HowChristmas has been changing over time
Culturehas been changing over time so that the traditional practices havebeen transforming to conform to socio-cultural changes in thesociety. Indeed, there are various examples of this socialtransformation. The Christmas, a popular Christian festival conductedto mark the birth of Jesus Christ, which is often held on every 25thof December, is one of the notable examples of transformations.
Christmashas always been a popular nostalgic time among many Christianfamilies, communities, and races across the world. However, manycritics believe that the present day Christmas does not quiteresemble the past celebrations, save that it is held on 25th ofDecember, every year. Generational transformations have played asignificant role in changing the outlook of Christmas (Wheeler 12).
Ithas been asserted that the Christmas celebration traditions underwentmajor remodeling in the 19th century, much of which was attributed tothe Victorian marriage to the Germany prince, and this change wasaimed at accommodating the society at the time. The Victoriansfestivals, as opposed to the Christmas celebrations, were centered onthe community indulgence. Hearths, bonfires, and firesides wouldcharacterize the celebrations. Presents were also offered, andpleasantries exchanged between community members. However, after themarriage, several elements of the Germany traditional practices werealso blended in such as the hunting games.
Thechanges have been happening over time, with every Christian communityinventing it own. Typically, in contrast to the past, the hearths,bonfires, and firesides have disappeared in many Christmasfestivities. Furthermore, presents offered have either drasticallychanged or are no longer existent. To a great extent, technologicaltransformations have played a significant. For example, the railwayset presents that were offered in the 19th century have been replacedby computer games. Instead of engaging in outdoor leisurelyactivities with other children in the neighborhood, the presentgenerations of children now prefer to stay indoors and play computergames or watch movies (Iris 13). In essence, the VictorianInnovations only paved the way for transformations.
Accordingto Wheeler, some elements in the past have been retained, althoughothers are being incorporated, and this is particular for the case ofpresents and meals shared. Examples of festivity practices by theexisting communities that were evident in the past include theexchange of cards, the crackers and the tree, and sharing of familymeals and cherish of the Santa Claus offers. However, while thepresent generations preferred cooked meals, the current generationsare going for fast foods, too. The messages on the cards are alsodifferent. In the older celebration, presents included cards withimages that depicted the stagecoaches, thatched cottages, hospitalsquires, manor houses, and ruddy-faced proprietors, but the currentcards may have engraved words and pictures of cars and popularfigures, and other possessions fancied by the pop culture (Shoemakerand Lewis 14). Many contemporary celebrations have offered differentinterpretations for a meaning of Christmas festivity, for example,according to Cochrane and Robertson, Christmas is celebrated to showaffection, humanity, and love for one another. However, for thepresent generation, it means just having fun to please oneself.
Theynote that the old Christmas was both wonderful and enjoyable, and waslengthy in terms of merry celebrations that accompanied them.Moreover, these festivities were mainly considered an affair for theadult persons, not just children (Cochrane and Robertson 12). Thetransformation has happened to the Christmas tradition since the 18thcentury to date in the sense that, in contrast to the past, it isshort-lived. Some people do it for just a day and opt to return towork just after that day, contrasting with the past when people wouldspend several weeks celebrating. Various traditions that used toaccompany the old celebrations, for example, the open-heartedhospitality, the squire, bawdy cultures of the country people andaristocratic behaviors have faded and are no longer practiced by thecurrent generations.
Therehas also been a change in the perspectives concerning the essence ofChristmas to Christians. Some communities, for example, the Puritans,have regarded the occasion as an unnecessary popish practice thatdoes not have a place in the ideal Christian standing. In light ofthis view, the festivals have had little appeal for most of thepeople in the township areas. This trend is now extending to thevillages and countryside regions, where people are no longer engagingin charitable activities. For instance, the picturesque morsels fromgothic architecture have been excluded in most parts of the England.New items such as cards have been adopted as Christmas presents inthe new era festivals (Kelly and Michael 93).
However,conservative areas, Christmas celebrations have been carried out inthe old style of the 17-century (Shoemaker and Lewis 72). The decayof Christmas festival traditions over the years has led to changes inpeoples` perception concerning various materials and items thatexchanged during the old Christmas as a mere imaginativereconstruction of ancient traditions and customs, rather thanportraying the contemporary Christian perspective.
Christmashas changed in the sense that it is now more of a family andchildren-centered affair, rather than a communal one. As Kelly andMichael (2) explain, its traditional social stature has changed.Toa great extent, the society now perceives it as a time for familiesto get together, and the time to buy some gifts for members. Thethinking that Christmas is a time for children to party is nowbecoming popular. Parents are now opting to take their families toleisurely outdoor activities such as visiting the animal orphanageand spending time at hotels and recreational parks. This practicecontrasts with the past in which the festival meant time for thecommunity to get together. Traditionally, people who had leftvillages to travel to urban areas would ensure that the festivityfinds them in their villages. They would gather and enjoy feaststogether. As Cochrane and Robertson (12) explain, Christmascelebration would be the time for the old friends to unite and sharetheir past, nostalgic experiences. It would also be the time forpeople to socialize and create new friends. People would dedicatetheir agricultural harvests to charity, sharing the surpluses withthe poor members of the community.
Ronald(23) offers the view of the change in the Christmas practices when hereminisces how ‘Christmas was Christmas` in those days, focusing onwhat it meant for the traditional Spanish communities. He describeshow people would come together to enjoy pleasantries, how they wouldprepare Orujo, keeping pride and treasuring their recipe formula.Even the monasteries would also distill the wine and serve it duringthe Christmas, a practice that had existed since time immemorial.Ceremonies would be held, and the prize would be given to thedistillers with the best-tasting samples. Unfortunately, thispractice has changed significantly, and people no longer gather toenjoy the drink during the Christmas festivities. Those who stillcherish the taste of the wine prefer to buy it and enjoy it while athome, behind the closed doors.
Traditionalpractices are changing from time to time. One of the elements ofchange is that the festival is now family and children centered, andno longer, community focused as it was in the past. Christmasfestivity would be the time for the old friends to unite and sharetheir past, nostalgic experiences. However, this is no longer thecase — Christmas is now merely a family affair. The second elementis that people are no longer engaging in charitable activities as itwas in the past. While it would have been expected that Christianswere supposed to show love for one another, people are now taking itas a time to refresh. Lastly, even perspectives concerning the placeof Christmas have been changed. Some communities, for example, thePuritans, have regarded the occasion as an unnecessary popishpractice that does not have a place in the ideal Christian standing.
Cochrane,Robertson. Wordplay:origins, meanings, and usage of the English language.University of Toronto Press, 2012. Print
Iris, E."The History of Christmas Cards". Inverloch HistoricalSociety Inc. Press.2013.Print.
Kelly,Michael. ChristmasCarol.New York: Broadview Press, 2013. Print
Ronald, H . (2013)Stationsof the Sun: The Ritual Year in England.Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013.Print.
Shoemaker,Lewis. Christmasin Pennsylvania: a folk-cultural study.Stackpole Books Press, 2014. Print
Wheeler, J. Christmasin my heart,Volume 10. Review and Herald Pub Assoc. 2012. Print