瑟,叫他不要因为马利亚未婚怀孕而不要她,反而要与她成亲,把那孩子起名为“耶稣”,意思是要他把百姓从罪恶中救出来。

  当马利亚快要临盘的时候,罗马政府下了命令,全部人民到伯利恒务必申报户籍。约瑟和马利亚只好遵命。

  他们到达伯利恒时,天色已昏,无奈两人未能找到旅馆渡宿,只有一个马棚可以暂住。就在这时,耶稣要出生了!於是马利亚唯有在马槽上,生下耶稣。后人为纪念耶稣的诞生,便定十二月二十五为圣诞节,年年望弥撒,纪念耶稣的出世。

  圣诞节便是於十二月二十五日纪念耶稣的诞生,但真实的诞生日就没有人知道了。十九世纪,圣诞卡的流行、圣诞老人的出现,圣诞节亦开始流行起来。

  圣诞老公公的由来圣诞节是令人雀跃期待的日子,尤其是小孩子。相信大家对圣诞老公公的事都耳熟能详吧?从前有一个老人,名叫尼古拉斯,他一生最爱帮助贫穷的人家。其中有一次他帮助三个贫穷的少后送他们三袋金子以逃过被卖的不幸。当尼古拉斯偷偷把其中一袋金子送给其中一名女子时,他把金子从其中一个窗户扔进去,恰好掉进景在壁上的一长袜中。于是,将礼物放在圣诞袜子的送礼方法家挨户地去要糖果哟!

  据说平安夜的晚上,圣诞节老公公会驾着驯鹿雪橇满载着礼物准备送点这一年来表现很好的小朋友,他会悄悄地从烟囱爬进屋内,礼物塞在挂在床头的袜子里。所以孩子总会把一条条色彩缤纷的袜子挂在床头,并在袜子旁边放杯热牛奶给劳苦功高的圣诞老人解渴,并送份大礼给自己。

  隔天一每个小朋友都迫不及待地打开礼,想知道自己得到什么奖励。

  到了1822年,一位荷兰传教士把这位伟大慈善家的故事传到美国之后,美国商人更以特殊的行销手法,每年利用这个节日大张旗鼓地宣传广告,大赚一笔,在亚洲的日本及其它各国也群起效尤。因此装扮圣诞老人来庆祝圣诞节的风俗习惯也就渐渐地流行到世界各国了。

  圣诞树的由来

  1.据说大约在十六世纪,德国人最先把长青的松柏枝拿到屋中去摆设,后来,德国传教士马丁路德把烛放在树林中的枞树枝上,然后点燃,使它看起来像是引导人们到伯利恒的星光,如同二千年前的东方三博士依照天上的星星找到耶稣一般。今日,人们已经改用小灯泡代替蜡烛。

  2.传说在很久以前,有一位农人,在圣诞节那天遇到一位穷苦的小孩,他热情地接待了孩子,这个小孩临走时折下根松枝插在地上,松枝立即变成一棵树,上面挂满了礼物,用来答谢农人的好意。

  然而圣诞树真正出现在圣诞节,首先见于德国,之后又传入欧洲和美国,成为圣诞节不可或缺的装饰物。他们通常用五光十色的彩灯、蜡、礼物或天使来装圣诞树,尤其住在美国西北部的人们,因为当地丰富的森林资源,他们会全家人一起去挑选一棵真正的树做为圣诞树。圣诞树的种类繁多,有天然松柏圣诞树、也有人造圣诞树及白色圣诞树。每棵圣诞树上都挂满琳琅满目的装饰品,但每棵树的顶端必定有一棵特大的星星,像征着那颗引导东方三博士找到耶稣的星星。而且在传统习俗上,只有家庭的一家之主才可以把这颗希望之星挂上,旁人是不可以越俎代庖的。

  平安夜的由来圣诞节前夕也就是俗说的平安夜,当晚,全家人会团聚在客厅中,围绕在圣诞树旁唱圣诞歌曲,互相交换礼物,彼此分享一年来生活中的喜怒哀乐,表达内心的祝福及爱。在这天晚上都会看到一群可爱的小男生或小女生,手拿诗歌弹着吉他,一家一家的唱着诗歌报佳音。到底佳音队这种节日活动是怎么来的呢?

  耶稣诞生的那一晚,一在旷野看守羊群的牧羊人,突然听见有声音自天上传来,向他们报耶稣降生的好消息。根据圣经记载,耶稣来是要作世人的王,因此天使便透过这些牧羊人把消息传给更多的人知道。

  后来人们就效仿天使,在平安夜的晚上到处报人传讲耶稣降生的消息,直到今日,报佳音已经变成圣诞节不可缺少的一个节目。

  通常佳音队是由大约二十名青年人,加上一备装扮成天使的小女孩和一位圣诞老人组成。在平安夜晚上大约是九点过后,开始一家一家的去报佳音。每当佳音队去到一个家庭时,先会唱几首大家都熟悉的圣诞歌曲,然后再由小女孩念出圣经的话语让该户人家知道今夜是耶稣降生的日子,过后大家一起祷告再唱一两首诗歌,再由慷慨大方的圣诞老人派送圣诞礼物给那个家庭中的小厅子,整个报佳音的过程就完成了!

 

What is Christmas?

The word Christmas comes from the words Cristes maesse, or "Christ's Mass." Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus for members of the Christian religion. Most historians peg the first celebration of Christmas to Rome in 336 A.D.

Christmas is both a holiday and a holy day. In America it is one of the biggest event of the year (especially for kids), and for members of the Christian religions it is an important day on the religious calendar.

During the Christmas season in America, many people take their children to a mall where they can "meet Santa."The federal government, all state governments, all schools/colleges/universities and the vast majority of businesses in America give employees one or two days off at Christmas, making it an important holiday (other federal holidays are: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving). In the Roman Catholic calendar, Christmas is one of six holy feast days celebrated in America, the others being: Circumcision (New Year's Day), Ascension, Assumption (Mary's assumption into heaven, August 15), All Saints (November 1), and the Immaculate Conception (December 8).

 

Why is Christmas such a big deal?

There are two reasons why Christmas is such a big deal:

According to the 1994 "Britannica Book of the Year," there are 1.8 billion Christians in a total world population of 5.5 billion, making it the largest religion worldwide. In America, 241 million out of a total population of 281 million people are Christians -- that's 85 percent. Because Christians follow Jesus, the birth of Jesus is important to them.

In America, the weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year. Many retailers make up to 70 percent of their annual revenue in the month preceding Christmas. Therefore, retailers hype the event beyond belief.

According to Daniel Boorstin in his book "The Americans," Christmas was largely a non-event in America until the 1860s. 1867 was the first year that Macy's department store in New York City remained open until midnight on Christmas Eve. 1874 was the year of the first window displays with a Christmas theme at Macy's. It has snowballed from there.

 

Why do people give each other presents on Christmas day?

The tradition of gifts seems to have started with the gifts that the wise men (the Magi) brought to Jesus. As recounted in the Bible's book of Matthew, "On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."As mentioned in the previous question, however, no one was really in the habit of exchanging elaborate gifts until late in the 1800s. The Santa Claus story (described later), combined with an amazing retailing phenomenon that has grown since the turn of the century, has made gift giving a central focus of the Christmas tradition.

 

Why is there a small evergreen tree in the living room?

This is a German tradition, started as early as 700 A.D. In the 1800s the tradition of a Christmas tree was widespread in Germany, then moved to England and then to America through Pennsylvanian German immigrants.

 

Who is this Santa Claus person?

Why is Santa characterized as a short, fat and jolly pipe smoker?

Why does Santa wear such outlandish clothes?

Why does he ride around in a sleigh? Pulled by reindeer? That lands on rooftops? So he can climb down the chimney? With a big sack full of toys? Which he leaves under the tree for good girls and boys?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Santa Claus started with a real person, Saint Nicholas, a minor saint from the fourth century:

According to tradition, he was born in the ancient Lycian seaport city of Patara, and, when young, he traveled to Palestine and Egypt. He became bishop of Myra soon after returning to Lycia. He was imprisoned during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians but was released under the rule of Emperor Constantine the Great and attended the first Council (325) of Nicaea. After his death he was buried in his church at Myra, and by the sixth century his shrine there had become well known. In 1087, Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy; this removal greatly increased the saint's popularity in Europe, and Bari became one of the most crowded of all pilgrimage centres. Nicholas' relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola, Bari.

Nicholas' reputation for generosity and kindness gave rise to legends of miracles he performed for the poor and unhappy. He was reputed to have given marriage dowries of gold to three girls whom poverty would otherwise have forced into lives of prostitution, and he restored to life three children who had been chopped up by a butcher and put in a brine tub. In the Middle Ages, devotion to Nicholas extended to all parts of Europe. He became the patron saint of Russia and Greece; of charitable fraternities and guilds; of children, sailors, unmarried girls, merchants, and pawnbrokers; and of such cities as Fribourg, Switz., and Moscow. Thousands of European churches were dedicated to him, one as early as the sixth century, built by the Roman emperor Justinian I, at Constantinople (now Istanbul). Nicholas' miracles were a favourite subject for medieval artists and liturgical plays, and his traditional feast day was the occasion for the ceremonies of the Boy Bishop, a widespread European custom in which a boy was elected bishop and reigned until Holy Innocents' Day (December 28).

After the Reformation, Nicholas' cult disappeared in all the Protestant countries of Europe except Holland, where his legend persisted as Sinterklaas (a Dutch variant of the name Saint Nicholas). Dutch colonists took this tradition with them to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in the American colonies in the 17th century. Sinterklaas was adopted by the country's English-speaking majority under the name Santa Claus, and his legend of a kindly old man was united with old Nordic folktales of a magician who punished naughty children and rewarded good children with presents.

("Nicholas, SAINT", Britannica CD. Version 97. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1997.)It is amazing but true that the common, popular view of Santa that we all have today, along with all the crazy things around Santa like the sleigh, the reindeer and the chimney, all came largely from two publishing events that occurred in the 1800s and one advertising campaign in this century. Clement Moore wrote "The Night Before Christmas" in 1822 for his family. It was picked up by a newspaper, then reprinted in magazines and it spread like wildfire. Moore admitted authorship in 1838. If you read the poem you will find that he names the reindeer, invents the sleigh, comes up with the chimney and the bag of toys, etc. Nearly everyone in America has been able to recognize or recite this poem since the 1830s.

Then, between 1863 and 1886, Harper's Weekly (a popular magazine of the time) ran a series of engravings by Thomas Nast. From these images come the concepts of Santa's workshop, Santa reading letters, Santa checking his list and so on. Coca-Cola also played a role in the Santa image by running a set of paintings by Haddon Sundblom in its ads between 1931 to 1964.

The red and white suit came, actually, from the original Saint Nicholas. Those colors were the colors of the traditional bishop's robes.

See also A Brief History of Santa for a good set of Santa pictures.

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