Submitted by ub on Wed, 12/25/2013 - 01:12

Christmas is a sacred religious holiday, a global cultural and a commercial phenomenon. For many years, people all over the world have been observing Christmas with traditions and practices that are religious and secular in nature.

Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of this religion. Popular customs include exchanging presents, Christmas trees, attending religious services, sharing meals with family and friends and waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

The end of December is a perfect time for this most holy celebration. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh food. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.

The winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the birth of Jesus, many celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. People rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.