Christianity and Winter Festivals

Across Europe, Roman, German or Celtic festivals marked the beginning of winter. Christianity originated and expanded in the ancient world by promising a new life, and by announcing a new light to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Little by little, a calendar of religious festivals was established from the IVth century, replacing ancient rituals and pagan celebrations.

Christmas is the festival of the Nativity and commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ in the Christian liturgy the night of December 24 to 25. Contemporary France and Canada have not forgotten past traditions and still keep the practices and beliefs associated with the Christmas festival alive.

As for the meaning of the word Noël, it could have three origins:

a Judaic origin;
a religious Latin origin, linked to Dies natalis (the birthday of Christ);
more controversially, a Celtic origin derived from the Gaulish word novo (new) and hel (sun) corresponding to the winter solstice.
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