I am a huge trivia buff! So in my last post before Christmas, I wanted to leave you with some fun Christmas facts. Yet, I can’t forget that Hanukah is underway and Kwanzaa begins on Monday. So I’ve included trivia and fun facts for all three celebrations! Feel free to share them over dinner with the family!
The word Christmas is Old English, a contraction of Christ's Mass.
Gold-wrapped chocolate coins commemorate St Nicholas who gave bags of gold coins to the poor.
Germany made the first artificial Christmas trees. They were made of goose feathers and dyed green.
Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895.
"It's a Wonderful Life" appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie.
Rudolph was actually created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930's for a holiday promotion. The rest is history.
The Nutcracker" is the most famous Christmas ballet.
Jingle Bells" was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
If you received all of the gifts in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," you would receive 364 gifts.
The poinsettia plant was brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800's.
Poinsettias are very poisonous to dogs!
Popular belief holds that 3 wise men visited Bethlehem from the east bearing gifts. However there is no mention in the bible about the number of wise men who visited. The number might come from the fact that three gifts were brought - gold, frankincense and myrrh
The twelve days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany (6th of January). According to tradition, the days represent the length of time it took for the wise men from the East to visit the manger of Jesus after his birth.
In 1843, "A Christmas Carol" was written by Charles Dickens in just six weeks. “Bah Humbug” was originally “Bah Christmas!”
Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870.
Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the year. Although it varies, it usually lands sometime in December, in the days immediately preceding Christmas.
In Greek, X means Christ. That is where the word "X-Mas" comes from. Not because someone took the "Christ" out of Christmas.
Traditionally, Christmas trees are taken down after Epiphany (January 6).
More diamonds are sold around Christmas than any other time of the year.
In Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year.
At Christmas, it is traditional to exchange kisses beneath the mistletoe tree. In ancient Scandinavia, mistletoe was associated with peace and friendship. That may account for the custom of "kissing beneath the mistletoe".
History of the Candy Cane. It was created in a small Indiana town to symbolize the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy to symbolize the Virgin Birth. The candymaker formed the stick into a “J” to represent the name of Jesus. It can also represent the staff of the “Good Shepherd.” He thought the candy was too plain so he stained it with a red stripe to symbolize the blood shed by Christ on the cross.
Chanukah can fall anytime between the middle of November and beginning of January. The exact dates are decided according to the Jewish calendar, which is Lunar-based. The 8-day holiday starts on 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
The candles used for lighting Hanukah Menorah are supposed to burn for at least half an hour after the stars come out.
Placing the menorah in a window, to share the miracle and the celebration with passers bys, is considered to be a very important tradition of the festival.
The festival of Hanukkah has become more commercial with the giving of gifts, due to its proximity to Christmas. Earlier giving gifts was not a part of its tradition.
The nine-branched candelabrum used on a Chanukah is a misnomer; it is actually called a chanukiah. The menorah is actually a seven-branched candelabrum.
Chanukah begins four days before the new moon, which is the darkest night of the Kislev month. The month is close to the winter solstice, which is the longest and darkest month of the year. Like many other faiths, the Jewish holiday of Chanukah brings light in the darkest time of the year.
For most of its history, Hanukkah was a minor holiday. It gained popularity in the late 1800s, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays in the calendar.
It takes 44 candles all together to observe all the eight nights of the Chanukah festival.
Kwanzaa is celebrated daily from December 26 to January 1.
Kwanzaa (Swahili for "fresh fruits") is based on an African harvest festival.
The Karamu, or feast, is held on December 31 and one of the high points of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa was created by Maulana Karenga, a professor of black studies at California State University at Long Beach, in 1966. It is a nonreligious celebration of family and social values for African American families.
Gifts are given mainly to children, but must always include a book and a heritage symbol. The book is to emphasize the African value and tradition of learning stressed since ancient Egypt, and the heritage symbol to reaffirm and reinforce the African commitment to tradition and history.
The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green as noted above and can be utilized in decorations for Kwanzaa. Also decorations should include traditional African items, i.e., African baskets, cloth patterns, art objects, harvest symbols, etc.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith).