Tue Dec 11, 2012, 11:42 AM
niyad (30,978 posts)
10 things you may not have known about christmas (a REALLLY good list for the war on xmas group)
Ten Things You Might Not Know About Christmas
There are so many traditions associated with Christmas. Many of them we just take for granted, accepting the “prevailing wisdom” as to their origins. But sometimes things are not what they seem. Here are ten things that you may not have known…
1. Christmas was once against the law in America. When the Puritans came to this continent they brought their objection to Christmas with them. They believed it was a creation of man, not Christ, so it should not be considered a holy day. They weren’t too keen on the revelry that went along with the holiday, either. Christmas was celebrated in America by Anglicans but most Protestant groups forbade it. It wasn’t until June 26, 1870 that Christmas took its official place on the American holiday calendar.
2. Christmas trees were forbidden as a part of the celebrations until as late as 1640. Since the tradition of bringing evergreen boughs or trees into the home at the Winter Solstice was pagan in origin, the early Church forbade them. The first recorded instance of a Christmas tree dates to 1510 when the town of Riga in Latvia brought a tree into the town square, decorated it and then burned it. Thankfully, we have relegated the burning part to the Yule log. Approximately 30-35 million Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
3. Speaking of “Yule,” that word is believed to originate from the Anglo-Saxon for “wheel” (though scholars are not completely certain). A mid-winter festival known by this name has been celebrated since well before 1000 CE, marking the Winter Solstice. The term “yuletide” as a reference to the Christmas season dates back to about 1475.
4. Christmas songs date back to the 4th century: St. Hilary of Poitiers composed Jesus refulsit omnium for a Christmas Mass. The Renaissance brought lighter songs and the earliest English carol came in 1410. It was composed by Ritson and is found in the Ritson Manuscript. One of the oldest carols that we still sing today is “O Tannenbaum” from Germany. The most popular Christian carol is “Silent Night,” while the most popular secular song is “White Christmas.”
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10 things you may not have known about christmas (a REALLLY good list for the war on xmas group) (Original post)
Response to niyad (Original post)
Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:03 PM
LiberalEsto (20,564 posts)
1. The first documented Xmas tree was in Estonia, not Latvia, in 1441
According to historical records, Estonians were burning Christmas trees 69 years before the first documented Latvian tree.
Latvia and Estonia joust over first Christmas tree
"In 1510 a group of merchants built a pyramid-shaped wooden structure dubbed a "tree", decorated with dried flowers, fruit and vegetables, and even straw toys.
They are thought to have paraded it around their meeting hall before burning it to signify the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.
Estonians, meanwhile, insist that the world's first Christmas tree was erected in front of Tallinn town hall in 1441 as part of a winter ritual where merchants and single women danced around the tree and later set it on fire."