25 December 2009, Friday, 14:15
author: Eugene Rakhimkulov
Catholic and Protestant communities of our countries celebrate the most important Christian holiday today –Christmas – together with their coreligionists all over the world.
The history of Christmas, celebrated in more than 100 countries, traces back to the IV century. The question concerning real birthday of Jesus Christ is very debatable and now it is difficult to say why the choice fell on December 25. Perhaps it is connected with the fact that citizens of the Roman Empire celebrated the pagan festival in the honor of the God Saturn. Saturnalia were a sort of an analogue to modern Christmas and the New Year, united into one whole. It is quite probably that once the pagan tradition simply turned into the Christian one the Saturnalia was changed with the Christmas.
The Christmas has five pre-festive days (December 20-24) and six post-festive ones. Christmas services are held three times: in the midnight, at dawn and in a daytime and that symbolizes the Christmas in the lap of the Godfather, in the lap of the Godmother and in the soul of every Christian.
In total complexity there are about 2,1 billion Christians in the world today and for the majority of them December 25 is considered one of the main Christian holidays together with the Easter. In Russia mainly the natives of Western European countries, either settled in Russia or found here at work, form the congregation of both Catholic and Protestant churches. According to the sociological survey about 6% of Russians intend to celebrate Christmas today. And Orthodox Christians, whose number is about 200 million in the world, will celebrate Christmas in accordance with the Julian calendar on January 7.