Happy bit after Christmas! I hope you all have been having a wonderful time.
I spent this Christmas listening to Bill Bryson's book about Christmas on Audible, so I am going to share a few here. I just love knowledge and history (yes, I know I say that a lot!) and Google do like me to update my site with content, so here are some Christmas facts!
1. Ancient Origins: The roots of Christmas celebrations can be traced back to ancient pagan festivals that celebrated the winter solstice, such as the Roman Saturnalia and the Germanic Yule.
2. Christian Adaptation: Christmas as we know it today was adapted by early Christians to coincide with these pagan festivals, with December 25th chosen as the date to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
3. Oliver Cromwell's Ban: In the 17th century, Christmas celebrations were banned in England by Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans, who viewed the holiday as too frivolous and pagan in nature. They weren't a lot of fun, those Puritans!
4. Dickensian Influence: Charles Dickens played a significant role in shaping modern Christmas traditions with his novella "A Christmas Carol," which popularized themes of charity, family, and redemption. It is a myth however that he "invented Christmas". It's true that it had been on the decline in the years before, but it was already seeing a resurgence of celebration and Dickens capitalised on that.
5. Royal Christmas Trees: The tradition of decorating Christmas trees in Britain can be traced back to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who popularized the custom in the 19th century after they were depicted with a decorated tree in an illustration for the Illustrated London News. They wanted to promote family life, and what better than a happy family picture around a Christmas tree.
6. Mince Pies: Traditional British mince pies originally contained meat, such as beef or mutton, along with fruits and spices. It makes me think of the Friends episode with the Rachel and the meat trifle! Over time, the recipe evolved to exclude meat, becoming the sweet, fruit-filled treat that most of you enjoy today, just not me!
7. Boxing Day: December 26th, known as Boxing Day in the UK, has its origins in the practice of giving boxes of gifts or money to servants and tradespeople as a token of appreciation for their service throughout the year.
8. Christmas Crackers: The tradition of pulling Christmas crackers, which contain paper hats, jokes, and small toys, originated in the mid-19th century by British confectioner Tom Smith, who was inspired by French bonbons wrapped in paper twists.
1. Coca-Cola Santa: While Coca-Cola's advertising campaigns in the 20th century did contribute to popularizing the image of Santa Claus in a red suit, the character himself predates these advertisements by centuries, originating from the figure of Saint Nicholas.
2. Christmas in Bethlehem: Despite popular belief, historical evidence suggests that Jesus was likely born in the spring or summer, rather than on December 25th. The choice of December 25th as the date for Christmas was influenced by the timing of pagan festivals celebrating the winter solstice.
I'm sure there were a lot more, but I can't remember any more alas. That *may* be the mulled wine!