Christmas eve or day?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #15807


    Something I've been wondering about for a while, have a half formed theory about but never got a clear answer on.As has been made abundantly clear I'm of french descent. For years now we have always celebrated Christmas more on the eve than on the day. We have family over for a large and long dinner and open our presents in the evening of the 24th. The 25th is usually a more reserved affair where you eat leftovers and, if you have them, let the kids play with their new toys (and, if you have nothing better to do, seemingly write random questions on history websites).This is different to my English friends who always seem to go drinking together on the eve and have their family gathering on Christmas Day.This may partly have something to do with the fact the French do not celebrate Boxing Day and should be going back to work. Resting the day before after the festivities seems like a good idea. Also i suspect the schism between Catholicism and Protestantism might be involved somehow. My mother tells me she was told it was so the French could go to Midnight Mass but the story is a little unclear.I'm just curious what really brought about these different systems in the first place. Which one was first? Who broke from tradition and why? When did it happen?Thanks and i hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas wherever you are and whenever you celebrate it.Frenchie aka Alex

  • #18924


    Very interesting maybe something Jamie can cover in an episode next year closer to next Christmas?

  • #18925


    Off the top of my head, I'd guess that the day was holier than the eve.  After all, it's Christ's Mass.  Just like the feast of All Hallows was more important originally than the Eve of the Feast of All Hallows (but now Halloween is more popular).That being said, it's hard to say what is the holier of the days because it wasn't until 440 that we settled on December 25.  Before then, it was all over the calendar.  So who knows when Jesus was actually born!  ;)

  • #18926


    Thats a very interesting question Alex, and something I have thought of in passing over christmas' past. I always found the idea of opening christmas presents on christmas eve strange, particuarly as Santa hasnt visited yet! In my family, we tend to have 3 days of gatherings-christmas eve is usually with friends (our tradition is having cold seafood & salads-really missed that this year in wintery London!), then the family gathering, gift giving & giant lunch on christmas day and lastly, boxing day where we just stay at home, eat left overs & relax (and tease my sister who once asked if we were going to the boxing, that joke never dies!)

  • #18927


    MY wife is Spanish and in her city, Sevilla, families have the drinks/meal together on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is Church, then a immediate family meal then a coffee and cake session. Presents aren't done until 6 January on the celebration of Los Reyes Magos. The Three Kings. This represents the three kings reaching Jesus with the gifts. To give them early seems strange to the Spanish, although most modern families seem to do mini-Santa presents for the kiddies!Actually that seems to make more sense to me than Santa.

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