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Friday, November 30, 2007

Some Christmas facts

At midnight on Christmas Eve 1914 firing from the German trenches suddenly stopped. A German brass band began playing Christmas carols. Early, Christmas morning, the German soldiers came out of their trenches, approaching the allied lines, calling “Merry Christmas”. At first the allied soldiers thought it was a trick, but they soon climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the German soldiers. The truce lasted a few days, and the men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings, sang carols and songs. They even played a game of Soccer.

 merry_christmas

Some priests in Australia advise you to say “Happy Christmas”, not “Merry Christmas”, because Merry has connotations of getting drunk - which brings its own problems. One should say “Happy” instead.

Silent Night was written in 1818, by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be prepared in time for Christmas Eve. He was saddened by this and could not think of Christmas without music, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music. He sat down and wrote three stanzas. Later that night the people in the little Austrian Church sang “Stille Nacht” for the first time.

The first commercial Christmas card, produced in 1846, featured a drawing of family members happily toasting each other with glasses of wine - a shockingly decadent portrait that was immediately condemned by temperance advocates. In New South Wales, Australia, the average daily mailbag of six to seven million items of mail can triple over Christmas. The heaviest day ever was on 23 December 1997, when a record 23 million items were delivered in this state in Australia.

 christmas_stockings

Hanging the Christmas stocking on the hearth on Christmas Eve in the hope that it will be filled with presents the next morning is a custom that goes back about 400 years. It derived from the custom in Holland of children placing wooden shoes next to the hearth the night before the arrival of St. Nicholas. The children would fill their shoes with straw and food for St Nicholas’s for the donkey that carried the gifts. In exchange he would leave them a small gift such as small cakes, fruits and other gifts. Stockings were substituted for the shoes in Britain, most of Europe and in North America.

posted by Monique at 2:43 pm  

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