Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fun Christmas Facts

I like to learn about how holidays came about and how traditions grow over time.  I will share some things I have learned about Christmas since it is that time of year after all.

Gift giving was actually started by Pagans for Saturnalia and Christians who agreed that the gifts could symbolize the presents brought to baby Jesus continued it with Christmas celebrations.

The Santa Claus tradition began with a very generous man in the middle ages.  His name was Saint Nicholaus of Myra.  He would go around the poor part of his village and give gifts to the children.  I still believe in Santa, do you?

Elves and reindeer were brought about by Pagan religions.

Decorating Christmas trees began in Scandinavia where people believed Evergreens scared away the devil.  In Germany fir trees were decorated to represent the tree in the Garden of Eden.  I am not sure which originated first.

The candy cane was made to symbolize Jesus.  The red was for his blood and the white symbolized sins being washed away.  The shape of the candy cane symbolizes the shepherd's crook.

In the middle ages, Christmas was a rowdy celebration much like Mardi Gras.

Christmas caroling began in England and was called "Wassailing"-toasting neighbors to a long and healthy life.

Whether your traditions or customs bring you peace or shenanigans at Christmas time, I wish everyone good memories and may you be surrounded by family and friends who love you.  Merry Christmas!