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Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior, the Puritans banned Christmas during the Reformation.
Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, viewing a Nativity play, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, pulling Christmas crackers and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.
In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore.
The gospels of Luke and Matthew describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary.
In Luke, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, and Jesus is born there and laid in a manger.
The feast was introduced in Constantinople in 379, in Antioch by John Chrysostom towards the end of the fourth century, There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20] ...
Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses.The economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.Angels proclaimed him a savior for all people, and shepherds came to adore him.Matthew adds that the magi follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the king of the Jews.All the major events of Christ's life, especially the passion, were celebrated on this date.In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul mentions Passover, presumably celebrated according to the local calendar in Corinth.He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase." Linking Jesus to the Sun was supported by various Biblical passages.Jesus was considered to be the "Sun of righteousness" prophesied by Malachi: "Unto you shall the sun of righteousness arise, and healing is in his wings." Such solar symbolism could support more than one date of birth.According to Steven Hijmans of the University of Alberta, "It is cosmic symbolism ...which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the southern solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the northern solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception." In modern times, March 25 is celebrated as Annunciation.