At Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ a good 2000 years ago. About 1700 years ago, this Christmas feast was celebrated for the first time, i.e. only 300 years later. In many countries today, 25 December is the most important feast day at Christmas. In Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other countries, 26 December is also a public holiday. On both days, the vast majority of people do not have to go to work. They have the day off so they can spend time with their families and friends. Many families sing Christmas carols together.
Christmas also involves people giving each other presents. People often unwrap them on 24 December, which is Christmas Eve. This custom has only existed for about 500 years, since the beginning of modern times. Before that, it was only customary on 6 December, St. Nicholas' Day. The Christmas tree also dates from this time. Then there were the popular gift-bringers: Father Christmas or the Christ Child.
Churches celebrate Christmas with additional services, concerts and nativity plays. In the nativity play, the Christmas story is acted out. Many people only go to church on this special day. In the past, it was customary in many families to go to church after the Christmas party late in the evening. In the Catholic Church, this occasion is called Midnight Mass.
On which day Jesus was really born is not known exactly. The Bible says nothing about it. Perhaps 25 December was chosen for a specific reason: The ancient Romans already celebrated the winter solstice on that day. After this, the days become longer and the nights shorter. The winter solstice was also considered the birthday of the Roman sun god.
Today, Christmas is primarily an important family celebration for many people. That is why even people who do not or not necessarily feel Christian celebrate Christmas. Advent is celebrated by Catholic and Protestant Christians from the fourth Sunday before Christmas.