By: Gotthard Deutsch
Judæo-German word for "Christmas"; derived from the medieval Latin "Natale Domini" (see Wetzer and Welte, "Kirchenlexikon," vii. 588); Old Latin, "Dies Natalis"; French, "Noël." Moses Isserles speaks of the custom of sending presents on the eighth day after Nittel, which is called New-Year (Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, 148, 12). It was also customary among the Jews to play cards on Nittel night, which was explained as being done in opposition to the solemn celebration of that evening by Christians, while really it was merely a survival of the old German custom of merrymaking at this festival (see Tille, "Gesch. der Deutschen Weihnacht," Leipsic, 1900).