Interesting Christmas Facts
There are many interesting facts surrounding the Yuletide season. Some of these are centred around the myths and old wives' tales that inspired many of the customs we now see today while others depict actual events that occurred during the period. A few of these are presented below for your reading enjoyment.
- Ever wondered where the idea of elves came from? They are actually modern day versions of “Nature folk” described in Pagan religions of the past.
- The Holy Days and Fasting Act of 1551 in Britain declares that all its country's citizens must attend the annual church services held on Christmas day. In fact it goes as far as stating that no vehicle should be used to travel to church on this day. The law still exists on the books, although it is not observed.
- The tradition of burning a Yule log actually has its roots in ancient Scandinavia. Supposedly the Yule log was a source of good luck and its remnants were saved to inspire good fortune throughout the year. It was such a widely held belief that people even threw the ashes in wells to make the water safer to drink.
- It was once believed that any woman who went under a mistletoe and was not kissed would not marry the coming year.
- The annual Christmas pudding was more than just a tasty treat. Small items were placed in them which had the power to predict what the New Year would bring. Coins were associated with a gain in wealth, a ring was a sign of an imminent marriage and a button signified extended bachelorhood. This idea actually goes back to the middle ages where the cake being served on the Twelfth Night would come complete with a hidden bean. Whoever found this bean was declared “king” for that one night.
- If you counted all the gifts that were given in the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” you would realize that the number of gifts being presented were 364 in total, thus a gift was given for each day of the year.
- Christmas was illegal in England from 1647-1660. This was enforced by the then leader Oliver Cromwell who believed it was immoral to hold celebrations on one of the holiest days of the year. The celebration of Christmas was therefore a criminal offence which could lead to an individual being arrested if he or she was found guilty of condoning any revelry during the period.
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