All things Christmas

December 24, 2018

This week we thought we’d do something different, everybody has plans, everybody is running around like a headless chicken to try and find/prepare/plan that final thing!

This week we thought we’d write about some facts about christmas and some interesting and sometimes quirky global Christmas traditions, who knows, maybe you might want to “bolt” one of these on to your existing plans?

Christmas is quite ancient in origin and revolved around pagan celebrations such as Deus Sol Invictus (Dec 25), the Kalends (Jan 1-5), and Saturnalia (Dec 17-23). Ultimately the date  of the 24/25th was associated with the birth of Christ, and was thus spread to all the corners of the world.

Mistletoe, with its penchant for staying green and bearing fruit in Winter, was held particularly sacred by the Celtic Druids, Norse peoples and Native American Indians. Evergreen trees have always been revered for similar reasons, eventually being co-opted into the Christmas celebrations.

One of our favourite Christmas traditions hails from Iceland and really appeals to our love of books. It is habitual in Iceland to exchange books on Christmas Eve and then spend the rest of the evening reading the books and eating chocolate, sounds like heaven to me!

Did you know that fruit cake originated in ancient Egypt? It was considered mandatory to get into the afterlife, now it is mandatory with tea :-)

In the Ukraine, there are twelve course to their Christmas meal, one for each of the apostles.

In Guatemala, during the first week of Advent, local men in devil costumes run in the streets and chase children. This part of the festivities known as “The Devil’s Reign” ends on December 7th with La Quema del Diablo (“The Burning of the Devil”). This is a cleansing ceremony where people place things they do not want or need (or symbols thereof) on to a big pile, cover it with firecrackers and burn it all.

In the city of Caracas in Venezuela, it has become a well established (they shut down traffic) tradition to head to mass in roller skates on Christmas Day, lovely!

Whatever you do, however you celebrate, we do hope you have a lovely Christmas and a magical New Year!