12 Christmas Traditions That You Can Not Imagine What They Mean

All Christmas traditions are deeply rooted in Christian beliefs. They have been transmitted for centuries from generation to generation and, therefore, sometimes it can happen that, although we practice them regularly, we have forgotten what their true meaning, origin, history and reason for being are.

Put the Christmas tree

put up christmas tree

The Christmas tree is based on the tree of life myth from Norse mythology. This myth was used by Saint Boniface in the 8th century, evangelizer of Germany, to introduce Christian worship among the peoples of northern Europe. Initially it consisted of an evergreen pine or fir tree, symbolizing God’s eternal love, adorned with apples, reminiscent of original sin, and candles, representing the light that Christ brought to the world. Today, apples have been replaced by balls and candles by lights. Tradition indicates that it should be worn during Advent.

See also Christmas tree.

ride the birth


The nativity, also called a crib, manger or portal, is the representation of the birth of Jesus. The first representations date back to the 5th century, although it is considered that one of the most important engines for its popularization was Saint Francis of Assisi. The purpose of the nativity scene is to remind people of the humble circumstances in which Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The traditional thing is to put a nativity scene at home with Joseph and Mary in the center of the scene witnessing the arrival of Christ.

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See also Manger.

send christmas cards

Christmas card

Christmas cards are a tradition that started in schools in England, where students were asked to write about Christmas before the winter holidays. Later, in the 19th century, cards became popular and began to be used to wish our loved ones a Merry Christmas.

See also Christmas.

Decorate with poinsettia flowers

poinsettia flower 2

The Christmas Eve flower is a plant with carmine red leaves, which was originally used by the Mexicas, in Mexico, in rituals as a symbol of purity and new life of dead warriors. But in the 19th century, Joel Robert Poinsett, an American diplomat stationed in Mexico, discovered it and exported it to the United States, where it became popular and spread to the rest of the world as a Christmas ornamental plant, due to the similarity of its colors.

See also Poinsettia Flower.

celebrate the inns

Posadas are popular festivals that begin nine days before Christmas. They consist of a representation of the path of Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary looking for a place to stay before the birth of the Child Jesus. Posadas are processions where Christmas carols are sung and candles are lit, ending at the home of one of the participants. The celebration can be family or intimate, or include neighbors and the rest of the community. It is a very popular tradition in Mexico.

Break piñatas


Piñatas came to America during the evangelization process. The piñata most used by the friars was the one with seven peaks, which represented the seven deadly sins. To break it, it was necessary to use virtue and strength, the only weapons to defeat the temptations and thus obtain the rewards (the gifts of God), which were the sweets that were inside. Today, piñatas are used in Mexico during Christmas celebrations to remind us of this lesson.

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Sing carols

Christmas carols

Carols are Christmas theme songs. The first were composed by the evangelists of the fifth century to, through music, tell the peasants and shepherds who did not know how to read about the birth of Jesus Christ. Listening to them in Advent is said to help prepare our hearts for the event of Christmas.

See also Christmas carols.

Go to the pastorelas

Pastorelas are theatrical performances that recount the moment in which the birth of the Child Jesus is announced to the shepherds, and they come to honor his arrival. Apart from the religious content, they are usually seasoned, too, with humor and satirical allusions to current social or political events.

hang socks


The tradition of hanging socks in the fireplace has its origin in a legend of Saint Nicholas of Bari, who, according to legend, knew of a very poor man who did not have a dowry to marry off his daughters. St. Nicholas, then, secretly slipped into his house one day and slipped gold coins into the socks that were hanging to dry on the fireplace. Since then, it is said that the gifts that appear in the socks are the ones that are authentically put by Santa Claus.

eat as a family

christmas food

Celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve with a large family banquet, with the typical dishes and drinks of the time, is part of the Christian traditions. Making a hearty dinner symbolizes the abundance that Christ brings into our lives with his arrival.

Wait for the arrival of Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, is the character that traditionally brings gifts to well-behaved children almost everywhere in the world. The legend of him originates from that of Saint Nicholas of Bari, a Christian bishop who lived in Anatolia, present-day Turkey, in the fourth century, and who was revered for his miracles and his generosity.

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Exchange gifts

christmas gifts

Exchanging gifts at Christmas is a way of expressing our affection towards our loved ones. The tradition, however, can be traced back to Ancient Rome, where, during the Saturnian festivities, gifts were offered to children at the end of the celebrations. Today the tradition of exchanging gifts serves to remember the gift that God gave us in his son Jesus Christ.

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