Yuletide Tales: Santa, Singing Mobs, and the Time Christmas Was Canceled
The origins of Christmas and its celebration over the centuries have given rise to many holiday tales.
What's the reason this is the season?
The season of Christmas, when the darkest days end and the sun starts to climbs higher, has been a natural time of celebration since long before the birth of Christ. (See also: "The World of Christmas.")
The Roman holidays that took place in mid-winter, including the raucous festival Saturnalia and, after 274 A.D., the December 25 birthday feast of the sun god Sol Invictus, are often considered direct precursors to today's Christmas holiday.
Some Saturnalia traditions, like decorating with greenery, feasting, and the giving of gifts, are certainly part of Christmas. Others, like masters serving servants, were once popular at Christmastime but have largely fallen out of favor. (Social inversion lives on in some