Now that we have stuffed ourselves with a delightful Thanksgiving feast sprinkled with love, we can direct our attention to the next big feast—Christmas. Christmas is certainly one of the holidays with a treasure trove of traditions, but do you know why and how exactly these traditions came about?
Oh Christmas Tree
Who could ever forget jolly old Santa Claus? However, Santa Claus was not always the jolly old man in a red suit that everybody now sees him as. In fact, Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, is the patron saint of children and sailors. He is described as a generous man known for giving gifts to children, especially those who are poor. He was also a 4th century bishop of Myra, an area that is now part of Turkey.
Kissing under the Mistletoe
If you know where mistletoe comes from, you would probably not want to kiss under it. In truth, mistletoe comes from the Anglo Saxon words “mistel” and “tan” which means “dung” and “twig,” respectively, because people noticed that mistletoe grows on spots on twigs where bird droppings are found. But why would people kiss under “dung on a stick?” According to ancient Druid beliefs and myths, mistletoe came from the heavens and grew on a tree, like heaven’s gift to Earth. Kissing under the mistletoe is symbolic of accepting that gift from heaven. Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, the goddess of love, hence, they believed that kissing under the mistletoe would bring them happiness or Frigga’s blessings.
How about you? What Christmas tradition origin can you share with us?