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Beatrice explores some of the feasts, festivals and folklores behind the Christian festival of Christmas, from the origin of the tree, to carols and why we eat Brussel sprouts.
‘Facts, Folklore and Feasts of Christmas’ by Beatrice Holloway
Are your Christmas celebrations steeped in traditions: things you did as a child and still do today, perhaps now with your own children or grandchildren? My Christmases certainly are.
It’s therefore been interesting and enlightening for me to read this book and find out why we do what we do. Often as I read, I thought, “Oh I didn’t know that!’ For example, it’s believed carols date back to the 15th century, crackers were originally called cosaques, the first Christmas card was produced in 1843 and the recipe for Christmas pudding was once a savoury dish of meat and vegetables.
I thoroughly enjoyed finding out about the background which led Charles Dickens to write the book ‘A Christmas Carol’, published on 17 December 1843. This highly popular book was the turning point in his career and for me watching a performance of this must be incorporated into the Christmas season.
I’ve been to many a school and church nativity. The first, I’ve discovered, was performed in Italy in 1223 with live animals and real shepherds. Francis of Assisi organised this for his church congregation feeling a performance of the Christmas story would be more easily understood than the Latin spoken at the time in the church. The hay used in the nativity was saved for future use as it was believed cattle who ate it would be cured of diseases.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, enhanced with examples from the author’s own Christmas celebrations, which made it for me, a comforting, homely read.
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