Known and Unknown facts about Christmas and Christmas tree
Christmas is the grandest festival and it is celebrated across the world on 25th December. Second day is called Boxing day, which falls on 26th December. Christmas tree is an integral part of Christmas celebrations. All over the world, people decorate this tree with lights, coloured balls, etc. Gifts are also kept below the tree. There are several legends as how the tradition of decorating Christmas tree started. We are presenting the popular legends and myths related to Christmas and Christmas tree. The most popular being the legend related Christmas tree is related to Martin Luther King.
1. Martin Luther King and Christmas tree
One day, Martin Luther, while walking in the woods one Christmas was awed by the beauty of moonlight and stars glistening upon the fir trees. He found that words could not recreate the scene. To communicate the wonder of it to his family, he cut down a small fir tree, brought it home, and decorated it with candles. This is the most popular legend of the Christmas Tree, and if it occurred, it happened in the 1500’s.Though many attempts have been made to substantiate it, no real proof exists.
2. When world war was stopped for celebrating Christmas
Stopping the World War I for a day: Five months into the first World War, troops along the Western front took a Christmas Eve break from fighting to sing carols to one another across the battlefield. The following morning, German soldiers emerged from the trenches and began to approach Allied troops while calling out “Merry Christmas” in English. Luckily, it wasn’t a trick; dozens of British fighters came out to greet them and shake hands, some even exchanging cigarettes as gifts. Later dubbed the Christmas Truce of 1914, it was one of the last examples of wartime chivalry.
3. The story of Santa Claus
St. Nicholas, the real person on whom Santa Claus is based, lived in the 4th century AD in the province of Lycia on the southwest coast of Asia Minor. Cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with creating the current image of Santa Claus based on his illustrations that began appearing in Harpers Weekly in 1863. Father Christmas is based on St. Nicholas, a 4th century Turkish monk who gave gifts to the poor. In the mid 19th century, a magazine published pictures of him wearing a red and white robe, and with a white beard.
4-6. Fir tree and birth of Jesus and other facts
At the moment of the birth of Christ, one myth says that every tree bore perfect fruit to bear tribute and honor to the Lord except the lowly fir tree. This tree was ashamed of his stature until the Lord approached him and caused him to sparkle with light. The word Christmas is derived from the Old English phrase Cristes maesse (Christ’s mass). The tradition of substituting X-mas for Christmas has its origins in the early Christian church. The first letter of Jesus Christ’s name is X in the Greek language.
7. The story of St. Boniface
Another story says that St. Boniface of Crediton (a village in Devon, UK) left England and travelled to Germany to preach to the pagan German tribes and convert them to Christianity. He is said to have come across a group of pagans about to sacrifice a young boy while worshipping an oak tree. In anger, and to stop the sacrifice, St. Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and, to his amazement, a young fir tree sprang up from the roots of the oak tree. St. Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith and his followers decorated the tree with candles so that St. Boniface could preach to the pagans at night.
8-9. Christmas tree and Germany
In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread and gold covered apples. Then glass makers made special small ornaments similar to some of the decorations used today. In 1605, an unknown German wrote: “At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlours of Strasbourg and hang thereon roses cut out of many-coloured paper, apples, wafers, gold foil, sweets, etc.” The first printed reference to a Christmas tree was in 1531, which is also found in Germany.
10. Birth of Jesus Christ
1. Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific date for Jesus’ birth. In fact, most historians believe he was probably born in the spring, hence the Bible’s description of shepherds herding animals. But in the 4th century (336 AD), it is said the Catholic Church (Pope Julius I) chose December 25 to coincide with the Roman and pagan celebrations of Saturnalia, an ancient winter festival that involved decorating evergreens and gift giving. when the Catholic Church decided to recognize Jesus’ birth as an official holiday, Pope Julius I chose December 25 for the Feast of the Nativity. This date coincides with the pagan festival known as Saturnalia.
11. Russia and Ukraine do not celebrate Christmas on 25th December
In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on 7th January and not on 25th January, because they follow the old Julian calendar. How orthodox!
12-13. Traditions of Czechs and ritual of Venezuela
In a, ladies throw their shoes to find out whether they would be married next year or not. In Venezuela, the roads are closed, and people use roller skates to attend the mass.
14-15. Electric lighting and Artificial Christmas trees
Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890. Artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century and later became popular in the United States. These “trees” were made using goose feathers that were dyed green and attached to wire branches. The wire branches were then wrapped around a central dowel rod that acted as the trunk.
16-18. Christmas tree in white house and America
7. In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House. 9. In USA, 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms, while only 2% are cut from the wild. To ensure enough trees for harvest, growers plant one to three seedlings for every tree harvested. In 2012, 46 million Christmas tree seedlings were planted by U.S. growers. 10. According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
19-21. England , Christmas pudding and gift from Norway
Christmas puddings originated in old England, when hunters carried the filling mixture on long journeys. In the 1700s, the rich cake was only eaten on special occasions. Over time it became a Christmas food.
The first Christmas card was printed in London in 1843, although medieval wood prints with seasonal themes were produced in the Middle Ages. Nearly 2 billion cards are sent in the UK each year.
Norway has given Britain the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square every year since 1947 as a gift for the help received from Britain during World War 2. The tree can be 20 metres tall.