In today’s Blogmas post I will be sharing where some of the most famous and well-loved Christmas traditions came from. Some of these traditions play a massive part in what makes Christmas so special to us; however, not many people actually know where these Christmas traditions came from in the first place.
Kissing under the mistletoe
This famous Christmas tradition originated in ancient Greece, and was quite prevalent at wedding ceremonies. They believed that the mistletoe plant had strong associations with fertility.
Not only this, but in the Roman times mistletoe was a sign of peace. Enemies at war would meet under mistletoe to put their differences aside.
The wonderful man in the red hat. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without him. That being said, we actually have a monk named Saint Nicholas from the 4th century to thank for this tradition. Saint Nicholas came from a place called Myra, Asia Minor (now known as Turkey), and he had quite the reputation for his kindness and generosity towards children.
The legend states that he dropped some gold down the chimneys of a poor man who could not afford his daughter’s dowry. The bag of gold happened to fall in to a stocking that had been left to dry by the fireplace (hence the Christmas stockings!). Saint Nicholas then dropped a second bag of gold for the man’s other daughter, which caused the Father to investigate into who this donor was. When he found out, Saint Nicholas begged him not to reveal his identity. Word of these secret presents eventually got out, and from that day whenever somebody received a mysterious present, people assumed that it came from Saint Nicholas.
Bringing a tree into your home at Christmas time and decorating it perhaps one of the most famous Christmas traditions ever to exist. In Germany where the tradition began, this has been going on since about the 16th century. Devout Christians decorated trees in their homes as the triangular-shaped trees supposedly represented the Holy Spirit; with the three-points signifying the Trinity.
Way back in Egyptian and Roman times, any plant that remained green all year round was considered a sign of luck and good health. Toady we might have Christmas trees, but back then they used to hang evergreen boughs over their windows and doors. They believed that this would ward off illness, ghosts, witches, and evil spirits.
I remember the sheer excitement as children of receiving our advent calendars on December 1st. Well, this year I got thinking about the origin of this tradition. The first printed advent calendar came from Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. A little boy named Gerhard Lang was given a homemade calendar from his Mother. This consisted of 24 small sweets stuck onto cardboard.
When Gerhard grew up, he created a company called Reichhold and Lang, who printed the first cardboard calendar that had a picture for each day leading up to Christmas. As the years went on, the decided to add the little doors for children to open up as they felt it made it a bit more fun.
It’s believed that the 1812 folk tale of Hansel and Gretel first sparked the inspiration for gingerbread houses. The two youngsters stumbled across a candy house, and this inspired lots of people to try to create their own.
Many years ago, gingerbread was quite sacred. Therefore Christmas and Easter were the only occasions where people were allowed to make their own. It’s because of this that gingerbread is now considered quite a festive treat.
I hope this post has given you some insight into where your favourite Christmas traditions came from. This was such a fun post to write and find research for. For even more Blogmas content, click here: https://www.emgoingplaces.com/category/lifestyle-howtos-reviews-recommendations/blogmas-2020/
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