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History of Christmas Trees - Christmas

History of Christmas Trees - Christmas
Canada German settlers migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700s. They brought with them many of the things associated with Christmas we cherish today—Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies—and Christmas trees. When Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848, the Christmas tree became a tradition throughout England, the United States, and Canada. Mexico In most Mexican homes the principal holiday adornment is el Nacimiento (Nativity scene). However, a decorated Christmas tree may be incorporated in the Nacimiento or set up elsewhere in the home. Britain The Norway spruce is the traditional species used to decorate homes in Britain. Greenland Christmas trees are imported, as no trees live this far north. Guatemala The Christmas tree has joined the “Nacimiento” (Nativity scene) as a popular ornament because of the large German population in Guatemala. South Africa Christmas is a summer holiday in South Africa.

Santa Claus - Christmas Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was born over a hundred years after his eight flying counterparts. The red-nosed wonder was the creation of Robert L. May, a copywriter at the Montgomery Ward department store. In 1939, May wrote a Christmas-themed story-poem to help bring holiday traffic into his store. The Royal Roots of the American Christmas Tree The National Christmas Tree Association reports that Americans will purchase approximately 40 million Christmas trees this holiday season. While they are the centerpieces of yuletide celebrations today, Christmas trees have had a relatively short history in the United States—and you might be surprised by the person responsible for popularizing the holiday tradition in America. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (Getty) Long before the advent of Christmas—and even before the birth of Christ—ancient civilizations embraced evergreen boughs, wreaths and garlands as symbols of eternal life amid the darkest days of the winter solstice. From these pagan roots sprouted the modern Christmas tree. Christmas trees grew in popularity in Germany throughout the early 1800s, and German immigrants to the United States brought the yuletide tradition with them to their new homeland. Illustrated London News engraving of Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, 1848

The Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights For centuries, revelers relied on wax candles to illuminate their Christmas trees. But when Edward Hibberd Johnson introduced electric Christmas tree lights in 1882, he not only added flash and color to a Yuletide tradition, he saved lives in the process. As Christmas approached in the waning days of 1882, Edward Hibberd Johnson joined his fellow New Yorkers in decking the halls. Then as now, Yuletide traditions ran deep, and the 36-year-old once again undertook the annual ritual of decorating the parlor of his Manhattan home with a majestic evergreen. Nearly three years had passed since Thomas Edison demonstrated the first practical light bulb, and few people were better acquainted with the emerging electrical technology than Johnson, the Wizard of Menlo Park’s trusted business associate. Now at Christmastime, Johnson prepared to make some history of his own. Johnson’s electrically lit tree was revolutionary—literally.

History of Christmas - Christmas In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated.

Kwanzaa — History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle. Mazao, the crops (fruits, nuts, and vegetables) Symbolizes work and the basis of the holiday. It represents the historical foundation for Kwanzaa, the gathering of the people that is patterned after African harvest festivals in which joy, sharing, unity, and thanksgiving are the fruits of collective planning and work. Mkeka: Place Mat The mkeka, made from straw or cloth, comes directly from Africa and expresses history, culture, and tradition. Vibunzi: Ear of Corn The stalk of corn represents fertility and symbolizes that through the reproduction of children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life. Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles Candles are ceremonial objects with two primary purposes: to re-create symbolically the sun’s power and to provide light. Excerpted from the book: The Complete Kwanzaa Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest.

Hanukkah — History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts The events that inspired the Hanukkah holiday took place during a particularly turbulent phase of Jewish history. Around 200 B.C., Judea—also known as the Land of Israel—came under the control of Antiochus III, the Seleucid king of Syria, who allowed the Jews who lived there to continue practicing their religion. His son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, proved less benevolent: Ancient sources recount that he outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. Led by the Jewish priest Mattathias and his five sons, a large-scale rebellion broke out against Antiochus and the Seleucid monarchy.

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