Archbishop Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Vrhbosna said at a Christmas reception hosted in Sarajevo on Thursday that Christmas celebrate God who was born as a child, to bring man closer to God, to man himself and his companions on earth.
So, as he congratulates Christmas, he added that it is “creating an atmosphere of trust, openness and respect for our diversity and equality.”
Numerous guests attended the Christmas reception, including BiH Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic and Presidency Member Sefik Dzaferovic, Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly and SDA President Bakir Izetbegovic, BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic, Federal Prime Minister Fadil Novalic, and representatives other levels of government in BiH, the diplomatic corps, religious communities and long-serving officials.
“We are particularly concerned about the law on the restitution of confiscated property, which in the meantime, while our property is being disposed of, reposted and sold without the consent of the owner, at this moment I am speaking on behalf of the Church. When the state provides what kind of help it is not a charity but a debt repayment, because it has been using our property for so many years, especially since it has built many buildings on our land, and when we need a location we have to buy that land,” said Cardinal Puljic.
Christmas is a unique event of birth of God-Man that the Christian world is celebrating since ancient times, and the word Christmas is a diminutive word of God and the original name of the child Jesus, who was later applied to the feast of the Day of his birth.
As from the very early days, Christians were considering Jesus’ birth as the beginning of the new year. In the period of renewed Western Roman Empire, the beginning of the new year was on the Christmas day almost throughout the whole Europe.
Church adopted the 1st of January as New Year in 1691.
Christmas is primarily a biblical event. From the 5thcentury, are three Masses are celebrated on the feast of Christmas: Midnight Mass, Matins or Shepherd Mass (on dawn) and the third is the Christmas Mass during the day.
As a Christian holiday, Christmas is celebrated in every nation in a special way and it is part of their cultural heritage. In some areas where Croats live, Christmas preparation start already on the day of St. Catherine (25th of November) and it lasts for a month. It is called “advent” and it is a time of preparation for the arrival of the birth of Jesus Christ, and it consists of 4 weeks just before Christmas which symbolize four thousand years, as it passed from the creation of the world until Christ came, according to Bible.
Today, the tradition of bringing the Yule log and spreading straw under the holiday table on the eve of Christmas almost disappeared in the villages.
The Croats did not decorate the Christmas tree until 1850, although this was practice in German regions since the 16th century, and it is interesting that the first Christmas trees were deciduous.