Birth of Jesus Christ
History of Christmas
The word Christmas originated as a compound noun "Christ's Mass" which means the holy mass for Christ. Christmas or Christmas Day is a holiday, generally observed on December 25th commemorating the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, also one of the great prophets, being mentioned as Isa in the holy Qur’an. The exact birthday of Jesus is not known, and historians place his year of birth sometime between 2 BC and 7 BC. Narratives of his birth are included in two of the Canonical gospels in the New Testament. And December 25th has been the frontrunner for eighteen centuries. Without more evidence, there seems no good reason to change the celebration date now. We can blame the ancient church for a large part of this uncertainty because they did not celebrate the birth of Christ at all. To them, it was insignificant. They were far more concerned with his alleged death.
Apart from the Bible, Jesus is also mentioned in the holy Qur’an (7th century AD), with some similarities and differences. The holy Qur’an accepts Jesus as a prophet, a messenger sent by God, and as "Word" of God without definition, and a "spirit of God" "created like Adam". In the holy Qur’an Jesus is looked at "like Adam", who was created from earth; and speaks about a messenger sent from God's Spirit to give birth to Jesus [who speaks?? Please clarify]. The Christian version similarly reports the angel announcing Jesus' birth by the Holy Spirit to the Virgin Mary. Further, the holy Qur’an states, that Jesus has been strengthened with the spirit of holiness.
Birth of Jesus Christ
According to a popular tradition, the birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals, though neither the stable nor the animals are specifically mentioned in the Biblical accounts. [Only mention such stuff if you are completely sure of the authenticity of what you are saying] However, a manger is mentioned in Luke 2:7, where it states, "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Early iconographic representations of the nativity placed the animals and manger within a cave (located, according to the tradition, under the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem). Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. The Gospel of Matthew also describes a visit by several Magi, or astrologers, who bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus. The visitors- who are believed to be astrologers from the eastern lands, and many believe they came from the land of Persia- were said to be following a mysterious star, commonly known as the Star of Bethlehem, believing it to announce the birth of Jesus. The commemoration of this visit, the Feast of Epiphany celebrated on January 6, is the formal end of the Christmas season in some churches.
Celebration of Christmas Day
Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in many countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. In some non-Christian countries, periods of former colonial rule introduced the celebration; in others, Christian minorities or foreign cultural influences have led populations to observe the holiday. Countries such as Japan and Korea, where Christmas is popular despite their small Christian population, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations and Christmas trees. Notable countries in which Christmas is not a formal public holiday include People's Republic of China, (except Hong Kong and Macao), Japan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Thailand, Nepal, Iran, Turkey and North Korea. Christmas celebrations around the world can vary markedly in form, reflecting differing cultural and national traditions.
Among countries with a strong Christian tradition, a variety of Christmas celebrations have developed that incorporate regional and local cultures. For Christians, participating in a religious service plays an important part in the recognition of the season. Christmas, along with Easter, is the period of highest annual church attendance. In Catholic countries, the people hold religious processions or parades in the days preceding Christmas. In other countries, secular processions or parades featuring Santa Claus and other seasonal figures are often held. Family reunions and the exchange of gifts is a widespread feature of the season. In most countries giving gifts takes place on Christmas day.
The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. From pre-Christian times, people in the Roman Empire brought branches from evergreen plants indoors in the winter and decorating with greenery were also part of tradition. The traditional colors of Christmas are green and red, while white, silver and gold are also popular. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was allegedly shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter.
History of Christmas Cards
Christmas cards are illustrated messages of greeting exchanged between friends and family members during the weeks before Christmas Day. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", much like that of the first commercial Christmas card, produced by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843. The custom of sending them has become popular among a wide cross-section of people with the emergence of the modern trend towards exchanging E-cards. Christmas cards are purchased in considerable quantities, and feature artwork, commercially designed and relevant to the season. The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem, or a white dove which can represent both the Holy Spirit and Peace on Earth.
Tradition of Giving Gifts
The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making the Christmas season the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place in late December and may have influenced Christmas customs. Christmas gift giving was banned by the Catholic Church in the middle Ages due to its suspected pagan origins. It was later rationalized by the Church on the basis that it associated St. Nicholas with Christmas, and that gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were given to the infant Jesus by the Biblical Magi.
Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) was born in the year 570 CE (53 years before the Hijrah) in the town of Mecca, a town in the high desert plateau of western Arabia. His name derives from the Arabic verb Hamada, meaning "to praise, to glorify."
Most of the works of Al-Biruni are in Arabic although he wrote one of his masterpieces, the Kitab al-Tafhim apparently in both Persian and Arabic, showing his mastery over both languages.
White Cane Day, as an international awareness raising event, celebrates the importance of the white cane and promotes a safe environment for long cane users
Imam Ali al-Naghi (a.s.) known as Imam Hadi – the tenth leader of Shia Muslims – was born on the 15th of Zul-Hajja, 212 AH. His father – Imam Javad (a.s.)
"...l hope people everywhere will join in observing this Day (Nowruz). At a time of crisis, upheaval and change, including in the very regions where the holiday is rooted, let the spirit of Nowruz prevail."