We are so glad it is finally Christmas! Gifts are wrapped (unless you’re a procrastinator like I am and then you hope you can find a sack to throw things in before bed tonight), stockings are hung, and trees are decorated. So now we get to enjoy this wonderful time with our friends and family.
As we reflect on this past year and all we are thankful to have in our lives, it is also fun to learn about some of our holiday traditions.
While originally decorated with candles instead of lights, this tradition dates back to the 15th Century. The 16th Century saw these trees being decorated outside of churches with delicious treats to be enjoyed (apples, nuts, candies, etc). Now we see so many different decorations that each tree is a treat of its own.
It seems to be wide-spread knowledge that lots of mistletoe can kill the trees in which it grows, but did you know it first sprouts from the seeds in bird poop? The custom of kissing under the mistletoe also dates back to the 16th Century (when we came up with the story of Saint Nick falling in love under it!). But before Christian times, it represented “male essence” and romance, so that is probably really why we smooch under these plants.
A noel, or Christmas carol, is a song about Christmas or winter and date back to the 4th Century in Rome. In many countries, it is considered quite bad luck to play Christmas songs before December or after Christmas (better not tell all the retailers that start playing them after Halloween). Carolling, or wassailing as it is originally known, is the traditions of going house-to-house (or gathering around a tree) to sing Christmas songs. But be careful where you go a wassailing, because in some places it is done by rowdy drunks demanding free food and drink from people in their homes. We prefer the sort where we bring drinks and just sing for your enjoyment.
So have a very Merry Christmas. And as we partake in our favorite Christmas activity of singing Happy Birthday and eating Baby Jesus Birthday cake, what fun traditions do you have at this most wonderful time of the year?