Christmas is an annual festival that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. It is preceded by the season of Advent and initiates the Christmas season, which historically lasts twelve days in the West, culminating in the Twelfth Night; in some traditions, the celebration covers an octave. Christmas is a day off from work in many countries of the world. It is celebrated religiously by most Christians as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and is an integral part of the Christmas season. The traditional Christmas narrative in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem according to messianic prophecy. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn did not take place, and therefore they were offered a stable where the infant Christ was soon born, and the angels preached this news to the shepherds, who then spread the information. The rituals associated with Christmas in different countries have a mixture of pre-Christian, Christian and secular themes and sources. Popular modern customs of this holiday include handing out gifts, replenishing the Advent calendar or an Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, rich lighting, creating and viewing Christmas nativity scenes, exchanging Christmas cards, church services, special meal, decorated Christmas trees, garlands, mistletoe and holly. In addition, the figure of Santa Claus is inextricably linked with these holidays, bringing gifts to children. As gift giving and many other aspects of Christmas are associated with increased economic activity, the holiday has become an important event and a key selling period for retailers and businesses.