I have been doing a little research about the history of our Christmas traditions like I mentioned in a previous post. I’m not very good with retention of facts – thanks to the Fibro Fog. My ability to concentrate is limited. However, I am going to take a stab at it. If it comes across as gobblygook then you will get an idea of what it is like in my head for a few minutes. I have in mind to write an entry a day on a different tradition leading up to Christmas Day. That is my plan. As you know, plans are made to be broken. But I will attempt to stick to this plan.
This is not intended to be a series strictly from the Christian point of view. However, in my brief research so far, it seems that most of our American traditions practiced are rooted in Christian beliefs. Just another proof that you can’t separate Christ from Christmas. Because of that fact I will post an entry on Christmas Day talking about the birth of Christ. Until then I will focus on the traditions we all relate with the holiday.
The most popular symbol of Christmas is of course Santa Claus. I’m sure most of us have heard at one time or another how the history of Santa Claus is based on an actual person who enjoyed giving gifts, especially to children. What I find interesting is that he lived in the 4th century – that’s the 300s for those of us who aren’t too bright about these kinds of things. Apparently each country has their own version of Santa Claus. The original St. Nicholas lived in what is present day Turkey. The legend of St. Nicholas was carried from country to country until in the 12th century – 1100s – the Catholic Church created an official church holiday. It was called The Feast of St. Nicholas. It occurred on December 6. And it was marked by giving gifts and performing charitable acts. After the Reformation the holiday dwindled – I’ll let you decide for yourself why that might have occurred…..but the legend was kept alive in Holland. Children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace at night for St. Nicholas to fill with treats. The Dutch colonists brought this tradition with them to the new world (America) in the 17th century – 1600s – and St. Nicholas’ name was changed to Santa Claus.
TA-DA – and we have Santa Claus. I find it interesting that St. Nicholas was a saint of the Catholic Church and that they were the ones who created an official holiday for giving of gifts. And TA-DA – we have the church in our first tradition we are discussing.
Tomorrow we have the Christmas Tree! Can you guess what the Christmas Tree started out representing? If your guess involves something to do with Christianity you would be correct.
See ya tomorrow!