The Chrismologist's Advent Calendar - Day 8

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Every year more than 400 million people celebrate Christmas around the globe, which makes it one of the biggest religious and commercial festivities in the world.

But have you ever wondered why Christmas is so often shortened to Xmas?

In fact, the practice dates back further than you might suspect, ans has nothing to do with devaluing the Christian festival, as many people believe. In reality, both Christ and Christmas have been abbreviated for at least 1,000 years. The word Christ appears in Medieval documents as both 'XP' and 'Xt' and can even be found in this form in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle from 1021. By why were those particular letters used?

To find out more, pick up your copy of Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas or What is Myrrh Anyway? time for the festive season. After all, there's only 16 days to go until Christmas! (Or should that be Xmas?)

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