Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas! Santa is a character of Christmas traditions.
- Santa is also commonly known as ‘Saint Nicholas’, ‘Father Christmas’ and ‘Santa Claus’ but has other names in other traditions.
- Santa is said to bring gifts to the good little children on Christmas Eve, December the 24th.
- Santa is also typically thought to be a joyful man with a white beard and wears a red coat, white cuffed red trousers, a black belt and boots.
- According to a tradition originating in the 1820’s, Santa lives at the North Pole with his elves, nine reindeer that fly, and Mrs Claus.
- Santa is thought to enter houses via chimneys, and stuff empty stockings or ‘Santa bags’ (an old pillowcase, or especially designed bag) with lots of presents.
- Santa is believed to create a list of ‘naughty and nice’ children, the ‘nice’ children receive special gifts and the ‘naughty’ children miss out or traditionally receive coal.
- Santa is a mythical person, though people still believe in him. People like to dress up as Santa to keep the tradition alive.
- Santa was probably created by the British and the Americans as a mix of Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas and Father Christmas.
- It is common practise in many countries for children to write letters to ‘Santa’ to express their wishes about what they would like to receive from him for Christmas.
- Many post offices around the world accept letters written to ‘Santa’ and in 2006, France collected approximately 1,770,000, and the other top 4 countries followed: Canada (1,060,000), Finland (750,00) and the United Kingdom (750,000), and Germany with (500,000).
Santa Claus 29 October 2012 , Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus>
“Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree!”
- Traditionally, the Christmas tree symbolises the Christian belief of eternal life and was also thought to have been used in pre-Christian winter rites.
- The original Christmas tree can be traced down to 15th-16th century, in early modern Germany and the first decorated trees were used in the years 1441, 1442, 1510, 1514, in the historic region of Livonia.
- The Christmas tree is traditionally an evergreen tree which is normally pine or fir and were originally decorated with edible food. The artificial Christmas tree was invented in Germany in the early 18th century and are now made in numerous shapes and sizes, using many different materials.
- In the 18th century, candles were used to decorate Christmas trees which then led to electric lights being used.
- In the 19th century, the Christmas tree tradition spread to many countries. The first Christmas tree introduced in North America was in 1781 when Brunswick soldiers had a Christmas party.
- By the early 19th century, royalty started to take on the tradition of Christmas trees and since the 19th-20th century, Christmas trees have been used in churches. In the early 20th century, Christmas trees were being displayed in public at parks and streets.
- In Russia the Christmas tree was banned not long after the October Resolution but the tree was introduced again, as the New Year fir tree, in 1935.
- The traditional Christmas tree decorations are tinsel, baubles, Christmas lights, angel or star topper and sometimes homemade decorations, and public trees are often decorated with items and foods that wildlife like.
- Approximately 33-36 million Christmas trees are produced per year in America and England produces 50-60 million per year. By 1998, there were about 15,000 American growers of evergreen Christmas trees.
- Between 2001-2007, Christmas tree sales in the United States went from 7.3 million sales up to a huge 17.4 million sales.
Christmas tree 6 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree>
A pottery army – who would have heard of such a thing? Well it is true!
- The Terracotta Army is made from terracotta clay and was built around 210 BC.
- The Terracotta Army is in China and was discovered by Chinese farmers in 1974.
- There are 6000 figures in the Terracotta Army which are all ready for war and including horses, foot soldiers, officers and chariots.
- All of the Terracotta Army were equipped with real life items like weapons.
- All of the men in the Terracotta Army were 1 foot taller then average real life men.
- The Terracotta Army was owned by the first emperor, Shi Huangdi, who is now dead and is in his tomb.
- Every single person of the Terracotta Army was modelled after a real person meaning every model is different.
- The Terracotta Army was built because the first emperor believed in afterlife and wanted people to protect him.
- Anyone who helped build or knew about the Terracotta Army was buried alive.
- The Terracotta Army has usefully taught people about the Ancient China battle formations.
Saldais, M & Easton, M 2002, Sose Alive 1, John Wiley & Sons, Australia
Halloween? Where did it come from? What does it mean? What is it? This post tells the truth behind Halloween that many don’t know.
- Halloween is also know as ‘All Hallows Evening or Eve’, ‘All Hallows, ‘All Saints’ and Hallowe’en and is often celebrated the weekend before the 31st of October, the 31st being Halloween, and sometimes the 1st of November.
- Halloween’s origin is uncertain. Halloween may have originated as a Roman feast of Pomona (goddess of fruit and seeds); Parentara – festival of the dead; a Celtic festival of Samhain; or an old Christian tradition of honouring saints and praying for those who have left you.
- According to the Celtic festival, evil spirits and fairies haunted the homes and people on the festival occurrence.
- The Celtics wore costumes at their festival to scare away evil spirits and fairies, which is probably where the tradition of dressing up for Halloween comes from.
- At the Celtic festival, pumpkins were used to protect the homes of people from the evil spirits and fairies.
- North America inherited the Halloween tradition from the mass immigration of the Irish and Scottish in the mid 19th century.
- The current Halloween themes of death, evil, magic, sorcery and mystical monsters were probably inherited from horror books and movies.
- At Halloween, many Christians take a more biblical approach, like dressing up as biblical characters, praying for others and call it ‘All Hallows Eve’.
- Halloween, the festival of the dead, celebrates and encourages paganism, magic and sorcery and other death related things.
- The custom of trick or treating (guising) could have originated from Ireland, when people collected food from houses for the Samhain feast, while wearing costumes; or Moray, since in the 18th century, boys went to houses to collect fuel for the Samhain bonfire; or trick or treating could have even originated from Europe in the 12th century when poor people went houses to collect soul cakes.
What is your opinion of Halloween? Comment below.
Halloween 31 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween>