Thursday, December 3, 2009
Did you know that ....
...the British Parliament considered Christmas to be a heathen holiday so they officially abolished all related festivities until 1643.
...Donder, meaning 'thunder' was the original name of the reindeer who helped to pull Santa's sleigh. He was paired with Blitzen...whose name means lightning.
...the image of Santa as we know him today was popularized by the Coca-Cola company.
...Gingerbread houses became popular as holiday gifts during the 19th century after the story of Hansel and Gretel was published.
...eggnog wasn't always that creamy, rich drink we enjoy today. It is actually derived from a 17th century ale that was called 'nog'. The Irish celebrated Christmas Eve by drinking a pint or two....because they new that all the pubs would be closed on Christmas Day.
...the candy cane first became popular in churches where is was given as a treat to those children who behaved themselves during services.
...the story of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" was actually written as a sales gimmick for the Montgomery Ward Company in 1939. It was written by one of their employees, Robert L. May, and this little book was given freely to every holiday shopper who shopped there during the holiday season.
...at midnight on the Christmas Eve of 1914, German gunfire was suddenly halted and replaced by the singing of Carols. At daybreak, the German soldiers began to call out 'Merry Christmas" to their foes, and before long, both sides declared a truce...shaking hands and exchanging gifts of food, cigarettes, and liquor. This merriment lasted for three days.
...St. Francis of Assisi introduced the singing of Carols to holiday church services.
...modern day astronomers say that the famous 'star of Bethlehem' was not a star after all. They believe it was most likely a comet or an astronomical phenomenon caused by the conjunction of several planets at once.