“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
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.
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.
The first printed reference to a
Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.
Apparently seven out of ten British dogs
get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.
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.
Electric Christmas lights
were first used in 1854.
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
Franklin Pierce was the first president to
decorate an official White House Christmas tree.
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.
Artificial Christmas trees
have outsold real ones since 1991.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?)
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”.