Do you know the tradition of Christmas wreaths?
- A Christmas wreath is an ornamental object that is used during the Christmas season, and its use today originates from a Christian-based custom.
- Christmas wreaths are typically shaped as a ring, made with living, dried or imitation vegetation, including twigs, flowers and leaves, as well as ribbons and other Christmas-related objects.
- ‘Christmas wreaths’ are also known as ‘Christmas crowns’, ‘advent crowns’ or ‘advent wreaths’.
- The tradition of Christmas wreaths is said to have begun in Germany in the 1500s, by Lutherans, and the idea possibly stems from the use of wreaths in Ancient Greek and Roman times, that were used to crown those with significant achievements or community rank, or placed on their door.
- Traditionally, Christmas wreaths contained four candles; three purple and a pink, with one lit each week in December, often on a Sunday; and a fifth white candle was sometimes also included.
- The idea to use candles in Christmas wreaths to countdown the Advent, was possibly invented by a German pastor, Johann Wichern, in the mid 1800s, as a daily advent calendar for children.
- The traditional idea of a Christmas wreath has became a popular Christmas decoration and they started being hung on doors by the 1900s, and are now commonly found on doors without candles.
- Christmas wreaths are commercially available during the Christmas season, and the most common wreaths obtainable are factory made objects.
- Christmas wreaths are often made with the colours of red, green, white or purple, traditionally symbolising Jesus’ blood, life, joy and sacrifice or forgiveness.
- The making of Christmas wreaths is a common Christmas craft activity and the base can be made from wire, styrofoam, cane or other material, and other supplies can include fabric, wrapped lollies and candy, or numerous other items.
The real meaning behind Saint Patrick’s Day:
- Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday originating from Europe’s Ireland observed on the 17 March every year, and is a public holiday in Ireland and a few other countries, but is celebrated throughout much of the world.
- ‘Saint Patrick’s Day’ is also known as the ‘Feast of Saint Patrick’, ‘St. Patrick’s Day’, ‘Patrick’s Day’, ‘Paddy’s Day’ and ‘Patty’s Day’.
- The 17th March, St Patrick’s Day, is believed to be the day that Saint Patrick, an important Ireland saint from the 5th century, died.
- St Patrick’s Day celebrates Saint Patrick, who was originally from Roman Britain, and was captured and held captive by Irish pirates at age 16, eventually escaping six years later, only to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary.
- Saint Patrick’s Day was officially declared a feast day in the 1600s and the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Church of Ireland (Anglican) and Lutheran churches typically honour the day.
- Saint Patrick’s Day is generally associated with the colour green, a colour affiliated with Ireland in general, and shamrocks (clover), which were said to be used as an illustration to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish, by Saint Patrick.
- A rugby league match is held during the Saint Patrick’s Day period with Ireland and the United States competing.
- Saint Patrick’s Day parades are very popular throughout the world, and the first was believed to have been held in the United State’s city of Boston in Massachusetts in 1737, where there was a significant population of Irish.
- Occasionally, the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day is moved to a different date if it coincides with Holy Week, and this occurred in 1940 and 2008.
- Saint Patrick’s Day traditions include going to church and having feasts, particularly with alcohol, and it is also commonly celebrated as a cultural Irish day.
Saint Patrick’s Day, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Day
St. Patrick’s Day, 2014, Kidzworld, http://www.kidzworld.com/article/521-st-patricks-day
What should your New Year’s resolution/s be?
- New Year’s resolutions are the tradition of vowing, often to one’s self, to make an improvement in one’s life.
- New Year’s resolutions are typically made on New Year’s day or New Year’s eve, and usually the goal is to achieve the resolution/s by the end of the new year.
- People from western countries are more likely to make New Year’s resolutions than those from the rest of the world.
- New Year’s resolutions have a long history, as the Ancient Babylonians of 2000 BC and the Ancient Romans had similar traditions of wanting to please their gods, so they vowed they would return items and pay back any owed money.
- Throughout history, many Christians, Catholics and Jews have made types of New Year’s resolutions, commonly with a religious or moral slant, and often at special religious-related activities, such as Lent.
- In 2007, a study was held by psychologist Richard Wiseman of Britain, of 3000 individuals, that resulted in data that showed that 88% of New Year’s resolution makers do not achieve their resolution goals.
- Popular New Year’s resolutions are those that vow to improve health, inner self, finance, education, career and stopping addictions.
- Strategies to help keep New Year’s resolutions include social support, writing them down, and setting goals or steps.
- Many New Year’s resolutions are not fulfilled due to being unachievable, imprecise or hard to complete vows.
- The most common New Year’s resolution is to achieve weight loss, however studies have shown that willpower is affected by food, and if you are not well-fed, the willpower to achieve your goals will be diminished.
Dicker L, History of New Year’s Resolutions, 43 Things, http://www.43things.com/resolutions/history
New Year’s Resolution, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year%27s_resolution
Do line up for the Boxing Day sale facts.
- Boxing Day sales typically are shopping extravaganzas that occur on the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, but sometimes run for a week.
- Boxing Day sales generally occur in Australia, Canada and parts of the United Kingdom.
- The 2009 Boxing Day sales in the United Kingdom, saw approximately 12 million people visit the shops.
- Popular shops that support the Boxing Day sales generally open as early as 5 am.
- Boxing Day sales include great bargain priced items and the shops often strategically lower there prices to bring in customers.
- Retailers that support Boxing Day sales generally have a limited stock of items, particularly those with the greatest discounts, and they often try to sell those items that did not sell by Christmas.
- Shops that support Boxing Day sales are often full of people, shoulder-to-shoulder, due to heavily discounted items, and they sometimes limit the customers in the shop at any one time.
- Boxing Day sales are generally reviewed in news reports, focusing on the crowds, queues, and times of arriving.
- Boxing Day sales became popular in the 1980s, and were most likely established to encourage consumers to return to the shops after Christmas.
- In Australia, it was expected that $1.9 billion (AUD) were to be spent in the 2013 Boxing Day sales, with a 1/3 spent in the state of Victoria.
Boxing Day – Shopping, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day#Shopping
Hutchens G, Boxing Day sales: It’s picnic time for shopaholics – you’re sure of a big discount, 2013, The Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/boxing-day-sales-its-picnic-time-for-shopaholics–youre-sure-of-a-big-discount-20131225-2zwq9.html
These facts are like angels… they are shining.
- Angels are said to be God’s messengers, and are often portrayed during the Christmas season.
- Angels are typically depicted as humans with wings, and shine brightly.
- Angels became popular starting from between 12th and 13th century, when Thomas Aquinas started teaching about them.
- Angels are popular known as the bringers of the knowledge of the birth of Jesus Christ, particularly to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds.
- Angels are popularly used as Christmas decorations, particularly as Christmas tree toppers.
Image courtesy of Daniel St.Pierre/ Free Digital Photos
- The New Testament of the Bible states that angels rejoice when one is remorseful for one’s own sin, and asks for God’s forgiveness.
- The word ‘angel’, is from the Greek word ‘angelos’, meaning ‘messenger’.
- It is believed that every single person has there own protective angel, who cares for the person.
- Some people have worshipped angels, and throughout history there have been various opinions about this practice.
- Christmas angels often symbolise goodness or joyfulness.
Christmas Angels, 2012, Christmas World, http://www.worldofchristmas.net/christmas-angels.html
History of Angels, n.d, Angels: An Online Resource, http://www.cyodine.com/angels/History.htm
Matthew 2:2b NIV
“We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
- The ‘Star of Bethlehem’ is also known as the ‘Christmas Star’.
- The Star of Bethlehem was the star that showed the place of Jesus Christ’s birth, particularly guiding the magi.
- The Star of Bethlehem has puzzled many astronomers, and many have tried to make a connection to unusual, historical, star-like events in space.
- Of the four gospels in the Bible, only the gospel of Matthew mentions the Star of Bethlehem.
- During the estimated time of Jesus’ birth, a comet or nova was seen in China, which seemed to be stationary for 70 days, and many link a connection to the Star of Bethlehem.
- Some religious groups believe the Star of Bethlehem was a comet or shining angels.
- The Star of Bethlehem is often depicted in art as a comet, angel holding a star or a large, bright star with many different designs.
- The Star of Bethlehem is often mentioned in Christmas carols, such as the ‘Three Kings’ or ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’.
- Some astronomers suggest that the Star of Bethlehem could have been an alignment of planets, which occurred during the time of Jesus’ birth.
- Some theories regarding the Star of Bethlehem suggest that a single planet was the star, specifically ‘Uranus’, although it would have been difficult to see without technology.