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三軒茶屋校ブログ

なぜ私たちはクリスマスにプレゼントをするのか?

2016.12.20

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藤沢の主任教師がみなさまに英語や異文化の知識をおすそわけ!英語の記事、読み解けますか?「この英語はどういう意味なの?」そう思ったら藤沢ランゲージセンターに遊びに来て、是非教師や日本人カウンセラーに聞いてみてください。それでは読解にチャレンジ!

Why Do We Give Gifts at Christmas?

It is hard to imagine celebrating Christmas in the modern world without thinking about giving gifts. The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world.  But, have you ever thought to yourself, “Why do we give gifts at Christmas?” In some ways, the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is a very ancient tradition. In other ways, giving gifts at Christmas is a relatively new development, as well.

A History of Giving

Christmas was celebrated by early Christians in the Roman empire, at a time when the Romans celebrated Saturnalia (Click the blue links for more information). Gift giving was common in the celebration of Saturnalia , an ancient festival which took place in late December and may have influenced Christmas customs. 


As a result, in the Christian religion, the practice of giving gifts at Christmas is traced back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that were given to the Christ child by the three Magi

The Gift of the Magi - 賢者の贈り物

"They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincenseand myrrh." - 

家の中に入ると,その母マリアと共にいる幼子を見,ひれ伏して彼を拝んだ。自分たちの宝箱を開いて,金と乳香と没《もつ》薬を贈り物としてささげた。 - 電網聖書『マタイによる福音書 2:11』




 The magi were kings from the East, wise men who traveled a great distance following a star, to find the Christ child and to bring him gifts. The visit of the Magi to the Christ child was originally celebrated on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. Over time, the tradition of giving gifts came to be more associated with Christmas than with Epiphany. It is the time from Christmas to Epiphany in the Church calendar – from December 25th through January 6th – that is recognized as the “twelve days of Christmas” from the old Christmas carol. 

a Christian feast called Epiphany - 主顕節という,キリスト教の祝日

a Christmas carol - クリスマスを祝う歌

 
To be certain, the ancient Church did not “celebrate” Christmas as much as it “observed” Christmas as a holy day. It wasn’t really until the modern era that the tradition of giving gifts to loved ones at Christmas became more and more popular. Various countries and peoples began to make gift-giving a regular part of the holy day (or “holiday”) over a period of time. By the time the Americas were settled, giving gifts at Christmas was practiced by many of the settlers. The early Dutch settlers to America introduced St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, to the new world. The early French and English settlers, in contrast, were more likely to give gifts at New Year’s or at Epiphany.



Ultimately, a common Christmas culture developed in which gifts were given on Christmas. In the 19th century, the idea of gift giving became more popular, as the works of Charles Dickens, and Thomas Nast all helped to shape our concepts of Santa Clausand other aspects of the holiday.

Today's Traditions

Today, we all give gifts at Christmas for our own reasons. For some, it is a way to celebrate the Christian holy day. For others, it is a special time to let family and friends know that you care by giving gifts. Why don't you give yourself the gift of a new language this year?  Now is a great time to sign up for classes at Berlitz.  Check out our Winter Campaign!

 


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