The night before Christmas
December 24, 2017
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The holiday season has already arrived and plans have already been made all across the globe to bring in the celebrations for the end of the year. This week long holiday showcases one of the biggest extravaganza of culture and happiness all around around the globe. Many who know about the Christmas Day and the New year’s Eve, are unaware that there are various other festivities within the week long fiesta.

Every year, all across the world, 24th of December is celebrated as the eve of Christmas- the holy night before Jesus of Nazareth or popularly known as Jesus Christ and is generally a holiday for people to enjoy in anticipation to the Christmas Day which is celebrated on the 25th of December every year. Both Christendom and Western culture have great cultural and religious significance of both the days, and the tradition has also spread its wings into Asian and African countries as well.

Traditionally, Jesus Christ was born on the midnight of 25th of December and hence every year various churches around the world organize Midnight Mass or midnight processions and celebrate the Christmas day with traditional delicacies like sarma, bob chorba (bean soup), fortune kravai, Réveillon and many more, accompanied with pastries, chocolates and wine.

Christmas eve celebrations also referred to as Heilige Nacht (Holy Night) in German, Nochebuena (the Good Night) in Spanish and similarly in other expressions of Christmas spirituality, such as the song “Silent Night, Holy Night”, unites many different cultures to bring together the entire world into the groove of happiness during Christmas. Various countries have their own different touch of celebrating the festival. For example people in Bulgaria believe in fasting during the entire day of the 24th and breaking it by drinking wine at midnight, while some traditions in Poland only allow to have odd number of dishes during the celebration feast that too divided for various class of society. But one thing which is common within all the different traditions across the globe, feeling of peace remains the same every where.

24th of December or the Christmas Eve day is also significant, not only because of the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but also because of the various events that have happened on this day in the past, some of which are-

The Christmas Truce

During World War I in 1914 and 1915 there was an unofficial Christmas truce, particularly between British and German troops. The truce began on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (“Silent Night”). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols. The two sides shouted Christmas greetings to each other

Apollo 8 reading of the Genesis

On 24 December 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast to that date, the astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman of Apollo 8 surprised the world with a reading of the Creation from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon.

Nevertheless, it is important for us to remember that a festival is celebrated only to bring people together, sit down observe and celebrate culture, history, peace, kindness and above all love towards each other. So despite whatever schedule you have or whatever are your plans for the holiday, do spend some time with your loved ones, and make good memories this Christmas.

-Gaurav Dasgupta

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