The Christmas decorations are up early

In words from Perry Como’s famous classic ” It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,.” Many people are feeling festive earlier than usual. For some, Christmas started to look like it in early November. The Christmas decorations were well underway, with trees, lights, tinsel, and baubles already appearing on the streets and in houses.

Some people, however, do not like the idea of a holiday spirit so early. They believe that Christmas should be celebrated at Christmas. But Christmas wouldn’t exist without these disagreements. They’ve existed since the early Christians began celebrating Christ’s birth.

The Bible does not indicate the date of Christ’s birth, nor was there any consensus among early Christians. In the East, the celebration of Christ’s baptism began in the second century.

In the fourth century, the celebration of Epiphany in early January had become an important feast in the Western European calendar. It was associated with the arrival of the wise men, who recognized the infant Jesus as being the son of God. The lack of consensus about the date of Christmas is not surprising, as there are many suggestions regarding the birth of Christ.

In 340 AD, Pope Julius I secured December 25 as the day of Christ’s birth in Western Christianity. The mid-winter festival allowed the Christianisation of pre-existing winter traditions. It also matched the idea that Jesus died in March on the date of his conception. The date would mean that Jesus would have been in December, nine months after his conception.

By the end of the century, the Christmas celebration had been expanded to include commemorations of St Stephen (December 26), John the Baptist (December 30), and Holy Innocents (January 3). The Council of Tours, in 567, established a twelve-day Christmas celebration. In Orthodox churches that use the Roman Julian Calendar, Christmas is still observed in January. January 6 is called “Old Christmas”.

Regulating Christmas

In the sixth century, December 25 was the day to be celebrated. Christmas began at sunset on December 24, and decorations were hung only on Christmas Eve for many years. The church strictly regulated Christmas in order to avoid any links with pre-Christian festivals. Fasting and penance were practiced between Advent Sunday (November 29), four Sundays prior to Christmas, and the celebration of Christmas. The time was not for chocolate advent calendars or parties, nor was it for prematurely decorating streets and homes. Even bringing holly inside a home before Christmas Eve is considered bad luck by traditional plant lore.

It was difficult to control Christmas, and it was nearly impossible to prevent the appearance of decorations. Even ancient pre-Christian midwinter festivities, like bringing in greenery as soon as the winter came, were not stopped.

Read more: When Christmas was canceled: a lesson from History

When Christmas celebrations were banned in England in the 1640s, people decorated houses, and the wardens of St Margaret, Westminster, decked the church with holly and ivy in defiance of the law.

The Christmas season

Christmas products can start appearing in our stores as early as November 1 as they replace Halloween items. We are used to seeing the Christmas season grow, but it is typically only in commercial spaces that want to maximize their seasonal spending. This year, it has come earlier for many homes, with reports that decorations have been put up as early as Halloween.

The festive sparkle is a way to add warmth and joy to the pandemic restrictions. Christmas decorations bring back fond memories. Psychologists found those who decorate early appear happier and more social.

The Christmas traditions on the Western Front are reminiscent of testimonies by soldiers who were in the trenches at the end of World War One and saw them as a link to normality.

Histories show that this isn’t the first time a pandemic has affected Christmas. News articles from 1918 indicate that Christmas shopping began early during the Spanish Flu pandemic. This is also the case for 2020. The “lockdown fatigue,” which led to the celebration of Armistice Day and Thanksgiving in 1918, triggered a new wave of Spanish flu in US cities.

For most, that’s January 5, and some might argue any later than the eve of Epiphany (January 6). Some say that if you wait until Epiphany Eve (January 6), then you risk an invasion of goblins. This could be either the Greek Kallikantzaroi or Robert Kerrick’s Ceremony for Candlemas Eve. Both are very unwelcome.

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