Fasab’s Fascinating Festive Facts

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi, and welcome to fasab’s fascinating festive facts.

Everything on my blog this week is in Christmas mode including these tidbits of information that you may be able to work into the conversation if you are at a party or two this week.

Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas.

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festive facts

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The traditional three colors of Christmas

are green, red, and gold.

Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth;

red symbolizes the blood of Christ,

and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.

traditional three colors of Christmas

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The first printed reference to a

Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.

Christmas_Tree

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Apparently seven out of ten British dogs

get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.

dogs get Christmas gifts

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A lot of people don’t like it,

but the abbreviation of ‘Xmas’ for

Christmas is not irreligious.

The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi,

which is identical to our X.

Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation

that was used in tables and charts.

Xmas for Christmas

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Electric Christmas lights

were first used in 1854.

edison-ad-christmas-lights1

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Some people who were born on December 25

feel hard done by because they have to

make do with one present instead of two

and share their big day celebrations with everybody else.

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island,

recognized the problem. When he died on December 4, 1894,

he willed his November 13 birthday to a friend

who disliked her own Christmas birthday

Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island

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Franklin Pierce was the first president to

decorate an official White House Christmas tree.

white-house-christmas-tree

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Silent Night was written in 1818,

by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

He was told the day before Christmas

that the church organ was broken

and would not be repaired in time for Christmas Eve.

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Artificial Christmas trees

have outsold real ones since 1991.

Artificial Christmas tree

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In the British armed forces it is traditional

that officers wait on the other ranks

and serve them their Christmas dinner.

This dates back to a custom from the Middle Ages.

British armed forces Christmas dinner

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Long before mistletoe became a saucy ‘kiss encourager’,

it was considered to have magic powers.

It was said to have the ability to heal

wounds and increase fertility.

Celts hung mistletoe in their homes

in order to bring themselves good luck

and ward off evil spirits.

mistletoe

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Each year there are approximately 20,000

“rent-a-Santas” across the United States.

“Rent-a-Santas” usually undergo seasonal training

on how to maintain a jolly attitude

under pressure from the public.

They also receive practical advice,

such as not accepting money from parents

while children are looking and

avoiding garlic, onions, or beans for lunch.

rent-a-Santa

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In Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea,

your age is measured not in years

but in how many Christmases you’ve lived through;

you’re not 20, you’re twenti krismas.

Rather less charmingly,

the Japanese expression to describe

single women over 25 years old is

kurisumasu keiki – left-over Christmas cake.

Port_Moresby__Papua_New_Guinea

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Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names,

such as Blitzen, Comet, and Cupid.

However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas,

so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh

are likely not male, but female –  or castrati.  

(I wonder if that is the origin of hanging balls

on a Christmas tree comes from?)

Santa’s reindeer

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The popular Christmas song “Jingle Bells”

was actually written for Thanksgiving.

The song was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont,

and was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh”.

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Did You Know? – It’s A First Tuesday Fact Feast!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s the first Tuesday of 2014 so here are a few lesser known facts about the New Year, its traditions and its celebrations.

Enjoy.

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did you know4

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January is named after Janus, the god with two faces,

one looking forward and one looking backward.

janus

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The Scottish ‘First Footer’ tradition or superstition originates

in the belief that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring

either good luck or bad luck for the rest of the year,

depending on who he/she was.

First Footer

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The tradition of fireworks and making loud noises on New Year’s Eve

is believed to have originated in ancient times,

when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.

New-Years-Desktop-Pictures-New-Years-Eve-in-Sydney

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Traditionally, it was thought that people could alter the luck

they would have throughout the coming year

by what they did or ate on the first day of the year.

It has, therefore, become important to celebrate first day of the New Year

in the company of family and friends.

new year party

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Almost half of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions,

mainly about losing weight, stopping smoking, being better organized,

staying fit and healthy and spending less and saving more.

new year resolutions

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More than half of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions

are able to keep them for less than a month.

resolutions broken

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In Denmark, it is a good sign when you find broken dishes in front of your door.

Danish people specially keep a few plates that they break

to place at their friends’ doors on New Year’s Eve.

broken plates

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Many parts of the U.S. celebrate New Year by consuming black-eyed peas

and other legumes, as it has been considered good luck in many cultures.

Black-Eyed-Peas

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Ancient Persians gave New Year’s gifts of eggs,

which symbolized productiveness.

Eggs

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“Auld Lang Syne” is traditionally sung at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

It was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788

and may have based it on a folk song.

The words “auld lang syne” mean “times gone by”.

Robert Burns

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More than a third of a billion glasses of Champagne and other sparkling wine

are consumed during the Christmas / New Year celebrations.

champagne glasses

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In Brazil at New Year many people dress in white

as a sign or hope for peace for the coming year.

brazil new year

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The Time Square New Year’s Eve Ball came about as a result of a ban on fireworks.

The first ball, in 1907, was an illuminated 700-pound iron and wood ball

adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs.

Today, the round ball designed by Waterford Crystal, weighs 11,875-pounds,

is 12 feet in diameter and is bedazzled with 2,668 Waterford crystals.

The only time the New Year’s Eve ball was not lowered was

in 1942 and 1943 due to wartime restrictions.

times-square-ball

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The tradition of ringing in the New Year dates back four thousand years,

to the time of the Babylonians who celebrated it at

the first full moon after the spring equinox.

HNY Bells

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In 46 BC Julius Caesar made January 1st the first day of the year.

In England and its colonies, including America,

we didn’t do the same until 1752.

julius caesar

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The top three destinations in the United States

to ring in the New Year are

Las Vegas, Disney World and New York City.

Las Vegas New Years

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Many cultures believe that anything given or taken on New Year,

in the shape of a ring is good luck,

because it symbolizes “coming full circle”.

rings

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In America more vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day

than on any other holiday throughout the year.

StolenCar

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The Spanish ritual on New Year’s Eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight.

The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.

12-uvas-nocheviejas

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The Ethiopian Calendar has twelve months with 30 days each and a

thirteenth month called Pagume with five or six days depending on the year.

Their current year is still 2006 and they celebrate New Years on September 11.

ethopian calendar

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