It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday! Thanks Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl for creating this meme.
This Week’s Topic: Holiday/Seasonal Freebie
Topic I Chose: Top Ten Christmas Traditions Around The World
- People in Iceland will often exchange books on Christmas Eve, then spend the rest of the night reading them and eating chocolate. The tradition is part of a season called Jolabokaflod, or “The Christmas Book Flood.” As a result, Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country selling most of them between September and November.
- Mistletoe was held sacred by the Norse, the Celtic Druids, and Native American Indians, because it remains green and bears fruit during the winter when other plants seem to die. Druids thought the plant had the power to cure infertility and nervous diseases, and to ward off evil.
- According to old English folk tales, the Devil died when Jesus was born. So some developed a Christmas Eve traditions of ringing the church bells near midnight to announce the Devil’s demise. In England, this custom was called tolling or ringing “the Devil’s knell.”
- In Peru, December 24th, which is known as La Noche Buena (“the Good Night”), is the main day for celebrations. After mass, families go home to feast, open gifts, and toast each other at midnight. The most important decorations are pesebre- Nativity scenes intricately carved from wood or stone. Gifts are spread around the manger rather than a tree, and it’s considered lucky to be the one chosen to put the figurine of baby Jesus into the manger on Christmas Eve.
- Roast turkey didn’t appear consistently on Christmas Day menus until 1851, when it replaced roast swan as the favorite dish of Royal courts.
- “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” originally written in Latin in the 17th century, has been attributed to King John IV of Portugal.
One of the most popular American songs in the world, “Jingle Bells” wasn’t intended to be a Christmas carol at all. Composed in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont, the tune was actually written for Thanksgiving, and was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh.” Although Pierpont was the organist and music direct at a Unitarian Church in Savannah (where his brother was the minister), the song is decidedly secular. It was often used as a drinking song, with revelers jingling the ice in their glasses as they sang.
- Spider webs are common Christmas tree decorations in Poland because, according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. Many Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity.
- Bolivians celebrate Misa del Gallo (“Mass of the Rooster”) on Christmas Eve, with people bringing roosters to midnight mass to symbolize the belief that a rooster was the first animal to announce the birth of Jesus Christ.
- Christmas cards, which originated in England, were first sent in the 1840s.
- Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas an official holiday, in 1836. It wasn’t declared a national holiday in the United States until 1870.