Christmas Eve Traditions

December 14, 2015

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What is Christmas Eve about and how did it get started?

Christmas Eve, also known as the Vigil of Christmas, is perceived as the culmination of the Advent season. On Christmas Eve in 1914 and 1915, unofficial Christmas truces began in World War I. Not only did German soldier light candles and sing Christmas carols, but also the British troops responded by singing English carols back. Both sides of soldiers exchanged greetings and sometimes even exchanged gifts on short visits.

Christmas Eve is considered to be the marking point of a start to a new holiday season. For Christians, it is a day to celebrate and remember the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. For Roman Catholics, they typically attend a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, to commemorate the start to Christmas day. Traditionally, there is now often a candle-lit service at churches on the afternoon or evening on Christmas Eve, which is considered to be a very solemn time of reflection and quiet celebration. There may be a nativity set up somewhere to look at during this service, too.

In today’s world, Christmas Eve is considered a holiday by many states and countries worldwide, and most people get a partial day or full day off of work. Many people decorate their homes and driveways with a Christmas tree, lights and more, and many put these up the day after Thanksgiving. On the evening of the 24th, many children and families will hang their stocking up on the fireplace or the end of their bed. They have hopes that Santa Claus, a mythical character thought to represent an ancient European saint, will enter their home through the chimney and fill their stocking with sweets and goodies.

How do you and your family celebrate Christmas Eve?

Merry Christmas Eve to you!

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