Friday, December 23, 2011

One Two Eight or Twelve Days of Christmas in the USA

In most countries Christmas is celebrated as a two-day holiday.  The second day of Christmas is sometimes called the Boxing Day.  No, it has nothing to do with fighting or the sport of boxing.  The name comes from an old tradition of giving gifts in boxes to servants by their lords.

In the USA Christmas is a one day festivity.  I still remember my first Christmas in America.  For me it so obvious that it is a 2-day celebration that it didn’t even come to my mind that I should go to work on the Second Day of Christmas.

It took some major explaining to do and the support of one of the co-workers who had relatives in Canada to convince my boss that traditionally, world-wide, Christmas is celebrated for more than one day.

Commercially, though, Christmas is stretched into an eight or even a twelve day shopping rather than religious event prior to the Holiday.  It is a borrowing from the 8 days of Hanukah tradition and the 12 days of Christmas that starts the day after Christmas, on December the 26th, and is observed by some Christian denominations.

We may think it impossible but Christmas had very harsh beginningsin the USA and was even forbidden in the early years of the European settlement and colonization in British America.  It wasn’t until the country became independent that the celebrations became legal and popular in the northern states of the American Union.

No matter how it started and the early tradition, American Christmas is a true festival of lights, Christmas trees and gift giving.  Just like in the rest of the World it is about spending time together with your family, relatives and friends (funny TV episodes).  It is about celebrating love, hope and Jesus Christ.  On the other hand, probably contrary to the most of the globe, the celebrations are widely supported by other religions including Judaism and Islam in the tradition of peaceful co-existence so typical of modern United States of America.  It is not about12 pains of Christmas (sing along funny song) but 12 days of Christmas (sing along song).

Merry Christmas!

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