Graphic Design Course: Create a Christmas Lettering
21 days to go till this monumental event!
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful… Since we’ve no place to go, let it snow! Is there any better way of enjoying a very merry Christmas than listening to this lovely song? Get your mistletoe, your glass of champagne and your candy cane ready, as we are going to dive into the history, meaning and importance of this festivity around the world. First things first: what is Christmas? It’s a commemoration of the birth of Jesus, so it’s a very important celebration for those who are Christians. It begins the 25th of December and it’s the most familiar time of the year, don’t you think so? You want to be with your loved ones and spend some quality time with them. Inspire yourself with different resources: Freepik offers a lot of pictures, vectors, animations and even more for your personal and professional purposes.
Data extracted from the Freepik search engine from the last year.
Pine trees are perennial, so they symbolize eternal life. In addition, their triangular shape represents the Holy Trinity. At the beginning of this tradition, it was adorned with apples (a Christian symbol for temptation) and candles that represent divine grace. It all began during the Medieval Ages in areas such as Germany, Latvia and Estonia. Still, the use of trees as symbols for eternal life and growth can be seen in pagan cultures and ancient civilisations. One clear example is Yggdrasil, a sacred tree, in the Norse myths. The ancient Romans are another example. During Saturnalia, they decorated their houses and streets with wreaths.
Did you know that Christmas stars are the representation of the star of Bethlehem? It appears in the Bible, more precisely in the Gospel of Matthew. It helped the three Wise Men to find their way to Jesus Christ when he was just a newborn. Although contemporary scholars have conducted some research on the issue, we don't really know yet whether this star was real and based, for example, in a comet, or not. Today, the star symbolizes the birth of Jesus, hope and light, so it’s not strange that stars are a widely used Christmas theme. They appear in Christmas cards, paintings, baubles, Christmas lights…
If you have a look at commercials, cards and arts related to Christmas, you'll find some bells, for sure! They are musical instruments, but they also have other aims. Do you want to know about the connection between bells and Christmas and learn more about their history? Bells have been used for different purposes for centuries. In pagan cults, they have been traditionally seen as tools to get rid of evil spirits. Later, Christians inherited this symbol. At first, bells were great to let people know that it was mass time during Christmas. Step by step, their sound was linked to the birth of Jesus and to moments of joy.
Santa Claus is based on the figure of Saint Nicholas. This holy man was born in Turkey during the 3rd century. It also originated from British folklore thanks to the character of Father Christmas. He became a Christmas icon because of his anonymous generosity and repayment for good behavior. Today, Santa is presented as a merry old man wearing a red and white coat, an image that was created and developed during the 19th century. Santa, together with his reinders, his sledge, his sack and the image of him going through chimneys, has become one of the most important pop icons related to Christmas.
This type of hue is known as Michigan State University green, because of the shade of its logo: a Spartan helmet in dark green. This type of green is obviously associated with nature, forests, and woods. Being a natural color, it has a soothing effect and it radiates calmness and peacefulness. During the late Middle Ages, it was also used as a wedding color, as it represents the fertility of plants. Likewise, it has to do with growth, safety, renewal, health, prosperity, and with wealth. This MSU green is the color of christmas trees and of mistletoe leaves, so it must be inserted in any Christmas color palette!
Amazon Green was named after the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon jungle has around 350 ethnic groups, more than 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fishes… That’s it, Amazon green is about natural diversity and life. Christmas is about gathering different types of people together to celebrate one of the loveliest holidays of the year. This hue represents many of the positive emotions that are usually considered part of Christmas too: hope, balance, prosperity, freshness, and reassurance. But the connection between green and Christmas is deeper. It used to be a pagan festival that was very much connected to nature, so this Christian tradition also tried to recreate this sacred link between the divine, flora, and fauna.
Maximum Yellow Red means luxury, happiness, success and wealth, things that we wish to obtain during this period. This color looks like gold, a tremendously desired metal across the world. It represents wealth, elegance but also extravagance and even warmth. Christmas is a time for opulence and all-things-appearance. This tint takes the streets and galvanizes them with a feeling of abundance, importance and triumph. This shade is the perfect match for classy colors such as black and cream, but also reds and greens. Get ready for the cold weather using this inspiring hue, it’s the color of energy and life.
Red Salsa is a light shade of pink red. This name is inspired by traditional Mexican recipes and salsa roja, a type of spicy sauce made of tomato, garlic, chili, garlic, salt and pepper. It’s a basic salsa that has an incredible taste and makes meals stand out. Red salsa is a fun hue that adds that little naughty touch to your Christmas celebrations. You can’t get your eyes off this color, it attracts a lot of attention everywhere. With red salsa, you can convey feelings like passion and love. Its intensity it’s a great companion for the holiday season and for the emotions that Christmas evokes.
Madder Lake is a natural pigment that shows a reddish hue. The brightness and richness of this hue depicts very well the exciting Christmas mood. Madder lake has been used by many cultures as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans. This dye was so important that it was found in Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb. Due to its significance, kings like Charlemagne supported the cultivation of the plant. They extracted this dye by boiling the roots of the madder plant and mixing it with other pigments. In the 19th century, the resulting pigment extracted from madder was treated with alum and alkali, which turned the natural dye into the long-lasting color that is employed nowadays.
Have you ever thought about the origins of the most keenly-awaited holiday? One may think that the history of Christmas is rooted only in Biblical events, but it is not its only source! In fact, there are a lot of pagan, Roman and many other traditions dating from centuries ago that have helped people to create what is our contemporary version of Christmas. Can you believe it? The Bible, Saturnalia, Festival of Sol invictus or even the figure of a very well known Turkish saint are only a few elements that have created this cultural celebration. Let’s have a look at some historical milestones to learn more about Xmas!
Saturnalia and Sol Invictus
As we have said before, some of the Christmas traditions come from the Roman empire. In fact, there are two of them that are remarkable in this respect: Saturnalia and the festival of Sol Invictus. Let’s learn a little bit about them. Roman celebrated two festivities during December, the first of which was Saturnalia in honor of the god of agriculture, Saturn. People gave and received gifts, they wore fancy clothing and slaves had meals with their masters. From Saturnalia we inherited giving presents and wearing our best clothes. The second festivity was celebrated on the 25th of December and it was called the festival of Sol Invictus. When Christianism emerged, people established a connection between Sol Invictus and Christ himself, so they marked that day as an important event in Christianism. This way, Roman religion and Christianism merged.
The adoration of baby Jesus
Once we have talked about the Roman foundations of Christmas, let’s move on to a more Biblical side of this festivity. Epiphany, also known as the Three Kings’ Day or the Twelfth Night in Western Churches, is celebrated on the 6th of January. Some other countries name this festivity as Little Christmas or Green Christmas. It’s a very important holiday as it is very much connected with the adoration of baby Jesus. Specifically, it marks the end of Christmas. The three Wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. This event translated into children receiving gifts to commemorate this Biblical scene in countries around the world, such as Spain.
Church, nature and the community
The celebration of Christmas during the Middle Ages resembles very much our traditions today. For example, people decorated their homes and cities with natural elements such as mistletoe, bay leaves or berries. Does it ring a bell? Also, it was a widespread tradition to exchange gifts. The church was also a very important place to gather the community to attend mass and to spread Christ’s preachings. All types of people, rich and poor, reunited there. In addition, nativity plays were born during this period of time. The three Magi, the Holy Innocents, the prophets and even Moses took part in these.
Important historical figures that forged Christmas traditions
Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar, the three Magi, are depicted in the Bible. They went on a journey to worship baby Jesus. They announced the coming of Christ and, because they gave him gifts, they turned into an important Christian symbol in paintings, sculptures, etc. They also became very important icons during Christmas. For instance, kids receive gifts from the three Wise Men in Spain on the 6th January. On the other hand, children from other countries get gifts from St. Nicholas: Germany, Poland, Ukraine, the Netherlands... Saint Nicholas lived during the 3rd century in Turkey. He was known for his tremendous generosity towards the poor. In a Biblical way, this supports the idea of repayment to those who do the right things. It’s a way of mimicking these uncredited good deeds towards others to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Boxing Day, Pohutukawa, Parrandas, Three Kings' Day... Did you know that there are many different Christmas traditions in the World? Different cultures add their own merry touches to the most expected time of the year. If you are curious about them, just have a look below and discover what our neighbors do.
Let’s learn about Adelaide Christmas pageant, Boxing Day and Proclaiming Day in Australia! Adelaide Christmas pageant, Boxing Day and Proclaiming day are the most popular celebrations in Australia. Let’s learn a little bit more about them! The Adelaide Christmas pageant is held annually in the city of Adelaide. This parade welcomes Father Christmas and it’s celebrated the second Saturday of November. There are floats, dancers, music, colors… Everything you need to have fun! Boxing Day is celebrated a little bit later, on the 26th December. This celebration began in Great Britain and then it extended to other Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand, or Canada. During this day, people exchange presents. Still, in South Australia, it is called Proclamation Day and they commemorate the proclamation of South Australia as a British province. It is also celebrated on the 26th December.
Pohutukawa, the “Christmas tree” of New Zealand. In New Zealand, the most typical image is the pohutukawa bush. It usually grows in the Northern part of the country. It shows vibrant hues of bright red and some of them are even orange, yellowish or white. Its scarlet flowers commonly adorn cards, paintings and other Christmas decorations from New Zealand. The scarlet tones of the flowers match the energy and festive spirit of the season, so it's no wonder that they have become a symbol there! Apart from its colors and beauty, this plant is very much connected to the folklore of the country. For example, there are some Maori legends that include these blossoms. According to ancient lore, the flowers of the Pohutukawa trees represent a warrior’s blood called Tawhaki. He intended to avenge his father's death, but he failed and died too.
Christmas in Japan: fried chicken, strawberry cakes and lights! Japan is not a Christian country, but they still love to enjoy Christmas and some special feasts during this time of the year. Christmas celebrations have to do with parties, a lot of fireworks and light shows. Color everywhere! Also, families gather during New Year, but not that much during Christmas. Still, there is a tradition that is liked by most of the population, KFC! Can you believe it? This company offers a special Christmas menu and they are quite popular. In fact, eating fried chicken has been a well-established custom since the seventies thanks to a marketing campaign. Isn't it an interesting tradition? And if we talk about food... We must say something about the yummy strawberry cakes they eat during Xmas, of course! It's a delicious sponge cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Are you hungry yet?
The Ligligan Parul Sampernandus, lanterns made of bamboo, adorn the cities in the Philippines. If we talk about Christmas in the Philippines, the greatest event of the country is the Ligligan Parul Sampernandus, also known as the Giant Lantern Festival. Those big lanterns are made of bamboo and they recreate the shape of a star. Those are directly related to Christianism. In fact, those bamboo lanterns represent the star of Bethlehem. They also symbolize hope, a very usual Christmas motif. This tradition began in 1904 as a lantern competition, although it gained popularity among the inhabitants of San Fernando and soon lanterns decorated the streets every single year. The usual materials are bamboo and paper, although in the past steel and plastic have also been part of their structures. So, if you like paper lanterns, light and colors, they celebrate this festivity during the last two weeks of December (from the 16th to 24th of December.)
Have a lovely time enjoying the charangas de Bejucal and the parrandas! Cuba means color, dance, music, entertainment and nature! For sure, this Caribbean country has its own Christmas traditions that inherit the merry idiosyncrasy of the place. Let’s discover more about them! The charangas de Bejucal are celebrated on the 24th, 25th, 26th of December and 1st of January. There is music everywhere! Listen to the Tambores de Bejucal playing and different conga groups, such as the Ceibistas. In addition, Cuban people eat churros, cotton candy or pan con lechón during these days . The charangas are very similar to the parrandas. The parrandas are celebrated in the town of Remedios in December. They begin on the 16th and they finish by the 26th of December. The celebration includes fireworks, conga groups playing, rumba, floats… Doesn’t it sound like a lot of fun?
Let’s wait for the Wise Men or Olentzero to bring us some gifts while we eat bûche de Noël! Although Santa Claus’ popularity is rising in Spain, the three Wise Men (“Reyes Magos”) are the ones in charge of giving gifts to kids on the 6th of January. The Three Magi have a Biblical origin, and it still lives on today. In the Basque Country, a Spanish region, Olentzero is the character that gives presents to children. The legend tells that he was a giant that lived in the Pyrenees. Some people say that this giant foresaw the birth of baby Jesus and he embraced Christianity afterwards. In Spain, and in many other countries, there are certain types of food that are associated with Christmas. This is the case for bûche de Noël! People eat this dessert in the feasts of Nochebuena and Nochevieja. They are sometimes decorated with figures of Santa Claus or the three Wise men. They can also have little reproductions of eggs and small chicks on top. This way, the cake looks like a real tree!
Learning more about the Gälve goat, a very ancient pagan symbol. In Gälve, a Swedish city, there is an adorable (and huge!) goat that decorates the city during Christmas. This tradition goes back to the Swedish Yule Goat. This pagan symbol has survived during centuries in Germanic countries. Nowadays, the Gälve goat is erected at the beginning of Advent. They created a giant display of a yute goat in Gälve in the 60s for the very first time. The initiative was a success and it soon became an important Swedish icon. Year after year, they build a new goat to embellish the city. It is decorated with red ribbons, lights, and many other wintry decorations. Sadly enough, the goat has been vandalized once and again! Can you believe that such a wonderful display has been damaged so many times? Looking on the bright side, they will replace the harmed goat for a new one, so everyone can admire it!
We have seen plenty of American traditions because of the movies and series we watch! We all know that gingerbread men are tasty, very common and the perfect snack to have just after singing carrols. Have you ever had one of those? For its part, kissing under the mistletoe is just another lovely American tradition, but we can trace its origins back to Greece and to the Roman empire. Sometimes it has also been linked to the Norse Mythology and Baldur, Frigg's son. As expected, another important part of Christmas in the United States is Santa Claus! Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, was a Turkish monk. He was very well known because of his benevolence and charity. To copy the example of the saint, people began exchanging gifts.