Christmas Eve Traditions 12-24
简介：平安夜（Silent Night），即圣诞前夕（Christmas Eve，12月24日），在大部分基督教国家是圣诞节节日之一，但现在，由于中西文化的融合，已成为世界性的一个节日。平安夜传统上是摆设圣诞树的日子，但随着圣诞节的庆祝活动提早开始进行，例如美国在感恩节后，不少圣诞树早在圣诞节前数星期已被摆设。延伸发展至今平安夜不仅是指12月24日晚了，指的是圣诞前夕，特指12月24日全天，但由于一般节日氛围在晚上容易调动起来，大型活动都集中在晚上，固被称作平安夜，更加贴切。届时，千千万万的欧美人风尘仆仆地赶回家中团聚。圣诞之夜必不可少的庆祝活动就是聚会。大多数欧美家庭成员团聚在家中，共进丰盛的晚餐，然后围坐在熊熊燃烧的火炉旁，弹琴唱歌，共叙天伦之乐；或者举办一个别开生面的化妆舞会，通宵达旦地庆祝圣诞夜是一个幸福、祥和、狂欢的平安夜、团圆夜。期待着圣诞节的到来，据说圣诞之夜，圣诞老人会悄悄地给孩子们准备礼物放在长筒袜里。
Christmas Eve is the evening before Christmas Day, the widely celebrated annual holiday. It occurs on December 24 in Western Christianity and the secular world, and is considered one of the most culturally significant celebrations in Christendom and Western society, where it is widely observed, by Christians and by many others, as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day.
Christmas celebrations have long begun on the night of the 24, due in part to the Christian liturgical day starting at sunset, a practice inherited from Jewish tradition and based on the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis: "And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day." Many churches still ring their church bells and hold prayers in the evening; for example, the Nordic Lutheran churches. Since tradition holds that Jesus was born at night (based in Luke 2:6-8), Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve, traditionally at midnight, in commemoration of his birth. The idea of Jesus being born at night is reflected in the fact that Christmas Eve is referred to as Heilige Nacht (Holy Night) in German, Nochebuena (the Good Night) in Spanish and similarly in other expressions of Christmas spirituality, such as the song "Silent Night, Holy Night".
Many other varying cultural traditions and experiences are also associated with Christmas Eve around the world, including the gathering of family and friends, the singing of Christmas carols, the illumination and enjoyment of Christmas lights, trees, and other decorations, the wrapping and/or opening of gifts, and general preparation for Christmas Day. Legendary Christmas gift-bearing figures including Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christkind, and Saint Nicholas are also often said to depart for their annual journey to deliver presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve, although until the Protestant introduction of Christkind in 16th-century Europe, such figures were said to instead deliver presents on the eve of Saint Nicholas' feast day (December 6).
重点解析 Key Phrases/Words
1. occur (v.) 发生，出现，存在
2. Western Christianity 西方基督教(拉丁语:Ecclesiae Occidentales)
3. secular (adj. ) 现世的，俗界的;长期的，长久的;不朽的;一世纪一次的
4. Christendom and Western society 基督教和西方社会
5. in anticipation of 期待着…；预计到…
6. due in part to 因为...的原因
7. liturgical (adj.) 正礼拜仪式的
8. Jewish tradition 犹太传统
9. in commemoration of (adv.) 纪念
10. varying (adj.) 不同的，变化的
11. be associated with 和...联系在一起，与...有关
12. illumination (n.) 照明;阐明，解释清楚;物照度;彩饰，图案花饰
13. Santa Claus 圣诞老人
14. depart for (v.) 出发去（某地）
15. deliver (v.) 发表;递送;交付;
16. Protestant (n.) 新教教徒 (adj.) 新教教徒的;新教的
17. Saint Nicholas' feast day 圣尼古拉斯节（每年的12月6日是欧洲传统的“圣·尼古拉斯日“（St. Nikolas day）。传说每年的这一天，尼古拉斯都会给孩子们带来糖果和小礼物，而他的随从克拉普斯（Krampus）则会惩罚那些这一年中做了坏事的孩子。）