Interesting facts about Christmas

We all love the holiday season, but have you ever asked yourself where does it come from? Here we leave you some interesting facts about Christmas, to share with your family and friends.

Christmas tree: Decorated trees can be traced back to 16th century Germany. Martin Luther first thought of decorating it with candles and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert helped popularize the Christmas tree. In 1840 the Christmas tree decorations were famous for their extravaganze! In 1851 the first Christmas tree lot opened its doors in America, in New York City.

Evergreens: The tradition of the evergreens comes originally from ancient Egyptians and Romans, who would decorate with evergreen during the winter solstice to signify that spring would return. The evergreens in the US are a by-product of the Christmas tree and symbolize eternity and everlasting life.

Christmas day: Christmas wasn't always on December 25, and many historians say Jesus was born in the spring. However, there is the belief that the date was originally chosen because it coincided with the pagan festivity of Saturnalia, which honoured the agricultural god Saturn with celebrating gift-giving.

Candy cane: The candy cane tradition started in 1670 with a choirmaster who would give peppermint sticks to children to keep them quiet during the Living Creche performance. He asked the local candy maker to shape them into hooks to resemble a shepherd's staff. Originally the candy canes were all white but in 1900, red was added to them.

Jingle Bells: The Jingle Bells song was originally a Thanksgiving song written by James Lord Pierpont. The original name of it was “One horse open sleigh”, and it was made for his church's Thanksgiving concert in the mid 19 century. In 1857 the song was re-released with the title we know nowadays and became the most popular Christmas song.

Santa Claus: The original “Santa Claus” was St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop who gave away his large inheritance to the poor and women rescued from servitude. His original name in Dutch is Sinter Klaas, which eventually morphed into Santa Claus.

Christmas Stockings: According to the legend, the tradition of hanging the stocking by the chimney started by accident, when one night, old St. Nick dropped a bag of gold down the chimney of a poor man's house, and it fell on his daughter's socks hanged by the fire to dry.

Advent calendars: The first advent calendar was created by the German publisher Gerhard Lang in 1900. He got inspiration from a box of 24 sweets his mother gave him, from which he could eat one sweet per day until Christmas. The commercial paper advent calendars became popular around 1920, and the chocolate ones followed soon after.

Christmas cookies: The original cookies derive from medieval Europe, where they would start using “Christmas ingredients” in their biscuits, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and fruit. Around 1700 they appeared in the US, and the modern Christmas cookie shape emerged with the turn of the 19th century when import laws allowed them to bring kitchen utensils from Europe, including ornated cookie cutters with shapes of Christmas trees and stars.

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