Thursday, December 22, 2005

HistoryPodcast 39 - History of Christmas

Christmas is a traditional Christian festival marking the birth of Jesus. Most, although not all, Christians observe this festival on December 25th. However, Christmas is now celebrated as a holiday by many people and cultures besides Christians, and indeed many Christmas traditions originated with pre-Christian observances that were subsumed into Christianity (e.g. Saturnalia, Yule or the Winter Solstice).

In predominantly Christian countries, Christmas has become the most economically significant holiday of the year, and it is also celebrated as a secular holiday in many countries with small Christian populations like Japan. It is largely characterized by gifts being exchanged within families and being brought by Santa Claus, Father Christmas or by other mythical figures. Local and regional Christmas traditions are still rich and varied, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs disseminated by globalisation, popular literature, television, and other media.

The word Christmas is a contraction of Christ's Mass, derived from the Old English Cristes maesse. It is often abbreviated Xmas, the X originates from the Greek letter X (chi) which has often historically been used as an abbreviation for Christ.

HistoryPodcast 39 - Christmas.mp3 22:06 - 20.4MB

Related Links:

Wikipedia's Christmas Entry

History Channel's

Christmas website

A Christmas Carol Podcast From Penguin Books

History of Christmas from History News Network

Santa's Podcast

Related Books:

Inventing Christmas : How Our Holiday Came to Be -- by Jock


Christmas in America : A History -- by Penne L.


Songs Played this Episode:

Number One Fan - Christmas is here

gidgets ga ga - Christmas Wish

Natalie Brown - Jingle Bells - Public Domain Carol

Geoff Smith - My Own Merry Christmas

Matthew Ebel - Christmas 2004 Live - Walk A Thousand Miles

Jill Parr - Do You Hear What I Hear

TV Listings

History Channel

Saturday 24
7-8pm History of Christmas

Sunday 25
8-10pm Modern Marvels: DisneyWorld
10-11pm Giganto: The Real King Kong

Tuesday 27
8-10pm Nostradamus 500 Years Later
10-12am Hell: The Devil's Domain

Thursday 29
Meteors: Fire in the Sky

History Channel International

Friday 23
9:30-10pm History Viewpoint: What the Romans did for us

Sunday 25
8-9pm Line of Fire: Waterloo

Monday 26
7-7:30pm Almanac: History's Turning Points: The Rise of the Mob
7:30-8pm Almanac: History's Turning Points: The Television Explosion
8-9pm The worst jobs in history: The Stuarts

Wednesday 28
10:30-11pm History Explorer: What the Tudors did for us: The Applyance of Science

Thursday 29
9-10pm World Justice: Cover Up: Attack on the USS Liberty

Monday 26
American Experience: Transcontinental Railroad

Discovery Channel
Tuesday 27
10-11pm MythBusters: Confederate Rocket