Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

Steven Allan Spielberg (born on December 18, 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio but raised in the suburbs of Haddonfield, New Jersey and Scottsdale, Arizona), is an American film director whose films range from science fiction to historical drama to horror. He is noted in recent years for his willingness to tackle emotionally powerful issues, such as the horrors of the Holocaust in Schindler's List, the inhumanity of slavery in Amistad, and the hardships of war in Saving Private Ryan. One consistent theme in his work is a childlike, even nave sense of wonderment and faith, as attested by works like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Hook and A.I..

The director, the man

Spielberg is the most financially successful motion picture director of all time. He has helmed an astounding number of feature films that have become enormous box-office hits, and this has given him enormous influence in Hollywood. As of 2004, he has been listed in Premiere and other magazines as the most "powerful" and influential figure in the motion picture industry. He is seen as a figure who has the influence, financial resources, and acceptance of Hollywood studio authorities to make any movie he wants to make, be it a mainstream action-adventure movie (Jurassic Park) or a three-hour-long black and white drama about a controversial historical subject (Schindler's List).

His beginnings

Spielberg is known by film historians as one of the famous "movie brats" of the 1970s: along with fellow filmmakers (and personal friends) George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, John Milius, and Brian De Palma, Spielberg grew up making movies. He was making amateur 8mm "adventure" movies with his friends as a teenager (scenes from these amateur films have been included on the DVD edition of Saving Private Ryan), and he made his first short film for theatrical release, Amblin', in 1968 at the age of twenty one. (Spielberg's own production company, Amblin Entertainment, was named after this short film.) His maiden directorial work was a segment of the pilot film to Rod Serling's Night Gallery. While working on this segment its star Joan Crawford collared a production executive and said, "Keep an eye on this kid, he's going places." After directing episodes of various TV shows, including some early Columbo TV movies, Spielberg directed his first well-known feature with a 1971 TV "movie-of-the-week" entitled Duel (later released to theatres overseas and eventually in the U.S.). This film, about a truck mysteriously terrorizing an average citizen, has become a cult classic, having been released on video several times over the years.

Move to theatrical films

Spielberg's debut theatrical feature film, The Sugarland Express (takes place and filmed on location in Sugar Land, Texas and is about a husband and wife attempting to escape the law), won him critical praise and enough studio backing to be chosen as the director of a summer movie that would secure him a place in the history of motion pictures: Jaws, a horror film based on the Peter Benchley novel about encounters with a killer shark. Jaws won four Academy Awards (for editing and sound), and grossed over US$100 million at the box office, setting the domestic record for box office gross.

In 1976, Spielberg was asked by Alexander Salkind to direct Superman, but decided instead to expand on a pet project he had on his mind since his youth: a film about UFOs, which became Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). The film remains a cult sci-fi classic among its fans.

The success Spielberg was beginning to enjoy, as well as his eventual tendency to make films with wide mainstream and commercial appeal, also subjected him to disdain in critical circles by film reviewers. For example, Spielberg's next film was 1941, a big-budgeted World War II comedy farce set in L.A. days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, with the two top stars from Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, along with other all-stars. Although the film did make a small profit, it is considered by some to be Spielberg's first flop, although today it is also considered a cult classic. An expanded version has been shown on network television and later on Laserdisc and DVD.

Spielberg at his pinnacle

But what some would consider Spielberg's greatest film work was still to come, beginning in the 1980s. In 1981, Spielberg teamed up for the first time with his friend George Lucas to make Raiders of the Lost Ark, his homage to the cliffhanger serials of the Golden Age of Hollywood, with Harrison Ford (whom Lucas directed in Star Wars) as the dashing hero Indiana Jones. Raiders itself spawned two sequels, also directed by Spielberg and executive produced by Lucas.

One year later, Spielberg returned to his alien visitors motif with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a Disney-inspired story of a boy and the alien whom he befriends (and is trying to get back "home" to outer space). E.T. went on to become the top-grossing film of all time for many years.

When E.T. was released, Steven Spielberg, a Porsche 928 aficionado, had his car's moon-roof button re-designed with the movie's logo as both a gag for passengers, and a tribute to the movie's success. Despite their enormous appeal, few film scholars and critics place such Spielberg films as Raiders or E.T. in the same class as The Godfather, Citizen Kane, or many other classics of the cinema.

In 1985, Spielberg made The Color Purple, an adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Many critics were unsure of whether or not Spielberg could handle such serious material, as his output to that point had been viewed as "lighter" entertainment. The film was released to great acclaim and proved Spielberg's ability as a serious, dramatic filmmaker. It received 11 Academy Award nominations in 1986, but Spielberg was snubbed in the Best Director category, which sent shockwaves through Hollywood. However, Spielberg was awarded the Directors Guild Award for his work on the film.

Although nominated throughout his career for an Academy Award, the gold statuette had long eluded Spielberg, although in 1986 he was awarded The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his work as a creative producer up to that point.

Spielberg had tried numerous times to film a live-action version of Peter Pan without success. He eventually decided to create his own take on the Pan legend in 1991. Hook focused on a middle-aged Pan (played by Robin Williams), who returns to Neverland to face the title character (Captain Hook, played by Dustin Hoffman). The over-budget film was not a box-office success.

In 1993, Spielberg decided to once again tackle the adventure genre, as he released the movie version of Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park, about killer dinosaurs rampaging through a tropical island resort. It would eventually overtake E.T. as the all-time top grossing film for several years (until James Cameron's Titanic).

It was in that same year that Spielberg finally won the critical acclaim he had long sought for making Schindler's List (based on a novel about a man who sacrificed everything to save thousands of people from the wrath of the Holocaust). That film earned him his first regular Academy Award for Best Director (it also won Best Picture).

Another of Spielberg's most critically acclaimed films, Saving Private Ryan, was released in 1998. Spielberg considered it one of his finest works, yet in a highly publicized "showdown", it lost the Best Picture Oscar at the 1999 Academy Awards to Shakespeare in Love.

Into a new century

In 2001, Spielberg filmed fellow director and friend Stanley Kubrick's final project, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, a project planned for many years but which Kubrick was unable to finish during his lifetime. The futuristic story of a humanoid android longing for love, A.I. featured groundbreaking visual effects, but unfortunately was not the blockbuster film Spielberg had hoped for. The film drew mixed reviews.

In recent years, Spielberg has gained increased popularity through Minority Report (2002), starring Tom Cruise as a futuristic cop on the run from his own future; and Catch Me If You Can (also in 2002), a story about a con-man (with Leonardo di Caprio and Tom Hanks). Spielberg used Hanks again in 2004 for The Terminal, the story of an East European traveller living in an airport terminal.

As of 2004, he has won two Academy Awards for Best Director, one for Schindler's List and another for Saving Private Ryan.

In August 2004, Spielberg's newest project, a modernized adaptation of War of the Worlds was greenlit. Production started in October 2004 and is currently set for release on June 29, 2005. This movie will also feature Tom Cruise in a leading role. Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) will provide the special effects.

As of March 2005, Spielberg is slated to direct the Untitled 1972 Munich Olympics Project, formerly known as Vengeance. This film is written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner.

Films by Spielberg

  • War of the Worlds (2005)
  • The Terminal (2004)
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  • Minority Report (2002)
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998) (Academy Award, Best Director)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  • Amistad (1997)
  • Schindler's List (1993) (Academy Award, Best Director, Best Picture)
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Hook (1991)
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  • Always (1989)
  • Empire of the Sun (1987)
  • The Color Purple (1985)
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  • 1941 (1979)
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • The Sugarland Express (1974)

See also: List of Spielberg films

Side projects

Spielberg has produced (without directing) a considerable number of films, and can be credited with launching the career of Robert Zemeckis. He is also a lover of animated cartoons, and has produced several hit cartoons (and a few flops), including Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and Freakazoid.

He was also, for a short time, the executive producer of the long-running medical drama ER which currently airs on NBC.

He is one of the co-founders of Dreamworks Pictures (Dreamworks SKG, with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen providing the other letters in the company name), which has released all of his movies since Amistad in 1997.

Following the critical and box office success of Schindler's List in 1993, Spielberg founded and continues to finance the Shoah Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of providing an archive for the filmed testimony of as many survivors of the Holocaust as possible, so that their stories will not be lost in the future.

Personal

Spielberg is married to actress Kate Capshaw, whom he cast in Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom. He has seven children—four biological: Max Spielberg (from his former marriage to actress Amy Irving), Sasha, Sawyer, and Destry Spielberg (from his current marriage to Capshaw); two adopted (Theo and Mikaela Spielberg); and one stepdaughter (Jessica Capshaw).

Trivia

  • While the films that Steven Spielberg directed have won numerous awards, no actor or actress has won an Academy Award for a performance for one of his films.
  • Spielberg had a cameo role as the Cook County assessor in the last minutes of the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.
  • In 1982 Ben Kingsley won Best Actor and Richard Attenborough won Best Director for the film Gandhi, which beat Steven Spielberg's film E.T. for Best Picture. Eleven years later, in 1993, Steven Spielberg cast Richard Attenborough as the grandfather in Jurassic Park (his first performance in 13 years) and Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List. Steven Spielberg won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars that year.
  • Spielberg, an Eagle Scout, designed the requirements for the Boy Scout Cinematography merit badge.
  • The asteroid 25930 Spielberg is named in his honour.
  • Supports the Democratic Party of United States.
  • He went to Saratoga High School and quipped that it was the "worst experience" of his life and "hell on Earth". [1] (http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/05.29.97/spielberg-9722.html)
  • In 2002 Spielberg was awarded a B.A. in Film Production and Electronic Arts with an option in Film/Video Production from California State University, Long Beach. He first enrolled at Long Beach State in 1965.
  • The A&E Network is expected to announce that it will produce a two-hour drama about the relationship between filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. According to Daily Variety, the biopic, tentatively titled Celluloid Titans, is being executive produced by Jody Brockway.
  • For his work on the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation since 1994, he was awarded with the Great Cross of Merit with Star, the German version of the Great Officer's Cross, in September 1998 for "a very noticeable contribution to the issue of the Holocaust".

Urban legends

Spielberg started a fanciful story of how he broke into Hollywood by sneakily squatting in an unoccupied office on the Universal Studios lot. In fact, he had an unpaid summer job on the lot.


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Spielberg started a fanciful story of how he broke into Hollywood by sneakily squatting in an unoccupied office on the Universal Studios lot. In fact, he had an unpaid summer job on the lot. Theories include the following:. He has seven children—four biological: Max Spielberg (from his former marriage to actress Amy Irving), Sasha, Sawyer, and Destry Spielberg (from his current marriage to Capshaw); two adopted (Theo and Mikaela Spielberg); and one stepdaughter (Jessica Capshaw). No explanation of why it is celebrated on December 25 is universally accepted. Spielberg is married to actress Kate Capshaw, whom he cast in Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom. Many different dates have been suggested for the celebration of Christmas. Following the critical and box office success of Schindler's List in 1993, Spielberg founded and continues to finance the Shoah Project, a non-profit organization with the goal of providing an archive for the filmed testimony of as many survivors of the Holocaust as possible, so that their stories will not be lost in the future. Related article: Chronology of Jesus' birth and death.

He is one of the co-founders of Dreamworks Pictures (Dreamworks SKG, with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen providing the other letters in the company name), which has released all of his movies since Amistad in 1997. The clich recreation for them is "movies and Chinese food"; movie theaters remaining open to bring in holiday dollars and Chinese restaurants being less likely to be closed. He was also, for a short time, the executive producer of the long-running medical drama ER which currently airs on NBC. Non-Christians in predominantly Christian nations may be left bereft of entertainment around Christmas. He is also a lover of animated cartoons, and has produced several hit cartoons (and a few flops), including Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and Freakazoid. Because of holiday celebrations involving alcohol, drunk driving-related fatalities may also increase. Spielberg has produced (without directing) a considerable number of films, and can be credited with launching the career of Robert Zemeckis. Suicide and murder rates may spike during the holiday season, but the peak months for suicide are May and June.

See also: List of Spielberg films. Because of the focus on celebration, friends, and family, people who are without these, or who have recently suffered losses, are more likely to suffer from depression during Christmas. This increases the demands for counseling services during the period. This film is written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner. Christmas movies generally open no later than late November, as their themes are not so popular once the season is over. As of March 2005, Spielberg is slated to direct the Untitled 1972 Munich Olympics Project, formerly known as Vengeance. Next to summer, this is the second-most lucrative season for the industry. Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) will provide the special effects. In North America, studios release many high-budget movies in the holiday season, both to capture holiday crowds and to position themselves for Oscars.

This movie will also feature Tom Cruise in a leading role. Frustrations over these issues and others can lead to a rise in Christmastime social problems. Production started in October 2004 and is currently set for release on June 29, 2005. They accuse the Christmas season of being dominated by money and greed, at the expense of the holiday's more important values. In August 2004, Spielberg's newest project, a modernized adaptation of War of the Worlds was greenlit. Many fundamentalist Christians, as well as anti-consumerists, decry the "commercialization" of Christmas. As of 2004, he has won two Academy Awards for Best Director, one for Schindler's List and another for Saving Private Ryan. The economic impact continues after the holiday, with Christmas sales and New Year's sales, when stores sell off excess inventories.

Spielberg used Hanks again in 2004 for The Terminal, the story of an East European traveller living in an airport terminal. Christmas Day is the only day in the year that some shops and businesses are closed. In recent years, Spielberg has gained increased popularity through Minority Report (2002), starring Tom Cruise as a futuristic cop on the run from his own future; and Catch Me If You Can (also in 2002), a story about a con-man (with Leonardo di Caprio and Tom Hanks). In the United States, the Christmas shopping season now begins on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The film drew mixed reviews. Sales increase in almost all retail areas and shops introduce new products, as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies. The futuristic story of a humanoid android longing for love, A.I. featured groundbreaking visual effects, but unfortunately was not the blockbuster film Spielberg had hoped for. Christmas is typically the largest annual stimulus for the economies of celebrating nations.

In 2001, Spielberg filmed fellow director and friend Stanley Kubrick's final project, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, a project planned for many years but which Kubrick was unable to finish during his lifetime. Among other classical Christmas pieces are the Nutcracker Suite, adapted from Tchaikovsky's ballet score, and Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). Television networks add Christmas themes, run traditional holiday movies, and produce a variety of Christmas specials. Spielberg considered it one of his finest works, yet in a highly publicized "showdown", it lost the Best Picture Oscar at the 1999 Academy Awards to Shakespeare in Love. Radio stations broadcast Christmas carols and Christmas songs, including classical music such as the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. Another of Spielberg's most critically acclaimed films, Saving Private Ryan, was released in 1998. Radio and television also cultivate Christmas themes. It was in that same year that Spielberg finally won the critical acclaim he had long sought for making Schindler's List (based on a novel about a man who sacrificed everything to save thousands of people from the wrath of the Holocaust). That film earned him his first regular Academy Award for Best Director (it also won Best Picture). The story behind the Christmas carol "Silent Night" and the story of "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" are among the most well-known of these.

It would eventually overtake E.T. as the all-time top grossing film for several years (until James Cameron's Titanic). A few true stories have become enduring Christmas tales. In 1993, Spielberg decided to once again tackle the adventure genre, as he released the movie version of Michael Crichton's novel Jurassic Park, about killer dinosaurs rampaging through a tropical island resort. On Christmas Eve, a guardian angel finds him in despair and prevents him from committing suicide, by magically showing him how much he meant to the world around him. The over-budget film was not a box-office success. Its hero, George Bailey, is a businessman who sacrificed his dreams to help his community. Hook focused on a middle-aged Pan (played by Robin Williams), who returns to Neverland to face the title character (Captain Hook, played by Dustin Hoffman). A notable example is the film It's a Wonderful Life, the theme of which mirrors A Christmas Carol.

He eventually decided to create his own take on the Pan legend in 1991. Since the 1980s, their many video editions are sold and re-sold every year during the holiday season. Spielberg had tried numerous times to film a live-action version of Peter Pan without success. Many Christmas stories have been popularized as movies and TV specials. Thalberg Memorial Award for his work as a creative producer up to that point. Unlike the principals of anglophone Christmas lore, she meets a tragic end. Although nominated throughout his career for an Academy Award, the gold statuette had long eluded Spielberg, although in 1986 he was awarded The Irving G. She dares not go home because her father is drunk.

However, Spielberg was awarded the Directors Guild Award for his work on the film. The destitute little slum girl walks barefoot through snow-covered streets on Christmas Eve, trying in vain to sell her matches, and peeking in at the celebrations in the homes of the more fortunate. It received 11 Academy Award nominations in 1986, but Spielberg was snubbed in the Best Director category, which sent shockwaves through Hollywood. C. Andersen's "The Little Match Girl". The film was released to great acclaim and proved Spielberg's ability as a serious, dramatic filmmaker. Some Scandinavian Christmas stories are less cheery than Dickens', notably H. Many critics were unsure of whether or not Spielberg could handle such serious material, as his output to that point had been viewed as "lighter" entertainment. Although these Christmas icons have become widespread through television and movies, Christmas is still a time when national traditions are strong, and both Santa's appearance and the stories told vary from country to country.

In 1985, Spielberg made The Color Purple, an adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It was further developed in 1931 by Haddon Sundblom for the Coca-Cola Company. Despite their enormous appeal, few film scholars and critics place such Spielberg films as Raiders or E.T. in the same class as The Godfather, Citizen Kane, or many other classics of the cinema. In 1881, the Swedish magazine Ny Illustrerad Tidning published Viktor Rydberg's poem Tomten featuring the first painting by Jenny Nystrm of this traditional Swedish mythical character (tomte, elf, goblin) which she turned into the white-bearded friendly figure associated with Christmas. When E.T. was released, Steven Spielberg, a Porsche 928 aficionado, had his car's moon-roof button re-designed with the movie's logo as both a gag for passengers, and a tribute to the movie's success. Nast's 19th-century cartoons gave Santa his familiar form (Harper's Weekly, 1863), while Moore's poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas (Sentinel, 1823, popularly known as The Night Before Christmas) supplied the rotund Santa and his sleigh landing on rooftops on Christmas Eve. E.T. went on to become the top-grossing film of all time for many years. Thomas Nast and Clement Moore provided the English-speaking countries with their popular images of Santa Claus.

the Extra-Terrestrial, a Disney-inspired story of a boy and the alien whom he befriends (and is trying to get back "home" to outer space). Dickens is sometimes credited with shaping the modern Christmas of English-speaking countries (tree, plum pudding, carols, etc.) and the movement to close businesses on Christmas day. One year later, Spielberg returned to his alien visitors motif with E.T. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is the tale of curmudgeonly miser Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge rejects compassion and philanthropy, and Christmas as a symbol of both, until he is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, who show him the consequences of his ways. Raiders itself spawned two sequels, also directed by Spielberg and executive produced by Lucas. Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker ballet tells of a Christmas ornament come to life in a young Russian girl's dream. In 1981, Spielberg teamed up for the first time with his friend George Lucas to make Raiders of the Lost Ark, his homage to the cliffhanger serials of the Golden Age of Hollywood, with Harrison Ford (whom Lucas directed in Star Wars) as the dashing hero Indiana Jones. Several have become part of the Christmas tradition in their countries of origin.

But what some would consider Spielberg's greatest film work was still to come, beginning in the 1980s. Many fictional Christmas stories capture the spirit of Christmas in a modern-day fairy tale, often with heart-touching stories of a Christmas miracle. An expanded version has been shown on network television and later on Laserdisc and DVD. Main article: Christmas in the media. Although the film did make a small profit, it is considered by some to be Spielberg's first flop, although today it is also considered a cult classic. see also: list of winter festivals and Christmas around the world. days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, with the two top stars from Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, along with other all-stars. People gather outdoors to sing carols by candlelight on Christmas Eve or another evening shortly before Christmas.

For example, Spielberg's next film was 1941, a big-budgeted World War II comedy farce set in L.A. Carols by Candlelight started in Melbourne in 1938 and spread around the world. The success Spielberg was beginning to enjoy, as well as his eventual tendency to make films with wide mainstream and commercial appeal, also subjected him to disdain in critical circles by film reviewers. This clashes with the traditional winter iconography, and leads to such oddities as Santas arriving by surfboard to awaiting crowds on Australia's Bondi Beach. The film remains a cult sci-fi classic among its fans. In Commonwealth countries in the southern hemisphere, Christmas occurs at the height of their summer season. In 1976, Spielberg was asked by Alexander Salkind to direct Superman, but decided instead to expand on a pet project he had on his mind since his youth: a film about UFOs, which became Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Other states are catching up with Christmas celebrations in a bid to attract tourists.

Jaws won four Academy Awards (for editing and sound), and grossed over US$100 million at the box office, setting the domestic record for box office gross. The festive season is celebrated with pomp and vigor in places like Bombay and Goa. Spielberg's debut theatrical feature film, The Sugarland Express (takes place and filmed on location in Sugar Land, Texas and is about a husband and wife attempting to escape the law), won him critical praise and enough studio backing to be chosen as the director of a summer movie that would secure him a place in the history of motion pictures: Jaws, a horror film based on the Peter Benchley novel about encounters with a killer shark. Christmas is an official holiday in almost all states. This film, about a truck mysteriously terrorizing an average citizen, has become a cult classic, having been released on video several times over the years. Christmas is known as bada din (the big day) in Hindi, and revolves around Santa Claus and shopping. While working on this segment its star Joan Crawford collared a production executive and said, "Keep an eye on this kid, he's going places." After directing episodes of various TV shows, including some early Columbo TV movies, Spielberg directed his first well-known feature with a 1971 TV "movie-of-the-week" entitled Duel (later released to theatres overseas and eventually in the U.S.). In India, most educational institutions have a Christmas vacation, beginning shortly before Christmas and ending a few days after New Year's Day.

He was making amateur 8mm "adventure" movies with his friends as a teenager (scenes from these amateur films have been included on the DVD edition of Saving Private Ryan), and he made his first short film for theatrical release, Amblin', in 1968 at the age of twenty one. (Spielberg's own production company, Amblin Entertainment, was named after this short film.) His maiden directorial work was a segment of the pilot film to Rod Serling's Night Gallery. The Christmas festival is largely for lovers, and eclipses the country's two Valentine's Days. Spielberg is known by film historians as one of the famous "movie brats" of the 1970s: along with fellow filmmakers (and personal friends) George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, John Milius, and Brian De Palma, Spielberg grew up making movies. Japan has largely adopted the western Santa Claus for its secular Christmas celebration, but their New Year's Day is more important. He is seen as a figure who has the influence, financial resources, and acceptance of Hollywood studio authorities to make any movie he wants to make, be it a mainstream action-adventure movie (Jurassic Park) or a three-hour-long black and white drama about a controversial historical subject (Schindler's List). The official holiday on that date is largely treated as if it were Christmas. As of 2004, he has been listed in Premiere and other magazines as the most "powerful" and influential figure in the motion picture industry. In Taiwan, December 25 is the date of the signing of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947.

Spielberg is the most financially successful motion picture director of all time. He has helmed an astounding number of feature films that have become enormous box-office hits, and this has given him enormous influence in Hollywood. In South Korea and in Timor-Leste, where there are large Christian populations, Christmas is an official holiday. One consistent theme in his work is a childlike, even nave sense of wonderment and faith, as attested by works like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Hook and A.I.. The godparents also bless them for a prosperous and joyful life. He is noted in recent years for his willingness to tackle emotionally powerful issues, such as the horrors of the Holocaust in Schindler's List, the inhumanity of slavery in Amistad, and the hardships of war in Saving Private Ryan. On Christmas Day children visit their godparents to seek aguinaldos (gifts). Steven Allan Spielberg (born on December 18, 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio but raised in the suburbs of Haddonfield, New Jersey and Scottsdale, Arizona), is an American film director whose films range from science fiction to historical drama to horror. Family members dine together on traditional fare, which includes the queso de bola (ball of cheese) and hamon (Christmas ham).

For his work on the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation since 1994, he was awarded with the Great Cross of Merit with Star, the German version of the Great Officer's Cross, in September 1998 for "a very noticeable contribution to the issue of the Holocaust". Christmas Eve is the much-anticipated noche buena—the traditional Christmas feast after midnight mass. According to Daily Variety, the biopic, tentatively titled Celluloid Titans, is being executive produced by Jody Brockway. These Misas de Aguinaldo (Gallo) (Gift Masses) are more popularly known in Filipino as Simbang Gabi. The A&E Network is expected to announce that it will produce a two-hour drama about the relationship between filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Christmas Day is ushered in by the nine-day dawn masses that start on December 16, but unofficially the season starts as far back as September. He first enrolled at Long Beach State in 1965. The Philippines celebrates the world's longest Christmas season and, like other countries influenced by hispanic culture, the nativity scene is highly visible and lamp posts are decorated with parol (christmas lanterns).

in Film Production and Electronic Arts with an option in Film/Video Production from California State University, Long Beach. Christmas lights are a nearly universal, and with the summery weather, fireworks displays are also found, especially over the cities of Brazil. In 2002 Spielberg was awarded a B.A. As in Mexico, village processions acting out the events surrounding the birth of Christ are also common. Family Christmas meals are important, their contents as varied as the number of South American countries. [1] (http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/05.29.97/spielberg-9722.html). In regions with large numbers of Native American descendants, such as Peru, the figures are often hand-carved in a centuries-old style. He went to Saratoga High School and quipped that it was the "worst experience" of his life and "hell on Earth". Nativity scenes are featured in South American Christmas, both in homes and in public places.

Supports the Democratic Party of United States. Gift giving in Argentina occurs on January 6, or "Three Kings Day," when children leave shoes under their beds to be filled with snacks or small gifts by the Magi, who stop off on their way to Bethlehem. The asteroid 25930 Spielberg is named in his honour. South American "Santas" dress more lightly in keeping with their warmer Christmas, and have adopted a number of means, from ladders to trampolines, to enter homes at night. Spielberg, an Eagle Scout, designed the requirements for the Boy Scout Cinematography merit badge. The latter two resemble Santa Claus. Steven Spielberg won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars that year. Gift giving traditions include El Nio Jesus (Baby Jesus), who brings gifts to children in Colombia, Chile's Viejo Pasquero (Old Man Christmas), and Brazil's Papai Noel.

Eleven years later, in 1993, Steven Spielberg cast Richard Attenborough as the grandfather in Jurassic Park (his first performance in 13 years) and Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List. The secular customs and gift-giving in these countries are an admixture of traditions handed down from European and Native American forebears, plus the increasing influence of American culture. In 1982 Ben Kingsley won Best Actor and Richard Attenborough won Best Director for the film Gandhi, which beat Steven Spielberg's film E.T. for Best Picture. Religious themes predominate in heavily-Catholic South America. Spielberg had a cameo role as the Cook County assessor in the last minutes of the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. Over a nine day period, groups of townspeople go from door to door, symbolic of visitors to the baby Jesus, and are periodically called inside homes to participate in the breaking of a gift-filled piata. While the films that Steven Spielberg directed have won numerous awards, no actor or actress has won an Academy Award for a performance for one of his films. The focus of secular Christmas in Mexico is the posada.

The Sugarland Express (1974). NORAD "tracks" Santa Claus' global transit each year, to wide attention by the mass media. Jaws (1975). Christmas. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). The Christmas tree and skating rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City, and the White House Christmas decorations are hallmarks of the U.S. 1941 (1979). In the United States and Canada, the Santa Claus traditions are essentially the same, except in Quebec, where Pre Nol may appear.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). In the United Kingdom Christmas is sometimes referred to affectionately by the slang terms Crimble or Crimbo. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). The usual Christmas dinner meal is turkey, with christmas pudding or Christmas cakes, often decorated with white icing, as dessert. E.T. It stands in Trafalgar Square and is the most famous Christmas tree in Britain. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). Every year since 1947 the city of Oslo has presented the British a spruce tree as a token of appreciation for British support during the Second World War.

The Color Purple (1985). The festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge is a popular religious programme. Empire of the Sun (1987). Christmas crackers form an integral part of Christmas celebrations, and the Christmas pantomime is popular with young families. Always (1989). Many current customs, including their Christmas tree, or yolka, were brought by Peter the Great, after his western travels in the late 18th century. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Russians kept some traditions alive by shifting them to New Year's Day, including the visit by gift-giving "Grandfather Frost" and his "Snowmaiden".

Hook (1991). It centers on the Christmas Eve "Holy Supper", which consists of twelve servings, one to honor each of Jesus' apostles. Jurassic Park (1993). Christmas celebration in Russia has been revived since 1992, after decades of government suppression. Schindler's List (1993) (Academy Award, Best Director, Best Picture). He is thought to descend more from Santa Claus than from Saint Nicholas. Amistad (1997). In Eastern Europe, Slavic countries have Ded Moroz ("Grandfather Frost"), who travels in a magical troika, a decorated sleigh drawn by three horses, and delivers gifts to children.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). Both dates are official holidays. Saving Private Ryan (1998) (Academy Award, Best Director). In Belarus Christmas is celebrated twice, on December 25 and on January 7, because the country has significant populations of both Catholic and Orthodox faiths. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001). In 2001 a massive nativity scene was constructed and displayed in Bratislava's Plavecky Stvrtok, with plans to disassemble it for future displays in other cities. Minority Report (2002). Christmas in Slovakia is largely a celebration of family, food, and religious observation.

Catch Me If You Can (2002). The following day is often spent visiting friends or celebrated with a family dinner. The Terminal (2004). It is a very popular custom to attend the midnight mass called Pasterka. War of the Worlds (2005). No meat except fish is eaten on that day. There is straw under the table cloth which is meant to symbolise the place of birth of Christ.

It is inevitable that there are 12 dishes on the table and that there is a free place for an unexpected guest. There are many other traditions in connection with the Christmas Eve supper. The feast begins with the appearance of the first star, and is followed by the exchange of gifts. In Poland, Christmas Eve is a day first of fasting, then of feasting.

Another tradition requires pouring molten lead into water and guessing a message from the shapes that appear when it hardens. Girls throw shoes over their shoulders; if the toe points to the door, the girl will get married. Apples are cut crosswise; if a star appears in the core, the next year will be successful, while a cross suggests a bad year. Other Czech Christmas traditions involve predictions.

The gifts are displayed under the Christmas tree (usually spruce or pine), and people unpack them after the dinner. Old traditions include fasting on Christmas Eve until a ceremonial dinner is served, in order to be able to see a "golden pig". Gifts are brought by Ježšek, or "little Jesus". December 25 and 26 are also holidays.

In the Czech Republic, Christmas is celebrated mainly on December 24, or Christmas Eve - Štědr den, or "open-handed day", when the gifts are given in the evening. In Greece, a ship is the traditional symbol of Christmas, though the tree has been imported. In recent years Babbo Natale, a Santa Claus-like figure, is becoming more common. In some regions, presents are brought on Epiphany by La Befana, and in others by Baby Jesus on Christmas day or eve.

Food, religious observances, nativity displays, and gift-giving are prominent. The pagan feast of Saturnalia coincides with the Christian advent, and the holiday season spans from then through Epiphany. Modern traditions combine with holdovers from their Roman forebears in the celebrations of Natale, the Italian Christmas. After a quiet December 25, another large celebration follows on Boxing Day, when children may go door to door to receive treats and money from neighbors. Joulupukki (or Christmas Goat) is the Finnish Santa Claus. He travels with a sleigh and reindeer to deliver gifts to good children.

The Norwegian Christmas celebration begins with feasting on December 24, followed by a visit by Julenissen, who brings gifts to children who have behaved. The most entrenched and nationally unifying Swedish and Danish Christmas custom is perhaps that of watching a Disney special at 3 PM on Christmas Eve. The Christmas feast focuses on baked ham, but there are wide regional variations as to what day it is best served. In recognition of the threat of holiday food poisoning, Swedish newspapers run seasonal laboratory tests of restaurant jullunches, warning of the danger of cold meats and mayonnaise left out at room temperature.

Julefrokost in Danish) in the weeks before Christmas. In Sweden and Denmark, businesses traditionally invite their employees to a Christmas smrgsbord lunch (the julbord or jullunch. Commercially, the Striezelmarkt becomes a Christmas gift production center, boasting the specialities of the Dresden region, from ceramics and prints to various delicacies which are shipped worldwide. Nicholas, or by the Christkind, a sprite-like child who may represent the baby Jesus.

The gifts may be brought by the Weihnachtsmann, who resembles St. The feast typically takes place at lunch on December 25, and usually involves poultry (typically roast goose). Following Saint Nicholas Day, which is mostly for children, Christmas gift-giving usually takes place on Christmas eve, with gifts put under the Christmas tree. In Germany, Christmas traditions vary by region.

Considering the ancestry of Santa Claus, Sinterklaas there is in competition with himself. Shopkeepers prefer to start the Christmas season right after Sinterklaasavond, while others argue that the foreign, commercial Christmas impinges on the traditional Sinterklaas celebrations. In recent years, the Dutch have started to celebrate Christmas Eve with Santa as well. In some parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the frightening Knecht Ruprecht also appears, to the chagrin of many children.

He wears a red bishop's dress with a red mitre, rides a white horse over the rooftops, and is assisted by many mischievous helpers called zwarte Pieten (black Peters). In Germany and the Netherlands, the celebration of Saint Nicholas Day resembles the Christmas of the English-speaking world. Sinterklaas brings presents on Sinterklaasavond, the evening of December 5, to good children. Many secular aspects of Christmas are becoming common in developed Muslim nations. Christmas has some acceptance in the Islamic world, where Jesus is regarded as a prophet.

Other faiths have emphasized their own winter holidays to serve as a Christmas surrogate, including Judaism's Hanukkah, which has evolved a similar tradition of gift-giving. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services may include a midnight mass or a Mass of the Nativity, and feature Christmas carols and hymns. These observations may include Advent carols and Advent calendars, sometimes containing sweets and chocolate for children. The religious celebrations begin with Advent, the anticipation of Christ's birth, around the start of December.

Candy and treats are also part of the Christmas celebration in many countries. In some regions, particularly in Eastern Europe, these family feasts are preceded by a period of fasting. On Christmas Day or on Christmas Eve, a special meal of Christmas dishes is usually served, for which there are traditional menus in each country. Others are reminded by the holiday of man's fellowship with man, and do volunteer work, or hold fundraising drives for charities.

Groups may go carolling, visiting neighborhood homes to sing Christmas songs. Christmas pageants, common in Latin America, may include a retelling of the story of the birth of Christ. In many countries, businesses, schools, and communities have Christmas parties and dances during the several weeks before Christmas Day. This practice has led to much adjudication, as opponents insist that it amounts to the government endorsing one particular religious faith.

In the United States, decorations once commonly included religious themes. Municipalities often sponsor decorations as well, hanging Christmas banners from street lights or placing Christmas trees in the town square. Other popular holiday plants are holly, red amaryllis and Christmas cactus. The traditional Christmas flower is the poinsettia.

In North and South America and to a lesser extent Europe, it is traditional to decorate the outside of houses with lights, and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures. Decorating a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments, and the decoration of the interior of the home with garlands and evergreen foliage, particularly holly and mistletoe, are common traditions. Many families enclose an annual family photograph, or a family newsletter telling activities of family members during the preceding year. Christmas cards are extremely popular in the United States and Europe, in part as a way to maintain relationships with distant relatives and friends, and with business acquaintances.

Until the recent past, gifts were given in the UK to non-family members on Boxing Day. In most of the world, Christmas gifts are given at night on Christmas Eve, or in the morning on Christmas Day. One of the many customs of gift timing is suggested by the song Twelve Days of Christmas, celebrating an old British tradition of gifts each day from Christmas to Epiphany. In other countries, including Spain, gifts are brought by the Magi at Epiphany on 6 January.

In such places, including the Netherlands, Christmas day remains more a religious holiday. In much of Germany, children put shoes out on window sills on the night of December 5, and find them filled with candy and small gifts the next morning. In many countries, Saint Nicholas Day remains the principal day for gift giving. Gift giving is not restricted to these special gift-bringers, as family members and friends also bestow gifts on each other.

In other countries, children place their empty shoes out for Santa to fill on the night before Christmas, or for Saint Nicholas on December 5. In the United States, children hang a Christmas stocking by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, because Santa is said to come down the chimney the night before Christmas to fill them. In many countries, children leave empty containers for Santa to fill with small gifts such as toys, candy, or fruit. Many shopping malls in North America and the United Kingdom have a holiday mall Santa Claus whom children can visit to ask for presents.

Claus. In some versions, elves in a toy workshop make the holiday toys, and in some he is married to Mrs. In some cultures Santa Claus is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter. The French equivalent of Santa, Pre Nol, evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa image Haddon Sundblom painted for a worldwide Coca-Cola advertising campaign in the 1930s.

He spends the rest of the year making toys and keeping lists on the behavior of the children. In the Anglo-American tradition, this jovial fellow arrives on Christmas Eve on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, climbs down the chimney, leaves gifts for the children, and eats the food they leave for him. In the UK, whilst this name is widely known, "Father Christmas" is more common, and is also used in many West African countries. In North America, English colonists adopted aspects of this celebration into their Christmas holiday, and Sinterklaas became Santa Claus, or Saint Nick.

The Dutch modeled a gift-giving Saint Nicholas around his feast day of December 6. The concept of a mythical figure who brings gifts to children derives from Saint Nicholas, a good hearted bishop of 4th-century Asia Minor. Gift-giving is a near-universal part of Christmas celebrations. Since the customs of Christmas celebration largely evolved in Northern Europe, many are associated with the Northern Hemisphere winter, whose motifs are prominent in Christmas decorations and in the Santa Claus myth.

A few present day Christian churches, notably the Jehovah's Witnesses, some Puritan groups, and some ultra-conservative fundamentalist denominations, still view Christmas as a pagan holiday not sanctioned by the Bible, and do not celebrate it. Places where conservative Christian theocracies flourished, as in Cromwellian England and in the early New England colonies, were among those where celebrations were suppressed.3 After the Russian Revolution, Christmas celebrations were banned in the Soviet Union for the next seventy-five years. Rather than attempting to suppress such popular pagan feast days, Pope Gregory I allowed Christian missionaries to give them a Christian reinterpretation, while permitting most of the associated customs to continue with little or no modification.2 The give and take between religious and governmental authorities and celebrators of Christmas continued through the years. The Christmas tree is believed to have first been used in Germany.

This celebration of the winter solstice was widespread and popular in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity, and the word for Christmas in the Scandinavian languages is still today the pagan jul (=yule). Most of the familiar traditional practices and symbols of Christmas, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas ham, the Yule Log, holly, mistletoe, and the giving of presents, were adapted or appropriated by Christian missionaries from the earlier satr pagan midwinter holiday of Yule. An enormous number of customs, with either secular, religious, or national aspects, surround Christmas, and vary from country to country. Stephen's Day.

In many European and Commonwealth countries, December 26th is referred to as Boxing Day, while in Ireland and Romania it is known as St. In the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, and Poland, Christmas Day and the following day are called First and Second Christmas Day. Countries that celebrate Christmas on December 25th recognize the previous day as Christmas Eve, and vary on the naming of December 26th. In some instances, including Scotland's Hogmanay—which occurs at the New Year— it is celebrated more than Christmas.

This later holiday has its own parties. It extends beyond Christmas Day up to New Year's Day. In practice, the Christmas period has grown longer in some countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and now begins many weeks before Christmas, allowing more time for shopping and get-togethers. Swedish children still celebrate a party, throwing out the Christmas tree (julgransplundring), on the 20th day of Christmas (January 13, Knut's day).

Medieval laws in Sweden declared a Christmas peace (julefrid) to be twenty days, during which fines for robbery and manslaughter were doubled. This period corresponds with the liturgical season of Christmas. These twelve days of Christmas, a period of feasting and merrymaking, end on Twelfth Night, the Feast of the Epiphany. In the United Kingdom, the Christmas season traditionally runs for twelve days following Christmas Day.

Dates for the more secular aspects of the Christmas celebration are similarly varied. Prior to the celebration of Christmas, December 25th in the Roman world was the Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. Some scholars suggest that December 25 is a date of convenience chosen for other reasons, related to the time of Emperor Constantine. The Armenian Church places much more emphasis on the Epiphany, the visitation by the Magi, than on Christmas.

This date results from their having accepted neither the reforms of the Gregorian calendar nor the Revised Julian calendar, with their ecclesiastic December 25 thus falling on the civil (Gregorian) date of January 7 from 1900 to 2099. The Coptic, Jerusalem, Russian, Serbian and Georgian orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on January 7. Christmas is now celebrated on December 25 in catholic, protestant, and most orthodox churches. Efforts to fix a date for the birth of Christ began some two centuries after his death, as the Catholic Church began to establish its traditions.

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Christians. As one of the tenets of their faith, Christians accept the veracity of the story of Christmas, apparent difficulties reconciling the different versions of events notwithstanding. The major gaps in narrative details between Matthew and Luke, the absence of any reference to Christ's birth in the other gospels, and the fact that even the accounts of Matthew and Luke were written decades later, without confirmation by eyewitnesses, have led to much speculation about the accuracy of these reports. Astronomers and historians have sought with varying success to explain what combination of traceable celestial events might explain the appearance of a giant star that had never before been seen.1.

They are supposed to have come from Arabia, where they could have gotten their gifts of "gold, frankincense, and myrrh". The Magi, who Matthew reports seeing a giant star as well, have been variously interpreted as "wise men" or as kings. Some Christmas carols refer to the shepherds observing a huge star directly over Bethlehem, and following it to the birthplace. Another aspect of Christ's birth which has passed from the gospels into popular lore is the announcement by angels to nearby shepherds of Jesus' birth .

When Jesus and his family returned to Israel, it was then that they settled in Nazareth, where they believed they might live more anonymously. Matthew then reports that the family next fled to Egypt to escape the murderous rampage of Herod, who had decided to have the children of Bethlehem killed in order to eliminate any local rivals to his power. Resolving to hinder the ruler, they returned home without notifying Herod of the success of their mission. While staying the night, each Wise Man had a dream that contained a divine warning that King Herod had murderous designs on the child.

They presented Jesus with treasures of "gold, frankincense, and myrrh". Further inquiry led them to Bethlehem of Judea and the home of Mary and Joseph. The wise men, or Magi, first arrived in Jerusalem and reported to the local King Herod that they had seen a star heralding the birth of a king. This leaves ambiguous at whose home they were staying and whether Mary and Joseph were residents of Nazareth or, as their access to a home in Bethlehem suggests, of Bethlehem.

Matthew's gospel begins by recounting the genealogy and virgin birth of Jesus, and then skips to the coming of the Wise Men from the East to the home where Christ was staying after his birth in Bethlehem of Judea. Christ's birth in Bethlehem of Judea, the home of the house of David from which Joseph was descended, fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. There Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger, which has been translated in various ways, most commonly a feeding trough or stall. Finding no room in inns in the town, they set up primitive lodgings in a stable.

Shortly thereafter, she and her husband Joseph left their Nazareth home to travel to Joseph's ancestral home, Bethlehem of Judea, to enroll in the census ordered by the Roman emperor, Augustus. According to Luke, Mary learned from an angel that she was with child, by virtue of impregnation without intercourse by the Holy Spirit. The gospels of Mark and John do not address the childhood of Jesus, and those of Matthew and Luke give somewhat differing accounts, Luke's being closest to the public impression of the Christmas story and the version most often read in Christmas services. The story of Christ's birth has been handed down for centuries, based primarily on the Christian gospels of Matthew and Luke.

It is often abbreviated Xmas, possibly because the letter X resembles the Greek letter Χ (Chi), which is the first letter of "Christ" as spelled in Greek (Χριστός [Christos]). "Christmas" is a contraction of "Christ's Mass", derived from the Old English Cristes msse. Local and regional Christmas traditions are still rich and varied, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs through literature, television, and other media. It is largely characterized by exchanging gifts within families, and by gifts brought by Santa Claus or other mythical figures.

In predominantly Christian countries, Christmas has become the most economically significant holiday of the year, and it is also celebrated as a secular holiday in many countries with small Christian populations. The precise chronology of Jesus' birth and death as well as the historicity of Jesus are still debated. Efforts to assign a date for his birth began some centuries later. Early Christians celebrated more the subsequent Epiphany, when the baby Jesus was visited by the Magi.

Christ's birth, or nativity, was said by his followers to fulfill the prophecies of Judaism that a messiah would come, from the house of David, to redeem the world from sin. According to the Christian gospels, Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem, where she and her husband Joseph had travelled to register in the Roman census. Christmas (literally, the Mass of Christ) is a holiday in the Christian calendar, usually observed on December 25, which celebrates the birth of Jesus. It was appropriated from the birthday of Mithras, a savior figure of a Greco-Roman mystery religion that was popular with the Roman Legions.

[See Duchesne (1902) and Talley (1986).]. Thus, rather than the date of Christmas being appropriated from pagans by Christians, the opposite is held to have occurred. They reasoned that Jesus died on an anniversary of the Incarnation (his conception), so the date of his birth would have been nine months after the date of Good Friday—either December 25 or January 6. To then calculate the date of Jesus' birth, they followed the ancient idea that Old Testament prophets died at an "integral age"—either an anniversary of their birth or of their conception.

Since the exact date of Jesus' death is not stated in the Gospels, early Christians sought to calculate it, and arrived at either March 25 or April 6. The date of Christmas is based on the date of Good Friday, the day Jesus died. Under the Old Julian calendar, the popular choice of 5 BC for the year of Jesus's birth would place the 25th of Kislev on the 25th of November. Kislev is generally accepted as corresponding with December.

It derives from the tradition that Jesus was born during the Jewish Festival of Lights (Hanukkah, the 25th of Kislev and the beginning of Tevet). It is an appropriation of the pagan Midwinter festivals, such as the Germanic Yule and the Roman festival of the birth of Unconquered Sun, celebrated on the day after the winter solstice, or the Roman festival of Saturnalia. It is an appropriation by early Christians of a day on which the birth of several pagan gods, Osiris, Jupiter, and Plutus, or the ancient deified leader Nimrod, was celebrated. At Antioch, probably in 386, St John Chrysostom urged the community to unite in celebrating Christ's birth on December 25, a part of the community having already kept it on that day for at least ten years.

In Jerusalem, Egeria the 4th-century pilgrim from Bordeaux, witnessed the feast of the Presentation, forty days after January 6, which must have been the date of the Nativity there. By the time of the Council of Nicaea, AD 325 the Alexandrian church had fixed a dies Nativitatis et Epiphaniae. The December feast reached Egypt in the 5th century. The earliest evidence of celebration is from Alexandria, about AD 200, when Clement of Alexandria says that certain Egyptian theologians "over curiously" assign not just the year but the actual day of Christ's birth.4,on 25 Pachon (May 20) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on "Christmas" (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm) offers a starting-point for Christmas, which does not appear among the earliest lists of Christian feasts, those of Irenaeus and Tertullian.

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