086 The First Boxing Day Entry

The next part of the A-Z of Christmas is here… Enjoy!!!

The A –Z of Christmas Part 2

Kings – The Kings or the Three Wise Men visited Jesus carrying three gifts which were gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their namesand countries of origin are not known but some have speculated that they arrived from India, being astrologers who interpreted the coming of Jesus from the rise of what we call the Star of Bethlehem. In exchange for the three gifts, Mary gave them the swaddling clothes Jesus was born in. Some historians believe that the men were not of royal descent but merely farmers who saw the sign that was the Star.

Lights- Even long before there were light bulbs, lighting the house was popular among those who could afford to use candles. After Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb, an employee of Edison invented the stringed lights bulbs that we now know as the Christmas lights. Initially the cost of lighting up the house was quite high as it was dangerous and required an expert electrician, and was only undertaken by the rich. As time passed, a Spanish inventor improvised the stringed light bulbs making them more suitable to be hung on the tree.

Mistletoe – Christmas tradition dictates that people kiss under the mistletoe during Christmas. The history of the mistletoe is a long and interesting one. It was believed that the mistletoe wood was used to make the crucifixion cross, and hence it was cursed to remain forever as a parasite. The Druids of the Roman era believed that the mistletoe had mystical powers and hung them in their homes. This practice was initially banned in the Dark Ages as it was believed to be pagan. However, the tradition was revived in Victorian England, when people started hanging them in homes once again during Christmas.

North Pole – The North Pole is believed to be Santa’s home, according to the popular children’s legend. Well. The reason why it is chosen is not too hard to guess, it fits in with the popular imagery of the reindeer and the “Winter Wonderland” landscape. Of course, geographically, the true North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, while the Magnetic North Pole lies somewhere in the Canadian Arctic. The place that is promoted to be Santa’s North Pole is a small village in the Finnish Lapland, where there really are reindeers and a lot of snow.

Ornaments- There are many types of ornaments that are usually placed on the Christmas tree, to beautify it, and they include round balls, angels, candy canes and of course, the famous star at the top of the tree. Ornaments were, at first, only made in Germany. They were hand-blown glass ornaments, and coveted for their beauty especially in England, making them family heirlooms. Japan was next to get involved in the ornament business, but during the World Wars, immense pressure led England and the US to commercially produce their own ornaments.

Pinata – The Pinata is atraditional Mexican Christmas game that has become famous (or infamous), for the many mishaps it causes. The game involves blindfolding a person with a stick, and then spinning him round and round. The objective of the game is for the blindfolded person to hit and break open the piñata, which is hung from the ceiling. The piñata is a colourful object, usually a seven –pointed star or an animal, filled with candy and sweets. The seven pointed star represents the seven deadly sins and breaking it open to reveal the rewards signifies the overcoming of the sins.

Queen Victoria – Queen Victoria, the longest reigning English monarch introduced and popularized the tradition of lighting the Christams tree during Christmas in England when Prince Albert brought back a tree for mainland Europe. She placed it in the palace courtyard and from then on the Christmas tree became a must for every Christmas. The Victorian era, which bears her name, was also responsible for introducing many aspects of modern Christmas, including Boxing Day, the mistletoe, the Christmas turkey and the Christmas card.

Reindeer – Santa’s reindeer have become an iconic symbol of Christmas, especially Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer, popularized by the Christmas carol of the same name. Reindeer are found in the wild only in Siberia and Lapland. The reason why there are chosen to be Santa’s pets… is simply because reindeer are the animal of burden in the tundra.