Q:

How do Catholics celebrate Christmas?

A:

Quick Answer

Catholics celebrate Christmas by attending mass on the holy days of obligation on Christmas day (December 25th) and on Mother Mary's feast day (January 1st), as well as celebrating with Advent candles, nativity scenes and family celebrations. Many Catholics may also choose to put up a Christmas tree and hang Christmas lights.

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Full Answer

In the time leading up to Christmas, the Catholic Church celebrates advent. Advent is a necessary part of the Christmas season because it is the time when Catholics repent for their sins and perform penance. They want to be as pure as they can be when Christmas comes, in order to receive the gift of God's presence at the Christmas mass of Holy Eucharist. During Advent, there are four candles that are lit each week before Christmas.

On Christmas day, families attend church and receive the Holy Eucharist. They celebrate the birth of Christ and the church is typically decorated with a nativity scene and other lavish decorations, in stark contrast to the decoration-less advent season. There are also additional feasts that take place during the Christmas season, such as the Feast of the Holy Family, the Epiphany (also known as the Three Kings Day) and the Baptism of Our Lord. Other saints are celebrated on feast days during the season as well, including St. Francis Xavier, St. Nicholas, Blessed Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucy, St. John of the Cross, St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, the Holy Innocents and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

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Related Questions

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    Why is there Christmas?

    A:

    Christmas began as a celebration of the nativity story of Jesus in Rome in 354. It had been celebrated even earlier by Christians in the East, but they incorporated it into their Epiphany celebration on Jan. 6, which focused more on Jesus' baptism. The celebration of Christmas in Rome replaced the pagan solar festivals that occurred on Dec. 25.

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  • Q:

    When was Christmas first celebrated?

    A:

    The first recorded Christmas celebration was on December 25th 336 A.D. Just a few years later, Pope Julius I declared that Jesus' birth would be celebrated on that day every year. Since the actual date of Jesus' birth is unknown, many theories exist questioning why that day was chosen.

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    How do Australians celebrate Christmas?

    A:

    Christmas traditions in Australia closely resemble those in other countries of the British Commonwealth, although most are adjusted slightly to take advantage of the summer weather Australia enjoys in December. Christmas trees and lights are still the standard, but Christmas dinner may take the form of a barbecue on the beach instead of an enormous meal eaten indoors. Seafood is also common alongside the traditional ham and turkey.

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    Do Mormons celebrate Christmas?

    A:

    Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, do celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Mormons believe in the Christmas story as described in the gospels of the Bible. They also include an additional account from “The Book of Mormon.”

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