The A-Z of Xmas; FROM ANGELS TO ZZZZZZ, WE TELL THE REASONS FOR THE SEASON

The Mirror (London, England), December 23, 2002 | Go to article overview

The A-Z of Xmas; FROM ANGELS TO ZZZZZZ, WE TELL THE REASONS FOR THE SEASON


Byline: JO MERRETT

WE all have our own Christmas traditions, from dad sneaking off for a nap to gran eating all the purple Quality Streets.

But how much do you know about the other, older traditions of Christmas?

Here the Daily Mirror presents the complete festive guide.

A is for ANGEL

THE angel on top of Christmas trees is a reminder of the angels who, the Bible records, announced the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds.

B is for BALLOONS

IN Britain the first rubber balloons were made by Professor Michael Faraday in 1824 for use in his experiments with hydrogen.

Toy balloons were introduced by pioneer rubber manufacturer Thomas Hancock the following year in the form of a do-it-yourself kit consisting of a bottle of rubber solution and a syringe.

C is for CAROLS

THESE originated in the 13th century as popular songs to accompany dances. But most of the ones we're familiar with - including Once In Royal David's City and O Little Town Of Bethlehem - were written in Victorian times.

D is for DECEMBER 25

THE Bible doesn't say what day Jesus was born on, and the traditional date wasn't fixed by the church until 440 AD.

By that time, Rome had adopted Christianity as the state religion, and it absorbed many pagan festivals - including the winter solstice, on December 25.

E is for ELVES

BETWEEN 1863 and 1886 the popular magazine Harper's Weekly ran a series of engravings by Thomas Nast that inspired the concept of Santa in his workshop, surrounded by elves, reading letters and checking his list.

They traditionally live on the Korvatunturi mountain in the Savukoski county of Lapland on the Finnish-Russian border.

F is for FATHER CHRISTMAS

ALTHOUGH Father Christmas appears in English plays as far back as the 16th century, what we think of as his traditional image is relatively recent, and comes to us from the USA.

Immigrants to the New World blended him with the 4th century St Nicholas of Myra (see S for Stockings, below) and by the time New Yorker Clement Clarke Moore wrote his famous poem A Visit From St Nicholas in 1823, Santa Claus had come into being.

G is for GIFTS

SINCE pagan times, people have given each other gifts around New Year.

But although it was traditional to give gifts to servants and children on Christmas Day, it wasn't until Victorian times that it became usual to give a present to one of your equals.

H & I are for HOLLY & IVY

ALONG with mistletoe, these are also holdovers from pagan times.

Evergreen plants that bear fruit in the middle of winter, they were all viewed as magical.

While attempts were made to bring holly and ivy into Christian tradition - even giving them their own carol - mistletoe still has such strong pagan associations that it never features in church decorations.

J is for JOKES

CRACKER jokes have been part of our Christmas since the early part of the last century but the cracker itself is much older.

They were invented in 1847 by London baker Tom Smith, who started out wrapping sweets up in twists of paper and then added mottoes on slips of paper and finally the crack (inspired, legend has it, by the crackling of his fire).

K is for KING OF KINGS

CHRISTIANS believe that Jesus, despite being born into a poor family, is the son of God. In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah, writing 700 years before Jesus' birth, says: "To us a child is born, to us a son is given. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

L is for LIGHTS

MARTIN Luther, the Protestant reformer, is the first person recorded as having put candles on a Christmas tree.

The story goes that he was inspired one night after wandering through a forest and noticing how the stars sparkled through the branches of an evergreen. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The A-Z of Xmas; FROM ANGELS TO ZZZZZZ, WE TELL THE REASONS FOR THE SEASON
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.