Silent Night was written in 1818, by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be prepared in time for Christmas Eve. He was saddened by this and could not think of Christmas without music, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music. He sat down and wrote three stanzas. Later that night the people in the little Austrian Church sang Stille Nacht for the first time.St Francis of Assisi introduced Christmas Carols to formal church services.
Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome (125 136 AD) declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour. In 320 AD, Pope Julius I and other religious leaders specified 25 December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.26 December was traditionally known as St Stephens Day, but is more commonly known as Boxing Day. This expression came about because money was collected in alms boxes placed in churches during the festive season. This money was then distributed during to the poor and needy after Christmas.
Melbourne, Australia has a sporting Boxing Day tradition. The Melbourne Cricket Ground hosts a Cricket test match. Sometimes this attracts 90, 000 spectators. Cricket is Australias premier Summer sport.The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531 .....
At midnight on Christmas Eve 1914 firing from the German trenches suddenly stopped. A German brass band began playing Christmas carols. Early, Christmas morning, the German soldiers came out of their trenches, approaching the allied lines, calling Merry Christmas. At first the allied soldiers thought it was a trick, but they soon climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the German soldiers. The truce lasted a few days, and the men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings, sang carols and songs. They even played a game of Soccer.In 1937, the first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria.In 1974, the Australian city of Darwin is devastated late on Christmas Eve and in the early hours of the morning by Cyclone Tracy. .....
Births on 25 December
W C Field (1946)
Alice Cooper (1945)
Princess Alexandra (1936)
Paul Borget (1935)
Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889)
Deaths on 25 December
Conrad Hilton (1979)
Humphrey Bogart (1957)
Dorothy Wordsworth (1855)
Sir Isaac Newton (1727)
The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is Bing Crosbys White Christmas.
In Switzerland during the Reformation, al instrumental and choral music was banned from churches. In Germany, disapproval of carols resulted in some being converted into hymns.
Tinsel on the Christmas Tree is attributed to a woman whose husband died. She was left to bring up a large family of children herself. She was left to do everything working so hard and she was determined to make a happy time for them at Christmas. She prepared a Christmas Tree to surprise them on Christmas Day. Unfortunately spiders visited the tree, and crawled from branch to branch, making webs all over it. The Christ Child saw the tree and knew she would be devastated to find this on Christmas morning. He changed the spiders webs to shining silver.
The first church the Dutch built in New York City was named in St Nicholas honour St Nicholas Church.
Many Christmas customs are carryovers from pre Christian celebrations. Hanging gifts on trees is supposed to stem from tree worship of the Druids, and the belief that the tree was the giver of all good things. The Druids are also partly responsible for the use of mistletoe at Christmastime. They regarded the mistletoe as sacred, made certain that it never touched the ground, and dedicated it to the Goddess of Love, which explains the kissing that goes on under it. Originally, when a boy kissed a girl, he plucked a berry from the cluster and presented it to her. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses. .....
Visitors to Bethlehem rarely exceed a few thousand at Christmas. In 1995, there were rowdy celebrations of the first Christmas in a Palestinian controlled Bethlehem. The Christmas Eve service televised on 25 December is celebrated not in the Church of the Nativity, which stands over the place where Jesus was said to have been born, but in the nearby Franciscan Church of St. Catherine.
The largest functional Christmas cracker was 45.72 metres long and 3.04 metres in diameter. It was made by Australian international rugby player Ray Price in Markson Sparks of New South Wales, Australia and was pulled in the car park of the Westfield Shopping Town in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia on 9 November 1991.
A goose was customary Christmas fare until Henry VIII took it upon himself to tuck into a turkey. Mince pies were once shaped like mangers and are thought to date back to the sweetmeats formerly presented to the Vatican on Christmas Eve.
The freedom fighter and religious activist thought to have been born between 6 BC and 30 AD, by the name of Jesus Christ from the Greek christos, the anointed one. He was born in a stable in Bethlehem. He started out as a carpenter, but became a missionary following his baptism by a cousin, John. After proclaiming himself the Messiah, Jesus was betrayed by a disciple and crucified. He is later said to have risen from the dead.
If youre wondering why men may have not flocked to kiss you under the mistletoe, the answer may be that it was said that it will only work if the person you are kissing is a virgin. On the sixth day of the new moon, a Druid priest used to cut mistletoe from an oak tree with a sacred sickle. A passing virgin was called upon to catch the falling plant, which was not allowed to touch the ground.
The first commercial Christmas card, produced in 1846, featured a drawing of family members happily toasting each other with glasses of wine a shockingly decadent portrait that was immediately condemned by temperance advocates. In New South Wales, Australia, the average daily mailbag of six to seven million items of mail can triple over Christmas. The heaviest day ever was on 23 December 1997, when a record 23 million items were delivered in this state in Australia.
santas Reindeers are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.Saint Boniface is said to have substituted a fir tree for the pagan oak in the eighth century as a symbol of faith. Martin Luther fostered the Christmas tree cult by using a candlelit tree as a symbol of Christs heavenly home, while trees decorated with candles, fruit and paper flowers were introduced into Britain soon after Queen Victorias marriage.
The Celts used to bring a large log indoors as a tribute to the sun god. In Cornwall, revellers would chalk a symbol of a man on the log in a cheery reference to the human sacrifices who used to be thrown on the bonfire. .....
The Christmas tree was first decorated with lights in the 16th century. It is believed that Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, was the first to add lighted candles to the tree. He was so taken with the Christmas night sky that he wished to bring the lights of the stars into the home of his family. From this, decorating the tree with ornaments, messages and notes, and small gifts emerged in later centuries leading to our customs today.
Hanging the Christmas stocking on the hearth on Christmas Eve in the hope that it will be filled with presents the next morning is a custom that goes back about 400 years. It derived from the custom in Holland of children placing wooden shoes next to the hearth the night before the arrival of St. Nicholas. The children would fill their shoes with straw and food for St Nicholass for the donkey that carried the gifts. In exchange he would leave them a small gift such as small cakes, fruits and other gifts. Stockings were substituted for the shoes in Britain, most of Europe and in North America.
A wreath with holly, red berries and other decorations began from at least the 17th century. Holly, with its sharply pointed leaves, symbolised the thorns in Christs crown of thorns. Red berries symbolised the drops of Christs blood. A wreath at Christmas signified a home that celebrated to birth of Christ.
On Christmas morning since medieval times, church bells have been rung to announce to the world the coming of the saviour. It was customary from the 18th century to wear clothes and carry a small bell to signify the birth of Christ. The ringing of the bells was to signify the importance of the His Birth. .....
His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to claims he that he could perform miracles and devotion to him increased. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of Russia, where he was known by his red cape, flowing white beard, and bishops mitre.
In Greece, he is the patron saint of sailors, in France he was the patron of lawyers, and in Belgium the patron of children and travellers. Thousands of churches across Europe were dedicated to him and some time around the 12th century an official church holiday was created in his honor. The Feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated December 6 and the day was marked by gift giving and charity.
After the Reformation, European followers of St. Nicholas dwindled, but the legend was kept alive in Holland where the Dutch spelling of his name Sint Nikolaas was eventually transformed to Sinterklaas. Dutch children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace, and Sinterklaas would reward good children by placing treats in their shoes. Dutch colonists brought brought this tradition with them to America in the 17th century and here the Anglican name of Santa Claus emerged.
In 1822 Clement C. Moore composed the poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas, published as The Night Before Christmas as a gift for his children. In it, he portrays Santa Claus
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly,
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
Other countries feature different gift bearers for the Christmas or Advent season La Befana in Italy ~ The Three Kings in Spain, Puerto Rico, and Mexico ~ Christkindl or the Christ Child in Switzerland and Austria ~ Father Christmas in England ~ and Pere No .....
It is held that Protestant reformer Martin Luther first adorned trees with light. While coming home one December evening, the beauty of the stars shining through the branches of a fir inspired him to recreate the effect by placing candles on the branches of a small fir tree inside his home
The Christmas Tree was brought to England by Queen Victorias husband, Prince Albert from his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle, popularized the tree throughout Victorian England. Brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans, the Christmas tree became by the late 19th century. .....
The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the living creche, or Nativity scene, and the custom of passing out the candy crooks at such ceremonies soon spread throughout Europe.
According to the National Confectioners Association, in 1847 German immigrant August Imgard used the candy cane to decorate a Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. More than 50 years later, Bob McCormack of Albany, Georgia supposedly made candy canes as treats for family, friends and local shopkeepers. McCormacks brother in law, Catholic priest Gregory Keller, invented a machine in the 1950s that automated the production of candy canes, thus eliminating the usual laborious process of creating the treats and the popularity of the candy cane grew.
More recent explanations of the candy canes symbolism hold that the color white represents Christs purity, the red the blood he shed, and the presence of three red stripes the Holy Trinity. While factual evidence for these notions does not exist, they have become increasingly common and at times are even represented as fact. Regardless, the candy cane remains a favorite holiday treat and decoration. .....
Writing in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, May tested the story as he went along on his 4 year old daughter Barbara, who loved the storySadly, Robert Mays wife died around the time he was creating Rudolph, leaving Mays deeply in debt due to medical bills. However, he was able to persuade Sewell Avery, Montgomery Wards corporate president, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947, thus ensuring Mays financial security.
Mays story Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was printed commercially in 1947 and in 1948 a nine minute cartoon of the story was shown in theaters. When Mays brother in law, songwriter Johnny Marks, wrote the lyrics and melody for the song Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the Rudolph phenomenon was born. Turned down by many musical artists afraid to contend with the legend of Santa Claus, the song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 at the urging of Autrys wife. The song sold two million copies that year, going on to become one of the best selling songs of all time, second only to Bing Crosbys White Christmas. The 1964 television special about Rudolph, narrated by Burl Ives, remains a holiday favorite to this day and Rudolph himself has become a much loved Christmas icon. .....
After cleansing the temple and preparing for its rededication, it was found there was not enough oil to light the Ner Tamid, an oil lamp present in Jewish houses of worship which represents eternal light. Once lit, the lamp should never be extinguished.A search of the temple produced a small vial of undefiled oil enough for only one day. Miraculously, the Temple lights burned for eight days until a new supply of oil was brought. In remembrance of this miracle, one candle of the Menorah an eight branched candelabra is lit each of the eight days of Hanukkah. Hanukkah, which means dedication, is a Hebrew word when translated is commonly spelled Hanukah, Chanukah, and Hannukah due to different translations and customs.The tradition of receiving gifts on each of the eight days of Hanukkah is relatively new and due in part to the celebrations proximity to the Christmas season. .....
In the Kwanzaa ritual, seven candles called Mishumaa Saba are placed in a Kinara, or candleholder, which is then set upon the Mikeka, a mat usually made of straw.Three green candles are placed on the left, three red candles on the right and a black candle in the center, each candle representing one of the seven principles of the celebration. One candle is lit each day of the Kwanzaa celebration, beginning from left to right The colors of Kwanzaa ~ black, red and green ~ also have a special significance. Black symbolizes the faces of the African people, Red symbolizes the blood they have shed, and Green represents hope and the color of the motherland. The name itself Kwanzaa is a Swahili word meaning fruits of the harvest. .....