5 Suprising Facts In The History Of Christmas
- ArticlesandContent.com (CIRCA 2005)
- Oct 8, 2021 (written 2005)
Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays that there is. It started as a religious holiday but has grown into a cultural icon of the western world.
Many who celebrate Christmas today don’t even give much attention to its early Christian beginnings, but consider it rather a time of getting together with family and friends for good food and company and to share presents with one another. Many people also like to decorate pine trees and put them into their homes to celebrate the season. Still others will decorate their entire home or even their yards with lights and Christmas based decorations.
There are many things that are common place facts about Christmas. We all know the story of Santa Claus for instance. How he goes out on Christmas eve in his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. How he then brings presents to all of the good boys and girls of the world and only brings the bad children a lump of coal. We even know that he is able to reach every home on the planet in one night and that throughout the summer, elves work hard in his workshop at the North Pole to bring us these toys. We tell children this story so often that it no longer sounds surprising. However, some of the actual facts about Christmas can still surprise us without the help of the magical narrative.
There are many interesting and surprising facts that have come out of the years of Christmas celebrations around the world. Some of them are more surprising than others. And some are only surprising to certain people. Some of them are listed below.
Fact #1: Rudolph
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer was the most famous reindeer of all. While it may seem like it would take quite a bit to set him apart from the other magical flying reindeer, Rudolph has a nose that would glow, of its own accord, so brightly that Santa was able to use it as a navigational aid during foggy weather on a Christmas Eve. He was previously ridiculed by the other reindeer, but once his ability to navigate in inclement weather was discovered, he was loved by all the other reindeer and promoted to the rank of sleigh leader.
Fact #2: Salvation Army
There is no single charity that is as well known or does more good work than the Salvation Army. Christmas time is certainly their biggest time of the year to raise funds for their various humanitarian causes around the world. During the holiday, volunteers dress in Santa has and ring bells or sing to get the attention of would be donators.
Fact #3: Wild Christmas
In the middle ages, we had not yet devised the modern Christmas with its Santa Claus and flying reindeer. Early Christmas ideas of it being a devout religious observance of the birthday of Jesus Christ were being replaced with wild celebration. This was partly due to the fact that in the middle ages, the middle of winter was when the animals were all slaughtered to so they would not need to feed them for the rest of the winter. This meant that for the time, settlers had an abundance of fresh meat. Often at the same time, locally grown beer would be done fermenting and be ready to drink. This led to many huge gathering where people were eating well and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. It is then no wonder that the Christmas celebrators were a wild bunch.
Fact #4: Xmas
While many people who are not Christians have given the holiday this name in a kind of sacrilegious attempt to make the holiday their own, the basis for this change of the name of Christmas need not be against the birth of Christ at all. In fact, it has been spelled this way in some parts of Europe for hundreds of years. It is derived from the Greek Xristos, which does mean Christ when translated.
Fact #5: Candy Canes
It just wouldn’t be a modern Christmas without candy canes being strung up on every horizontal surface. They were originally designed to the first religious treat. An Indiana candy maker came up with the idea, making them white to show the purity of Christ. Then he made them in a shape which could either represent the J in Jesus or the staff used by a Sheppard. Jesus was said to be the Sheppard of his people. They were originally stained red to show the blood of Christ, but this proved more work than many who made them would go to. It wasn’t until the 1950’s, almost 200 years after they were first designed that an automated process of adding the stripes would be invented. This sealed the candy cane in our Christmas history. Today, however, almost no one can tell you of their religious beginnings.