Christmas Eve Celebrations
Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas. The celebration of Christmas begins on the evening of December 24. The importance of Christmas Eve in terms of popular customs is greater than that of the Day itself. On this day, the Christmas-tree is manifested in its glory; then, the Yule log is solemnly lighted in many lands; then often the most distinctive Christmas meal takes place.
The Midnight masses was originally celebrated by the Pope towards midnight in the chapel of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, before a small congregation. The celebration of mass at midnight is based on the ancient belief that Jesus was born precisely on the stroke of twelve. Solemn and impressive with the happy sound of pealing bells, with light sparkling everywhere and with hymns of joy are some of the inevitable aspect of Midnight Mass.
The Christmas tree is the greatest joy for children. The tradition of deco- rating a Christmas tree include decorations that are made of pieces of straw strung together on a thread into intricate geometrical figures, colored egg shells and pastry were used to make birds, horses, squirrels, lambs, moons, suns, stars, flowers and other figurines. Christmas trees are also decorated with apples, fir or pine cones, nuts and paper cuttings.
Christmas Eve is the day for family reunions. Many Christians traditionally celebrate a Midnight mass at midnight on Christmas Eve, marking the beginning of Christmas Day. Other churches hold Candlelight service which is typically held earlier in the evening. It is also seen as the night when Santa Claus or his international variants, make their rounds giving gifts to good children.