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Question: The practice of giving gifts at Christmas apparently became a widespread convention when?
Answer: Gift giving became a widespread Christmas tradition in the 15th century.
Question: True or False: Jesus of Nazareth was born on December 25.
Answer: No one knows the actual date of Jesus’ birth. December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by the Roman historian Sextus Julius Africanus in the early 3rd century, possibly as an association with the non-Christian Roman holiday celebrating the winter solstice and the return of longer periods of sunlight. Also, some early Christians observed Jesus’ birthday on January 6, the traditional date of his baptism.
Question: The period of preparation for observance of Christmas, marked since the 19th century by a special calendar with 24 windows that are opened one by one each day, is called…
Answer: Advent marks the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day. It was traditionally a time for reflection and penitence but evolved into a more-festive celebration of anticipation of Christmas.
Question: True or False: Christmas is observed by all Christian churches on December 25.
Answer: There is variation among churches concerning the date of Christmas. Roman Catholic and the majority of Protestant churches celebrate Christmas on December 25, according to the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on December 25, but some use the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian, and so there is a 13-day period between observances. Some Oriental Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on January 6 (the Armenian Apostolic Church) or 7 (the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church), depending upon individual church custom and liturgical calendar. Also, some Christian groups, such as Seventh-day Adventists, do not observe Christmas, because of the possible association with the non-Christian observation of the winter solstice.
Question: In which of the following countries is a mango tree, rather than a fir tree, more likely to serve as a Christmas tree?
Answer: In India a mango tree, which is indigenous to the country, is often used instead of a fir tree.
Question: Which of the following groups does not celebrate Christmas?
Answer: Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas, which they regard as having non-Christian origins.
Question: In which of the following countries is Christmas more likely to be associated with summer rather than winter?
Answer: In Brazil, the majority of which is in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas occurs about the time of the summer solstice rather than the winter solstice.
Question: Which of the following observances simultaneously commemorates the manifestation of the infant Jesus to the Magi and the manifestation of Christ’s divinity at his baptism—and also in most Western churches traditionally marks the conclusion of the Twelve Days of Christmas?
Answer: Epiphany is traditionally observed in most Western churches on January 6 and in many Orthodox churches on January 19.
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