10 Little Known Facts About Christmas
10 facts about Christmas that just might surprise you.
You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen; Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen? Well, it was really Dunder and Blixem
The FW reports:
The reindeer that take Santa on his trip underwent some rebranding through history. In the original draft of 'A Visit from St. Nicholas,' Donner and Blitzen went by the far clunkier monikers "Dunder" and "Blixem." The names, much like Santa, were taken from the Dutch oath for the words that mean "thunder and lightning." Over time, editors tinkered with the reindeer names we are familiar with today. After all, it's pretty hard to think of Rudolph as the outcast reindeer when he's on a team with a guy named "Dunder."
Christmas trees were first decorated with foods such as apples, nuts and dates.
According to Wikipedia:
The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the archangel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.
The Christmas tree has also been known as the "Yule-tree", especially in discussions of its folkloric origins
The tradition of naughty children getting a lump of coal in their stocking comes from Italy.
Mental Floss says:
The tradition of giving misbehaving children lumps of fossil fuel predates the Santa we know, and is also associated with St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas and Italy’s la Befana...Santa and la Befana both get into people’s homes via the fireplace chimney and leave gifts in stockings hung from the mantel. Sinterklaas’ assistant, Black Pete, also comes down the chimney and places gifts in shoes left out near the fireplace. St. Nick used to come in the window, and then switched to the chimney when they became common in Europe. Like Sinterklaas, his presents are traditionally slipped into shoes sitting by the fire.
Did you know that giving presents were once banned by the Catholic Church, it was believed that gift giving was connected to paganism.
According to Wikipedia:
In the 17th century, the Puritans had laws forbidding the celebration of Christmas, unlike the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church, the latter of which they separated from. Later, in the 20th century, Christmas celebrations were prohibited under the doctrine of the state atheism in the Soviet Union. In the USSR, the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, and encouraged them to spit on crucifixes as a protest against this holiday; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement.
Ever wonder where X-Mas came from? X means Christ in Greek so to shorten the word Christmas we sometimes use X-Mas.
First of all, you have to understand that it is not the letter X that is put into Christmas. We see the English letter X there, but actually what it involves is the first letter of the Greek name for Christ. Christos is the New Testament Greek for Christ. The first letter of the Greek word Christos is transliterated into our alphabet as an X. That X has come through church history to be a shorthand symbol for the name of Christ.
Do you know why we say the Twelve Days of Christmas? It's believed that it took the 3 kings 12 days to find baby Jesus.
January 6, which is 12 days after Christmas in the Gregorian calendar, marks not only the end of the Christmas holidays but also the start of the Carnival season, which climaxes with Mardi Gras. In some European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, children dress as the three kings and visit houses. In their roles as the kings, or wise men, they sing about the Jesus’ birth and pay homage to the “king of kings”. They are rewarded with praise and cookies.
Many years ago in England, a traditional Christmas dinner included a pig head served with mustard.
According to Fairmont:
Before turkey, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig's head and mustard in the middle ages and prior to that was "black bird pie" as the boar had been hunted to extinction.
Did you know that tinsel was once made of real silver! It was invented in Germany in 1610.
According to Wikipedia:
Tinsel was invented in Nuremberg around 1610. Tinsel was originally made from extruded strands of silver. Because silver tarnishes quickly, other shiny metals were substituted. Before the 16th century, tinsel was used for adorning sculptures rather than Christmas trees. It was added to Christmas trees to enhance the flickering of the candles on the tree. Tinsel was used to represent the starry sky over a Nativity scene.
Seattle Washington holds the record for the "World's tallest Christmas tree."
The world's tallest cut Christmas tree was a 67.36 m (221 ft) Douglas fir (Pseudotsga menziesii) erected and decorated at Northgate Shopping Center, Seattle, Washington, USA, in December 1950.
It is said that candy canes were invented by a candy maker in Indiana. He wanted to use them to spread the name Jesus around the world.
The Smithsonian says this is the most common retelling:
A candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols from the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.
He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.
The candymaker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.
Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.