The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas started in Livonia and Germany in the 16th century.
The Christmas tree is traditionally brought into the home and decorated with Christmas lights (originally candles), ornaments, garlands, tinsel, and candy canes during the days around Christmas
. An angel or star is placed at the top of the tree, representing the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.
The date is not known to be the actual birthday of Jesus, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived,the date of the Roman winter solstice, or one of various ancient winter festivals.
Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days
This ceremony, which is held in churches throughout the world, marks the beginning of Christmas Day.
A popular joke is to ask what time Midnight Mass starts, but in recent years some churches have scheduled their "Midnight" Mass as early as 7 p.m. In Spanish-speaking areas, the Midnight Mass is sometimes referred to as Misa del Gallo, or "Missa do Galo", in Portuguese ("Rooster's Mass").
In the Philippines, this custom lasts for nine days, starting on December 16 and continuing daily up to December 24, during which Filipinos attend dawn Masses, usually starting at around 4:00–5:00 a.m.
In 2009 Vatican officials scheduled the Midnight Mass to start at 10pm so that the 82 year old Pope Benedict XVI would not have too late a night.