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Christmas Article 17

Christmas Article 17

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Published by David M Rahming

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Published by: David M Rahming on Sep 08, 2012
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17. Yuletide Days of Old - Ancient and other Customs of ChristmasChristmas as a holiday period was instituted and celebrated at about the sametime as other winter solstice festivities because church leaders at the timebelieved that would make more people participate in the new holiday period. Thatobjective was achieved, but people also carried over some pagan celebrations andtraditions into the religious Christmas celebrations.As an example, people would attend church and then take part in a raucous,drunken and carnival-like celebration, that has some similarities to Mardi Gras.During this celebration every year, there would be a crowning of a beggar orstudent as the 'lord of misrule.' Those taking part in the activities wouldpretend to be loyal subjects to the 'lord of misrule,' During this time some of the poor would also visit the rich in their houses and ask for some of theirbest food and drink. Those among the rich who didn't cooperate would be subjectto rowdy behavior and mischief by the poor. For their part, the rich usedChristmas as the time when they would reach out to the poorer members of societyby tolerating them in such visits or by leaving out food and clothing for them.For many centuries before the birth of Christ and the recognition of Christmas,there had always been celebrations in many countries during the middle of winter. During the darkest days of winter for example, the early Europeans weresaid to celebrate light and birth. The winter solstice was a period of rejoicingfor many people because it meant that the worst part of winter was over and theycould therefore look forward to having days that were longer with more hours of sunlight.In that tradition, the Norse peoples in Scandinavia would celebrate a period of Yule from Dec. 21, which was the winter solstice or start of winter, throughJanuary. To recognize the re-emergence of the sun, fathers and their sons wouldtake large logs home and set them on fire. There would then be a big feast untilthe log was completely burned out. That could take as much as 12 days to happen.The custom also was one of hope for the Norse because there was the belief amongthem that every spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would beborn in the New Year.Many parts of Europe also thought that the end of December was a perfect time tocelebrate because during that time, a lot of cattle would be killed to avoidhaving to feed them during winter. For many people, the end of December was theonly time during the year when they had a significant amount of fresh meat. Bythat time of year also, wine and beer that was made earlier in the year wouldhave fermented and be finally ready for drinking.The tradition of Santa Claus has also been an ancient legend with slightdifferences or variations in olden days from the 1700s in some countries. InGerman and Switzerland, children who were well behaved would receive a Christmaspresent from Christkind or Kris Kringle. Christkind, which means Christ child,

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