The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
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11-12-2013, 07:09 PM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2013 10:03 AM by Adrianime.)
The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
Hello, I had an idea earlier this year to show some semi atheistic behavior on facebook in a very subtle way. I'm an open atheist, but I never talk about it and I never make atheistic posts (or talk about religion at all on FB).

Here is my idea: I am a lifelong Christmas celebrator, and I want to do a "12 days of Christmas facts". I want to post each day, the origin of a Christmas tradition, and see who responds and what they say.

Something like:
"12 days of Christmas history! Day 1: Did you know the Christmas tree originates from...."

So now I am gathering some information. The following is all of the information I got from TTA podcast "The Christ That Stole Christmas" - Nov 28, 2012.

Feel free to add anything extra!!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-Christmas Tree
--Ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun god Ra, Who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disc in his crown. The winter solstice represented the sun god regaining his strength (for he was at full strength in the summer). At the solstice when Ra started to recover, Egyptians would fill their homes with green palms and it symbolized the triumph of life over death.
--Early Romans marked the solstice with the feast of Saturnalia, in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. They knew the solstic meant things would begin to grow again. They decorated their homes with evergreen boughs.
--Northern European druids (Celtic priests) also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life.
--The Vikings of scandinavia thought evergreens were a plant of their sun god, Baldur.
--16th Century Germany, devout Christians began bringing Christmas trees into their homes. Some built pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles.
--Christmas trees were not accepted in the U.S. for a long time. As late as the 1840s, Christmas trees were condemned as pagan symbols. It took time to catch on. by 1900 about 1 in 5 families would do the Christmas tree. As decades passed The Christmas tree tradition became more universal.

-Exchanging gifts
--Part of the festival of Saturnalia.
--Was banned by the Catholic Church in the middle ages because of its pagan origins.

-Mistletoe
--Pagan symbol of life and fertility.
--Magic plant by the druids and the Greeks.
--In Scandinavia, they called it the plant of peace. It is said that when enemies would come together to declare a truce, mistletoe was there. Spouses who were fighting would meet at the mistletoe to kiss and makeup.

-Xmas
--X comes from the first letter in the greek word for Christ, Χριστός.

-Carols
--Pagan songs sung in Europe for the winter solstice celebrations. People danced around big stone circles.
--The word carol means to dance to something.
--Early Christians took over the Pagan soltice celebrations and gave people Christian songs to sing instead of Pagan ones.
--In AD 129, a Roman bishop said a song called "the Angel's Hymn" should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome.
--More Christmas carols were written in and after the 700s in Europe.
--Popularity in carols dropped possibly due to the fact that they were written and sung in latin.
--Saint Francis in 1223 started nativity plays in Italy. In these plays they sang songs called canticles that told a story. These songs were usually in the common language so people in the audience could understand and get into them. From this point carols took off and spread to France, Spain, Germany, and throughout Europe. Eventually making their way here to the states.

-Santa Claus
--Saint Nicholas was a bishop in the 4th century in a place called Myra, which is part of modern day Turkey.
--He was hugely rich, because his parents died when he was a kid and left him a fortune.
--He was known to be a kind man, who loved helping people, especially the poor.
--He would give secret gifts to people he felt really needed it.
--He was eventually exiled and imprisoned.
-Stockings (story)
--There was a poor man who had no money and three daughters.
--Because he had no money for a wedding dowry his daughters could not get married.
--One night, Saint Nicholas came by and dropped a bag of gold down the chimney, and it landed inside of a stocking that had been hung up by the fire to dry. This gold meant the first daughter could marry.
--This happened again later with the second daughter. The father wanted to find out who is doing this, so he secretly waited by the fire until one day he caught Nicholas dropping in the bag of gold and Nicholas said, "Please don't tell anybody what I'm doing."
--The father could not keep the secret, and the news spread.
--It became a legend and when anybody got a gift in secret it was thought that maybe it came from Saint Nicholas.
--Because of his kind heart he was made a saint.
-Santa Claus origins.
--By 16th century Europe, stories of Saint Nick had become unpopular.
--In the UK, they came up with a character, father Christmas, to deliver presents to children.
--Different countries called him different names.
--In the US he was called Kris Kringle.
--Dutch settlers in the US brought over stories of Saint Nicholas, and they mingled them with Kris Kringle to become Sinterklass.
--Santa Claus comes from Sinterklass.
-Santa's Reindeer
--"A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore.
--In this poem 8 reindeer are described.
--Rudolph the red nosed reindeer was written in 1939.

-Candycanes
--250 years ago in germany there were white sugar sticks, not striped or curved.
--There was a choir master who was worried about kids during the long Christmas nativity service.
--To keep the kids from getting fidgety, he gave kids a treat.
--He wanted to remind them of Christmas, so he made the sugar sticks into a J shape to remind them of a shepherds staff.
--Some time around 1900 they added the red stripes in and added peppermint or wintergreen flavor.
--Around 1920, a man in Georgia named Bob McCormack wanted to make candy canes for his family and friends. He later started mass-producing candy canes for his own business which he named Bobs Candies. This is where many of our candy canes come from today.

-Yule logs
--Vikings of Scandinavia used to burn Yule logs and have a party to celebrate their sun god Baldur.
--They would party until the last ember waned.

-25th of december
--This was the date of the winter solstice feast of Mithras, a Roman god of light.
--This celebration and other similar celebrations most likely account for the date of the 25th of December.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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12-12-2013, 08:26 AM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
I have nothing to add but I want to support your idea! Thumbsup
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12-12-2013, 09:35 AM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
I was utterly flabbergasted and the sheer amount of Christians that actually think Jesus was born on December 25th. It's seriously sad.

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12-12-2013, 09:38 AM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
(12-12-2013 09:35 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  I was utterly flabbergasted and the sheer amount of Christians that actually think Jesus was born on December 25th. It's seriously sad.

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(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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12-12-2013, 12:04 PM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
@Colour, thanks!

@King, I'm curious if my ultra religious extended family actually believes that according to scripture Jesus was born on the 25th. Although I'm not going to debate them about it (I really don't know them that well).

@Rev, nice you read my thread! Tongue

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17-12-2013, 01:48 AM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
Alright, I'm officially starting to post these. I doubt I will get any interesting responses, but we will see!

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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17-12-2013, 08:16 AM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
Love the idea! May steal it Wink
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17-12-2013, 09:07 AM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
Ten points for the additional information that can stir the "war on Christmas"! YAY!! Good stuff. Thumbsup

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17-12-2013, 12:10 PM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
Sabrina, sweet, 10 points! I can only imagine all the goodies I'll get from accumulating points Thumbsup. Haha

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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17-12-2013, 02:41 PM
RE: The origins of Christmas traditions. FACEBOOK style.
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?s...2201620116

Seth repeated some of the things from his podcast in a note on facebook (linked above).

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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