Christmas Fun Facts

Some fun facts to ponder from Allan Bevere:

-In 1836, Alabama became the first state in the USA to declare Christmas a legal holiday. In 1907, Oklahoma became the last USA state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.

-Oliver Cromwell, in England banned Christmas Carols between 1649 and 1660. Cromwell thought that Christmas should be a very solemn day so he banned carols and parties. The only celebration was by a sermon and a prayer service.

-A wreath with holly, red berries and other decorations began from at least the 17th century. Holly, with its sharply pointed leaves, symbolized the thorns in Christ’s crown-of-thorns. Red berries symbolized the drops of Christ’s blood. A wreath at Christmas signified a home that celebrated the birth of Christ.

-An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees. A spider web found on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck.

-The tradition of gifts seems to have started with the gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus. The exchanging of gifts between people started in about the 1800’s.

-Decorating with holly was an important practice for the Druids, a pagan tribe in northern Europe. Because holly leaves were always green, the Druids believed that the sun never deserted the plant, and it was therefore sacred. Maidens in Old England thought that if they attached holly to their beds it would keep the devil from turning them into witches.

-The origin of hanging Christmas stockings comes to us from southern Europe. One legend says that an old man was in despair because he had no money for his daughter’s dowries. St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the chimney, which happened to fall into a stocking hung up to dry.

-In India, they decorate banana trees at Christmas time.

-In North America, children put stockings out at Christmas time. Their Dutch counterparts, however, use shoes. Dutch children set out shoes to receive gifts any time between mid-November and December 5, St. Nicholas’ birthday.

-The word “Christmas” comes from Cristes mæsse, an old English phrase that means “Mass of Christ.”

-More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.

-It is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.

-A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.

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