Where does the word “Christmas” originate from? The word Christmas originates from the Middle English word “Cristemasse” which comes from the Old English
word “Cristes-maesse” meaning Christ’s mass. In Latin, mass translates to “missa”, which is a celebration of the Eucharist made in the memory of Jesus Christ. The word “Christ”
comes from the Latin word “Khristos’ ‘ which originates from the Hebrew word “messiah” meaning anointed. What do we celebrate on Christmas? Christmas is celebrated on 25, December. It is known as a religious holiday, and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. Christians celebrate Christmas as the anniversary of Jesus’ birth, whose teachings form the basis of their religion. A popular tradition is to exchange gifts, decorate a Christmas tree, go to church, have a meal with family and friends, and wait for Santa Claus to arrive. Who is Santa Claus? Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle, is thought of as a cheery man in red, who brings gifts for well behaved children on Christmas Eve. This story starts when Saint Nicholas
becomes the patron saint of children. Many believe that St. Nicholas was born around 208 A.D in a small village called Patara near Myra, in modern day Turkey. St. Nicholas was said to be kind and on one occasion gave away all of his wealth and traveled to the countryside to help the sick and the poor. He later became known as the protector of sailors and children after saving two young girls from slavery by paying their father a dowry so they could be married. St. Nicholas’ feast day is celebrated on December 6, on the anniversary of his death. This day was considered a lucky day to make large purchases, or get married. How do people celebrate Christmas around the world? In Japan, celebrating Christmas isn’t a very popular tradition, it is seen as a time to spread joy, or cheer and is not really viewed as a religious holiday. Many people eat KFC on Christmas, or eat at a restaurant instead of cooking a big meal. In Poland, Christmas Eve dinner, better known as Wigilia begins with sharing the Oplatek, a paper-thin square wafer made out of water and flour which has an image of the Nativity on it. Everyone at the table breaks off a piece, and shares a holiday greeting before passing it on. In England, children hang their stockings at the ends of their beds, and wake up with a gift or two from Santa. In Hispanic and Latinx countries, families celebrate Noche Buena on Christmas Eve, enjoying a huge feast, singing and dancing, and there is often a piñata for the kids. Sometimes the families even attend midnight mass.

Yoko Hernandez, a Freshmen Friar, shared their thoughts on Christmas.

Q – How do you celebrate Christmas?
A – “We go to my aunt’s house, we kneel around the Christmas tree and we pass around this porcelain baby Jesus and kiss it. After that we put it under the tree, and we don’t open
gifts until the morning. We eat a very big feast, like Mexican food, we also watch Christmas movies while we
Q – Is there a meaning behind kissing the baby Jesus?
A – “I think it’s just to congratulate him on his birthday.”
Q – What do you look forward to the most on Christmas?
A – “The food, because we make a lot of food and it’s really good, and there’s always a really nice joy to it,
everyone is happy, everyone’s there celebrating, and eating, and bonding.”
Damaris Carrera, another fellow Freshman at Fenwick, added their tradtions.
Q – What is your favorite thing about Christmas?
A – “My favorite thing is listening to Christmas music.”
Q – What’s your favorite Christmas song?
A – “Definitely ‘Last Christmas’”
Q – What is your least favorite thing about Christmas?
A – “Probably cleaning up after opening presents.”
And last but not least, Mr. Fabbrini, a teacher at Fenwick, gave his thoughts on Christmas.
Q – How do you celebrate Christmas?
A – “For Christmas Eve, we usually go to my cousin’s house, we have dinner and we exchange small gifts. On
Christmas Day we usually have people over at our house and we do presents in the morning with my family,
and then Christmas dinner at night.”
Q – What do you think is the most important part about Christmas?
A – “I think getting together with my family, and spending time together.”
Q – What do you enjoy the most about Christmas?
A – “Probably getting to see family that I normally don’t get to see, and catching up with old friends and spending time with them.”