Monday 21 December 2020

Christmas traditions - where did they come from?

I know the news yesterday was disappointing at best and devasting at worst, but in a bid to bring a smile and to celebrate the season, I wanted to share a quick post about Christmas traditions.

Do you ever wonder where some of our Christmas traditions first originated from?

* Decorating a tree - the first decorated tree is thought to date back to Pagans and Christians at the time of winter solstice. Fir branches and follage was used to decorate their homes and to signify the coming spring and then a Christmas tree was given to Queen Victoria by her husband, brought from Germany, and the whole idea really took on.

* Hanging stockings - St Nicholas, patron saint of children, according to legend threw gold coins down the chimney of a poor family's house and they fell into a stocking. Hence the gold chocolate coins we have all come to love, and the hanging of stockings each year

* Pulling crackers - these were invented by a sweet maker, Thomas Smith, in 1847. He popped mottos inside and added a strip of paper coated in a chemical to make the sweet pop when opened. Over time, the sweet was replaced with a gift and the idea of the cracker was born.

* Wreath on the door - this apparently goes back to the Roman era as a sign of honour and victory. The circular shape symbolises eternal life and the greenery new life.

* Advent calendars - this tradition is said to have started in 19th century in Germany when people would mark the days to Christmas with chalk on their doors, and the first advent calendar was made in 1851 (you can the one I made years ago here).

* Sending Christmas cards - the first card was commissioned in the UK in 1843 by Victorian entrepreneur Sir Henry Cole, as he was too busy to write individual cards to his family. The Royal family then started sending Christmas cards and their popularity grew. Despite the modern age - Facebook message, e-card or Elf Yourself app, anyone? - some 800 million boxes of cards were sold this time last year.

* Kiss under mistletoe - to druids, mistletoe symbolised healing and fertility and in Scandinavia, myths associated it with the goddess of love. The idea of kissing under mistletoe was a way of wishing luck on girls waiting to marry. 

Did you know any of these stories before? What are your family's Christmas traditions?


No comments

Post a Comment

Blogger Template by pipdig