Manual The Legend of the Christ Child: A Story for Christmas Eve: Adapted from the German - 1890

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Puritans immediately denounced it. The idea was a hit with others. Christmas card became very popular, and other artists quickly followed Horsley's concept. A particularly popular card was designed by English artist William Egley in Santa's Elves In the pagan times of Scandinavia, people believed that house gnomes guarded their homes against evil.

When Christmas became popular again as a festive season in the middles, Scandinavian writers such as Thile, Toplius, Rydberg sketched the gnomes' true role in modern life: fairies that are somewhat mischievous, but the true friends and helpers of Father Christmas Santa Claus.

They are the Christmas elves. The origin of the candy cane goes back over years, when candy-makers both professional and amateur were making hard sugar-sticks. The original candy was straight and completely white in color and had no stripes! The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services. The clergymen's custom of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America. The canes were still white, but sometimes the candy-makers would add sugar-roses to decorate the canes further.

The first historical reference to the familiar cane-shape goes back to , when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral, handed out these sugar sticks to keep the young singers quiet. During the seventeenth century people began to include special decorations on their Christmas trees. These decorations would be cookies, candy, or sugar candy.

An Ancient Holiday

At this time, Christmas trees were beginning to gain popularity. The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to , when a German immigrant called August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes. About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year showed only all-white candy canes.

Christmas cards after showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites. Origin of Tinsel on the Christmas Tree The story unfolds as a tale of a German mother cleaning her house in preparation for Christmas. Not a speck of dust was left on the day when the Christ Child was to come and bring the gifts of Christmas Eve.

When the children go to sleep on Christmas Eve a spider covers the tree in cobwebs. Then on Christmas morning the cobwebs are magically turned into silver and gold strands which decorate the tree! In parts of Germany, Poland, and Ukraine it's meant to be good luck to find a spider or a spider's web on your Christmas Tree. Spider's web Christmas Tree decorations are also popular in Ukraine. They're called 'pavuchky' which means 'little spider' and the decorations are normally made of paper and silver wire.

You might even put an artificial spider's web on your tree! There are a few different claims as to who invented popularised the first strings of 'electric' Christmas Tree lights. In , the famous inventor Thomas Edison put some of his new electric light bulbs around his office. And in Edward Johnson, who was a colleague of Edison, hand-strung 80 red, white and blue bulbs together and put them on his tree in his New York apartment there were two additional strings of 28 lights mounted from the ceiling!

In the Edison company published a brochure offering lighting services for Christmas.


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In another Edison advert offered bulbs which you could rent, along with their lighting system, for use over Christmas! There are records in a diary from where settlers in Montana used electric lights on a tree. However, most people couldn't easily use electric tree lights at this time as electricity wasn't widely installed in homes. Electric tree lights first because widely known in the USA in when President Grover Cleveland has the tree in the White House decorated with lights as his young daughters liked them!

Another claim to the first widespread sale of strings of lights comes from Ralph Morris, an American telephonist. In , he used telephone wire to string together small bulbs from a telephone exchange and decorated a table top tree with them. Leavitt Morris, the son of Ralph, wrote an article in for the Christian Science Monitor, about his father inventing Christmas Tree lights, as he was un-aware of the Edison lights.

In a hospital in Chicago burned down because of candles on a Christmas Tree. In insurance companies in the USA tried to get a law made that would ban candles from being used on Christmas Trees because of the many fires they had caused. However, people still used candles to light Christmas Trees and there were more fires. His family came from Spain and made novelty wicker bird cages that lit up. Albert thought of using the lights in long strings and also suggested painting the bulbs bright colors like red and green. Many towns and villages have their own Christmas Trees. Artificial Christmas Trees really started becoming popular in the early 20th century.

In the Edwardian period Christmas Trees made from colored ostrich feathers were popular at 'fashionable' parties. Around there was even a short fashion for white trees - so if you thought colored trees are a new invention they're not! The tallest artificial Christmas tree was 52m In many countries, different trees are used as Christmas trees. In New Zealand a tree called the 'Pohutakawa' that has red flowers is sometimes used and in India , Banana or Mango trees are sometimes decorated.

You can decorate an online Christmas Tree in the fun section of the site! Contact Search:. The History of Christmas Trees The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals pagan and Christian for thousands of years. And upon awakening on Christmas morning the children of the Netherlands would find their shoes having been filled with nuts, candies, and handicrafted trinkets.

Santa Claus

Many a time, Sinterklaas arrived dressed in a bishop's red robe. He usually resembled the father or oldest son of the household and knew much about little children and their ways. He often carried a birch rod alongside of his presents in case any children had misbehaved throughout the past year. The United States, with its humble beginnings entrenched in Puritanical thought, had absolutely nothing to do with saints or with celebrations of Christmas in its earlier, formative years. So it was not until after the American Revolution that the customs of Christmas, such as those of the Pennsylvania Dutch, began to extend out into the broader communities.

This literary work was widely read and henceforth popularized Saint Nicholas throughout the United States. This story of Bracebridge Hall, with Master Simon's insistence upon observing and practicing the antique Christmas country customs of yesteryear, served as a sober reminder to the British people of the glorious bygone holiday traditions that they were in danger of allowing to fall into total ruin and to disappear into permanent oblivion. A contemporary of Washington Irving named John Pintard , who was a very prosperous New York City merchant and was an accomplished historian obsessed with past traditions from antiquity, somehow got the idea to honor officially Sancte Clause.

Nicholas dinner, Pintard invited many prominent citizens of New York for the Yuletide banquet. He was deeply concerned about the plight of the poor and the resulting violence and unrest of the holiday season. In his imagination, much like Washington Irving had done, John Pintard resurrected many customs of olden times, celebrations which intermeshed rich and poor alike under one roof.

Many of these so-called "customs" never actually had existed before, but he invented them to suit his own purposes and for those of humankind at large. Both he and Irving had expressed a deep longing and nostalgia for more innocent days of wassailing and to rid Christmas of its season of menace from former times past. Before Pintard's introduction of Saint Nicholas as the Historical Society's patron saint, and hence the official protector of the city of New York, there had been no signs or evidence of any Santa Claus rituals within the state at all.

Pintard's benevolence pointed toward a need for change and social reform regarding the Christmas celebrations of his day, and in the end, Saint Nicholas Day December the 6th became an official observance in honor of the bishop saint from Myra, Turkey due to his Pintard's positive, proactive efforts. According to Stephen Nissenbaum's masterpiece of Christmas cultural history The Battle for Christmas , John Pintard is also credited with having founded the New York Historical Society in as well as helping to establish such national holiday observances as Columbus Day, George Washington's birthday, and the Fourth of July.

This famous poem of Moore's, which was partly inspired by the custom of European colonists who celebrated the Feast of Saint Nicholas, did more to paint Santa Claus as fat and jolly with multiple reindeer and an uncanny ability to descend chimneys with presents in his sack, than did any other influence since. Moore's Saint Nick completely lacked any menace toward children who were naughty, and hence never carried a switch with which to punish them. His was truly a loving, benevolent father figure of a Santa Claus.

Clement C. Moore had deliberately kept his identity a secret due to his religious affiliations. So it wasn't until as late as , some 22 Christmases later, that Moore accepted full authorship of his poem. Unintentionally perhaps, he promoted a more secular Christmas: a holiday which included the Greek Orthodox bishop of Myra. Moore also refers to our patron saint of children informally as "St. Nick" in his poem.


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This icon was to stick in North American literature, etchings, paintings, and folklore for all time to come. Some historians believe that a Revolutionary War veteran living in upstate New York named Henry Livingston might have authored A Visit From Saint Nicholas as early as , but this has been largely discredited by most historians today. But the real credit for standardizing Santa Claus visually across North America and Europe goes to Thomas Nast , the son of an immigrant Bavarian musician who played in a German regiment band.

Nast was a political cartoonist par excellence who, in , began drawing a series of Christmas drawings for Harper's Weekly. He continued his cartoonist career focusing on Christmas themes and Santa Claus oftentimes smoking a pipe with Illustrated London News well into Nast gave the American and British public a different portrait of Santa every Christmas throughout the following years to come.

The artist added new dimensions and aspects to the patron saint's lifestyle, like moving his residence to the North Pole. Nast's original Santa Claus became a combination of Moore's Saint Nicholas and Germany's gnome-like Pelz-Nicol , literally "fur-Nicholas", as he had remembered him from his recent childhood in Germany. Nast painted a rather corpulent, rotund Santa, thus reflecting a growing and abundantly rising 19th Century wealthy upper class.

This one artist, with his indefatigable genius for drawing his 19th Century black ink sketches, firmly established our Santa Claus by bringing him into every American household by the late s. This is the image most familiar to our modern children of the United States and Canada today. In the United States, Kris Kringle is become a corruption of the German Kristkind , having now become almost synonymous with the term Santa Claus itself , thanks in large part to Hollywood's popular movie Miracle on 34th Street.

Only Holland has retained his original name of Saint Nicholas. Santa Claus , since, has come to represent and embody generosity, happiness, and the protection of all of our world's children. In the Southern Hemisphere and the warmer climes of December, Father Christmas is become the patron saint of many a child. A somewhat vague and obscure Father Christmas had long existed in Northern Europe as a folk figure, especially in England, Scotland, and Wales.

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But dear old Father Christmas was driven asunder by that Puritan ban on Christmas celebrations in the 17th Century, only to rear his contented head again for a brief time during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th Century. Neither the jolly old elf of Santa Claus nor the original ascetic in Saint Nicholas, this Father Christmas of the Middle Ages was a far different figure altogether.

Father Christmas never was to become a Christian religious figure, but symbolized rather those worldly secular pleasures that came from remoter pagan times out of a more distant pre-Christian past. He is often portrayed with a bowl of hot steaming crab apple punch or is seen beside a burning Yule log. Charles Dickens' Spirit of Christmas Present appears to be an adequate representation of him. His attire, befitting of the warmer temperatures in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa during the Yuletide season, consists of a green robe with a holly or ivy wreath placed atop his head.

Other images of him from paintings by Metsu and by the Dutch artist Jan Steen indicate this pagan father figure wearing a brown smock, carrying a torch to illumine his path, or porting a lute. In old Czechoslovakia, children believed that Svaty Mikulas descended from heaven on a golden cord supported by a benevolent angel.

Upon awakening on Christmas morning, Czech children would immediately gather at the breakfast table to recite their prayers of thankfulness, and ask if they had behaved well that year. If they had, Svaty Mikulas rewarded them with a present. Following right behind them was a village townsman wearing a goat's head with another villager masked as a demon with a birch switch, a threatening gesture for the young Swiss misbehaves.

In Denmark, another happy gift-giver named Julemanden carries a sack full of goodies and is drawn by reindeer like Saint Nicholas. This patron saint of Scandinavian children has elves or helpers called Juul Nisse. They are said to have originated from the attics inside of Danish houses or barns in the farm fields. During the night before Christmas, the children of Denmark put out a saucer of milk with rice pudding for the elves. Come morning time, the young children are thrilled to find their plates left empty, having fed the Juul Nisse , thus rewarding them for their annual chore and kindness.

Jola Sveinar is the wintertide gift-giver of Icelandic children, while Jultomten is the juvenile patron saint of Sweden. During the time when the Tudor King Henry the Eighth was seizing the monasteries, the Abbot of Glastonbury hoped by a tactful gesture to appease his sovereign. He had a Christmas pie baked wherein he concealed the title deeds of several of his manors. This tasty holiday pastry he dutifully dispatched to the King in the charge of his steward J.

It is not altogether clear whether this Yuletide dessert was a mince pie which at the time consisted of minced meat or was a fruit pie of sorts, for Christmas pie had been forbidden by the higher authorities at the time. William Shakespeare , the greatest and most influential Elizabethan playwright and poet of our English language, had this literary observation of this most sacred of holidays:. Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, The bird of dawning singeth all night long: And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad, The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike, No fairy takes nor witch hath power to charm, So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

So unruly Yuletide frolic and displays of public drunkenness during the darkness of wintertide had become prevalent. At times, the peace and security of respectable households and neighborhoods in both England and America were at stake. At this juncture in history, Christmas had little to do with family from within and all to do with misrule and frivolity from without. Some of this was due in part to the Christmas season having been traditionally held for twelve nights for so many previous centuries. Another part of this was from a natural reaction to the Puritanical banning of Christmas celebrations in England from the century before.

This allowed for Christmas to merge with and to become associated with familial tranquility once and for all, no longer to be associated with public revelry nor outside nuisance and raucous. Poinsette, brought the first official red and green flowers back to the United States at Christmas time.

Due to the colors of the flower closely resembling that of the holly and the ivy , these flowers eventually became christened poinsettias. During the period approximately between to , Christmas was becoming a holiday to lavish upon children.

Santa Claus - Wikipedia

From onward, Christmas had become a more colorfully decorous and family-centered affair, with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, holly wreaths, home visiting, and church-going accompanied by new patterns of consumption that both incorporated and displaced the holiday's prior discordant elements. Up until the end of the 19th Century when fires blazed in open hearths in the English countryside, no Christmas Eve was complete without the bringing in of the Yule log.

Like so many other Christmas symbols, this too goes far back into our remote cultural past. According to the sagas of the Norsemen and Vikings of Scandinavia well before the time of Christ, the sun was a spinning wheel of fire, known as hweol , that approached during summertime and receded during the wintry months. Northern Yuletide festivals were grounded in keeping warm inside and safe from the harsh elements outside, from the demons of inclement weather and icy storms.

As the days became longer in the Northern Hemisphere come January, huge bonfires blazed to keep the populace warm. Animals were slaughtered and buried under the snow pack for future storage.

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The Norsemen began to burn a Yule log and kept it burning both day and night during the darkest days of the winter solstice, mainly for light and warmth to counteract the wintry freeze. After having been burned for twelve successive days and nights in festive revelry, the log was finally extinguished in favor of longer days and warmer nights.

Then a brand or large piece of the log was saved to ignite the Yule log for the forthcoming winter of the following year. Thus, the rekindled brand symbolized the continuance of life and survival for at least one more year. In medieval times, the log to be burned for the forthcoming year was selected on Candlemas, February 2nd, and was then set out to dry during the coming spring. Logs that were used from ash trees came to be called ashen faggot. Another tree to be used was the oak. The Druids, who had formerly placed candles on branches of trees and cut mistletoe at the winter solstice, burned a Yule log as well.

Eventually, with the continued disappearance of the fireplace in the home due to continued modernization in home heating and electricity, the tradition of the Yule log burning was soon to become extinct. In Robert L. May, a copywriter and publicist for Montgomery Ward Department stores, wrote a promotional children's book regarding an ostracized reindeer who suffered from a glowing red nose. In his book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer , May turned the reindeer's handicap into an asset for Santa by allowing him to "guide his sleigh tonight" with his "shiny nose" serving much like a searchlight.

This allowed Rudolph to fly into the fertile imaginations of millions of North American children and youngsters thereafter. A decade later, in a theme song on Rudolph composed by Johnny Marks hit the radio air waves and instantly popularized the flying deer throughout America. This song was first performed by the "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry.

Two years later in , a full color cartoon by Max Fleischer animated a needy Santa Claus with his special reindeer Rudolph onto the silver screen. May, much like Moore, had little idea of the impending icon that he had created for many a Christmas holiday season yet to come. Christmas shopping has since become a yearly credit card buying frenzy.

Many historians agree that December the 25th originally honored the birth of a Roman pagan god and "savior" called Mithra , an unconquered Persian astrotheological sun-god. This precise wintry date was to become to the Christians the Feast Day of the Nativity. The pagan Roman emperor Aurelian had proclaimed December 25th as Natalis Solis Invicti , or the festival of the invincible, eternal Sun. Yet Mithraism and Zoroastrian thought had much in common with up and coming Christianity: monotheism, baptism, a doctrine of an Intercessor and Redeemer, a future life, and an eschatological day of final judgment with its ultimate redemption in paradise or Heaven.

Much like the Biblical account of Jesus' birth, Mithra , too, was an infant god born out of pastoral fields. If, as is stated in the biblical passage of St. For March and April on our present calendar as was originally conceived by the Roman abbot Dionysius Exiguus in A. But come , Pope Gregory, who was fascinated with the precise nature of mathematics and astronomy, introduced corrections to the Julian calendar by replacing it, in all due modesty, with his own Gregorian calendar.

This newer calendar proved to be much more accurate in terms of measuring and predicting the progression of the equinoxes and the seasons with more precision than the former Julian calendar had. Based on this transition in calendars, this would then put the birth of the Christ child and the appearance of the radiant Star in the East somewhere between 7 B. If the bright Star of Bethlehem had been a planetary conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in the biblical eastern skies, it must have occurred sometime between the years 7 and 6 B.

For the superior German astronomer Johannes Kepler had witnessed this very same astronomical event in October of , and his precise mathematical calculations showed that such a planetary conjunction happened every years dating back into antiquity. This would mean that this rather rare event of these three planets "touching together" in the nighttime sky last occurred in A.

Though this stellar brilliance must have been visible to most people living at the time, such a multiple planetary transit would have held a special interest and significance to astrologers, which indeed the Magi were reported to have been. Throughout the annals of classical European literature, the Magi have been portrayed as members of an ancient Babylonian court in Mesopotamia and were considered to have been skilled, practiced observers of the heavens.

Astronomy and astrology were synchronized into one discipline during that era.