Origin of Word Christmas

Christmas, the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated generally on December 25.


We all celebrate Christmas every year irrespective of whether we are Christain or not. Here we have an interesting piece of information about the origin of the word Christmas.

The origin of the word Christmas can be traced back a thousand years. The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ, first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe, in 1131.

We also call Christmas as Xmas as the letter X (chi) is the first letter in the Greek word for Christ which is Khrīstos (Χριστός).

The exact date of the Nativity is not known, but even in pre-Christian times the period between December 25 and January 6 was considered a special time of year – now known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

The idea to celebrate Christmas on December 25 originated in the 4th century. The Catholic Church wanted to eclipse the festivities of a rival pagan religion that threatened Christianity’s existence. The Romans celebrated the birthday of their sun god, Mithras during this time of year. Although it was not popular, or even proper, to celebrate people’s birthdays in those times, church leaders decided that in order to compete with the pagan celebration they would themselves order a festival in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Although the actual date of birth of Jesus is not known, the date of December 25 was chosen as the official birthday celebration as Christ’s Mass so that it would compete head on with the rival pagan celebration.