Month: December 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Ciao friends!!!

Its just 1 day more for Christmas! I could see each and every people around the world filled with Ecstasy and making preparations for the most awaited Christmas Eve…  I could sense the Christmas fever even in my city unusually high intimating the joy of this festive season. I am enjoying this revolution a lot though 🙂 🙂 🙂

So its me here to wish you all and your family members A MERRY CHRISTMAS 🙂

Do enjoy this Christmas Eve with loads and loads of happiness 🙂 🙂 🙂

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History of Christmas Wreath and Stocking

The history of Christmas Wreath tells us that the wreaths have their origin in the early times of pre-Christianity. The Eastern European people used to light up evergreen wreaths in the cold winter evenings with the hope of early spring and sunshine.

This custom was kept up by the Christians and now, this is primarily a Catholic custom. This custom or tradition is followed during Advent.

Generally, there are four candles in a circle of evergreen with another candle in the middle. The symbolism of evergreen is the continuity of life and the prickly holly reminds one of the Cross. The circle of the wreath is without beginning or end meaning that God is eternal, soul immortal and life everlasting. The wreath is decorated with nuts, pinecones and other seedpods which symbolize resurrection and life. We find from the history of Christmas wreath either four white candles or three violet and one rose candle are used. Each day one candle is lighted and the middle candle is lighted on Christmas Eve to signify the arrival of Jesus. A short prayer can be held with the lighting of the candle. Families light up the Advent wreath when they are about to have dinner. The prayer is held after the blessing of the food. This is the time when the faithful reaffirm his belief in the tenets of Christianity.

There are different types of Christmas wreaths. The history of Christmas wreath tells us that the Advent wreath has a special place as it symbolizes belief, prayers and hopes. The other type is the decorative wreaths. These wreaths decorate the home or Christmas tree and are mainly ornamental. Discover all about Christmas wreaths from Christmas Carnivals.

Courtesy: http://www.christmascarnivals.com

History of Christmas stocking:

There was a kindly nobleman whose wife had died of an illness leaving the nobleman and histhree daughters in despair. After losing all his money in useless and bad inventions the family had to move into a peasant’s cottage, where the daughters did their own cooking, sewing and cleaning.

When it came time for the daughters to marry, the father became even more depressed as his daughters could not marry without dowries, money and property given to the new husband’s family.

One night after the daughters had washed out their clothing they hung their stockings over the fireplace to dry. That night Saint Nicholas, knowing the despair of the father, stopped by the nobleman’s house. Looking in the window Saint Nicholas saw that the family had gone to bed. He also noticed the daughters stockings. Inspiration struck Saint Nicholas and he took three small bags of gold from his pouch and threw them one by one down the chimney and they landed in the stockings.

The next morning when the daughters awoke they found their stockings contained enough gold for them to get married. The nobleman was able to see his three daughters marry and he lived a long and happy life.

Children all over the world continue the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings. In some countries children have similar customs, in France the children place their shoes by the fireplace, a tradition dating back to when children wore wooden peasant shoes.

In Holland the children fill their shoes with hay and a carrot for the horse of Sintirklass. In Hungary children shine their shoes before putting them near the door or a window sill.

Italian children leave their shoes out the night before Epiphany, January 5, for La Befana the good witch. And in Puerto Rico children put greens and flowers in small boxes and place them under their beds for the camels of the Three Kings.

The first mention Christmas stockings being hung from or near a chimney were made only earlier this century by the illustrator, Thomas Nast, through his pictures and the writer, Clement Moore, in a story about a ‘visit from St.Nick’. The story quickly caught on.

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there”

Up until lately, it was traditional to receive small items like fruit, nuts and candy in your stocking, but these have been replaced in the last half-century by more expensive gifts in many homes.

Courtesy: http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com

History of Christmas Carols:

Word Origin

The word carol or carole is a medieval word of French and Anglo-Norman origin, believed to mean a dance song or a circle dance accompanied by singing. Broadly defined, carols express religious joy and is often associated to the Christmas season. Carols are also used to describe late medieval English songs on various subjects with a verse and refrain. Often the verse and refrain (also called burden) alternates.

History of Christmas Carols

It is unclear when the first carol was written but it is believed that circa 1350 to 1550 is the golden age of English carols and most of the carols followed the verse-refrain pattern.

During the 14th century carols became a popular religious song form. The theme often revolved around a saint, the Christ child or the Virgin Mary, at times blending two languages such as English and Latin.

By the 15th century the carol was also considered as art music. During this time, elaborate arrangements were made and carols were considered an important contribution to English medieval music. The Fayrfax Manuscript, a court songbook featuring carols, was written by the end of the 15th century. The songs were written for 3 or 4 voices and themes were mostly on the Passion of Christ.

By the 16th century though, the popularity of carols faltered, almost disappearing entirely if not for the revival that happened by the middle of the 18th century. Most of the carols we know today were written during this period.

Courtesy: http://musiced.about.com/od/christmasnewyeararticles/a/carols.htm

History of Christmas Trees and Ornaments

The fir tree has a long association with Christianity, it began in Germany almost 1,000 years ago when St Boniface, who converted the German people to Christianity, was said to have come across a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree. In anger, St Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree. St Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith. But it was not until the 16th century that fir trees were brought indoors at Christmas time.

CHRISTMAS TREE TRADITION HAS ANCIENT ORIGINS

King Tut never saw a Christmas tree, but he would have understood the tradition which traces back long before the first Christmas, says David Robson, Extension Educator, Horticulture with the Springfield Extension Center.

The Egyptians were part of a long line of cultures that treasured and worshipped evergreens. When the winter solstice arrive, they brought green date palm leaves into their homes to symbolize life’s triumph over death.

The Romans celebrated the winter solstice with a fest called Saturnalia in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture. They decorated their houses with greens and lights and exchanged gifts. They gave coins for prosperity, pastries for happiness, and lamps to light one’s journey through life.

Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.

Late in the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early traditions.

Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ’s birth.

The Christmas tree tradition most likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio, adds Robson.

But the custom spread slowly. The Puritans banned Christmas in New England. Even as late as 1851, a Cleveland minister nearly lost his job because he allowed a tree in his church. Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through 1870, and sometimes expelled students who stayed home.

The Christmas tree market was born in 1851 when Catskill farmer Mark Carr hauled two ox sleds of evergreens into New York City and sold them all. By 1900, one in five American families had a Christmas tree, and 20 years later, the custom was nearly universal.

Christmas tree farms sprang up during the depression. Nurserymen couldn’t sell their evergreens for landscaping, so they cut them for Christmas trees. Cultivated trees were preferred because they have a more symmetrical shape then wild ones.

Six species account for about 90 percent of the nation’s Christmas tree trade. Scotch pine ranks first, comprising about 40 percent of the market, followed by Douglas fir which accounts for about 35 percent. The other big sellers are noble fir, white pine, balsam fir and white spruce.

Courtesy: http://www.christmas-tree.com

St. Boniface Story

Why do we have a decorated Christmas Tree? In the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the Word of God. He did many good works there, and spent much time in Thuringia, an area which was to become the cradle of the Christmas Decoration Industry.

Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God’s Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

Courtesy: http://www.christmasarchives.com

True History of Christmas

Though there are various explanations about the real History of Christmas, True History of Christmas attempts to explore the actual history behind it.

True History of Christmas is replete with numerous mythical stories. The story of Nativity or the birth of Christ as depicted in the Gospel of Luke is all about the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus in order to attend the census ordered by the Roman emperor Augustus. They journeyed for 4-5 days and took shelter in a stable, where Mary delivered baby Jesus.

The Gospel of Matthew refers to the story of the Magi or the three wise men that arrived in Bethlehem by observing a specific star in the night sky. This is known as the Star of Bethlehem. Incidentally they entered into King Herod’s palace and enquired about the birth of young Messiah (Savior). The deceitful Herod at once became worried about his being dethroned. He directed the Magi to continue their journey and inform him if they could trace the birth of such young king. The star of Bethlehem directed the Magi to the manger of the baby Jesus. They offered their gifts and paid homage to their Lord. But the Magi didn’t inform Herod as they got a divine warning. An angel told Joseph to flee with his family to Egypt. Meanwhile, Herod ordered that all male children of Bethlehem under the age of 2 be killed.

The actual Christmas History does not mention the exact date of birth of Christ. It may occur between the time of the first appearance of the star and the arrival of Magi in Herod’s court during (6-4BC).

True Christmas History interprets Dec.25 as the Day of Feast. This is because the Roman pagan sun god Mithras’ birthday as well as the date of the Annunciation (March25, AD 29) of Christ fell on this day.

Courtesy: http://www.christmascarnivals.com