6th Day Of Christmas

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The early North American colonists brought their version of the Twelve Days over from England, and adapted them to their new country, adding their own variations over the years. For example, the modern-day Christmas wreath may have originated with these colonials. A homemade wreath would be fashioned from local greenery and fruits, if available, were added. Making the wreaths was one of the traditions of Christmas Eve; they would remain hung on each home’s front door beginning on Christmas Night (first night of Christmas) through Twelfth Night or Epiphany morning. As was already the tradition in their native England, all decorations would be taken down by Epiphany morning and the remainder of the edibles would be consumed. A special cake, the king cake, was also baked then for Epiphany.The Armenian Apostolic Church and Armenian Catholic Church celebrate the Birth and Baptism of Christ on the same day, so that there is no distinction between a feast of Christmas and a feast of Epiphany.The Saturday following the Nativity is commemorated by special readings from the Epistle (1 Tim 6:11–16) and Gospel (Matt 12:15–21) during the Divine Liturgy. The Sunday after the Nativity has its own liturgical commemoration in honour of “The Righteous Ones: Joseph the Betrothed, David the King and James the Brother of the Lord”.The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. In some Western ecclesiastical traditions, “Christmas Day” is considered the “First Day of Christmas” and the Twelve Days are 25 December to 5 January, inclusive, with 6 January being a “thirteenth day” in some traditions and languages. However, 6 January is sometimes considered Twelfth Day/Twelfth Night with the Twelve Days “of” Christmas actually after Christmas Day from 26 December to 6 January. For many Christian denominations—for example, the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Church—the Twelve Days are identical to Christmastide, but for others, e.g. the Roman Catholic Church, Christmastide lasts longer than the Twelve Days of Christmas but the Christmas itself lasts one day on December 25.

Another of the more prominent festivals that are included among the Twelve Great Feasts is that of the Circumcision of Christ on 1 January. On this same day is the feast day of Saint Basil the Great, and so the service celebrated on that day is the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil.

Christians who celebrate the Twelve Days may give gifts on each of them, with each of the Twelve Days representing a wish for a corresponding month of the new year. They may feast on traditional foods and otherwise celebrate the entire time through the morning of the Solemnity of Epiphany. Contemporary traditions include lighting a candle for each day, singing the verse of the corresponding day from the famous The Twelve Days of Christmas, and lighting a yule log on Christmas Eve and letting it burn some more on each of the twelve nights. For some, the Twelfth Night remains the night of the most festive parties and exchanges of gifts. Some households exchange gifts on the first (25 December) and last (5 January) days of the Twelve Days. As in former times, the Twelfth Night to the morning of Epiphany is the traditional time during which Christmas trees and decorations are removed.New Year’s Eve on 31 December is the feast of Pope St. Sylvester I and is known also as “Silvester”. The transition that evening to the new year is an occasion for secular festivities in many nations, and in several languages is known as “St. Sylvester Night” (“Notte di San Silvestro” in Italian, “Silvesternacht” in German, “Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre” in French, and “סילבסטר” in Hebrew).

Christmas Day, if it is considered to be part of the Twelve Days of Christmas and not as the day preceding the Twelve Days, is celebrated by Christians as the liturgical feast of the Nativity of the Lord. It is a public holiday in many nations, including some where the majority of the population is not Christian. On this see the articles on Christmas and Christmas traditions.Some of these traditions were adapted from the older pagan customs, including the Roman Saturnalia and the Germanic Yuletide. Some also have an echo in modern-day pantomime where traditionally authority is mocked and the principal male lead is played by a woman, while the leading older female character, or ‘Dame’, is played by a man.

The Second Council of Tours of 567 noted that, in the area for which its bishops were responsible, the days between Christmas and Epiphany were, like the month of August, taken up entirely with saints’ days. Monks were therefore in principle not bound to fast on those days. However, the first three days of the year were to be days of prayer and penance so that faithful Christians would refrain from participating in the idolatrous practices and debauchery associated with the new year celebrations. The Fourth Council of Toledo (633) ordered a strict fast on those days, on the model of the Lenten fast.

26 December is “St. Stephen’s Day”, a feast day in the Western Church. In the United Kingdom and its former colonies, it is also the secular holiday of Boxing Day. In some parts of Ireland it is denominated “Wren Day”.
Many in the UK and other Commonwealth nations still celebrate some aspects of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Boxing Day, 26 December, is a national holiday in many Commonwealth nations. Victorian era stories by Charles Dickens, and others, particularly A Christmas Carol, hold key elements of the celebrations such as the consumption of plum pudding, roasted goose and wassail. These foods are consumed more at the beginning of the Twelve Days in the UK.

The traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas have been nearly forgotten in the United States. Contributing factors include the popularity of the stories of Charles Dickens in nineteenth-century America, with their emphasis on generous giving; introduction of secular traditions in the 19th and 20th centuries, e. g., the American Santa Claus; and increase in the popularity of secular New Year’s Eve parties. Presently, the commercial practice treats the Solemnity of Christmas, 25 December, the first day of Christmas, as the last day of the “Christmas” marketing season, as the numerous “after-Christmas sales” that commence on 26 December demonstrate. The commercial calendar has encouraged an erroneous assumption that the Twelve Days end on Christmas Day and must therefore begin on 14 December.

Other Roman Catholic liturgical feasts on the General Roman Calendar that occur within the Octave of Christmas and therefore also within the Twelve Days of Christmas are the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist on 27 December; the Feast of the Holy Innocents on 28 December; Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr on 29 December; and the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas or, if there is no such Sunday, on 30 December. Outside the Octave, but within the Twelve Days of Christmas, there are the feast of Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus on 2 January and the Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus on 3 January.
On 2 January begins the Forefeast of the Theophany. The Eve of the Theophany on 5 January is a day of strict fasting, on which the devout will not eat anything until the first star is seen at night. This day is known as Paramony (Greek Παραμονή “Eve”), and follows the same general outline as Christmas Eve. That morning is the celebration of the Royal Hours and then the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil combined with Vespers, at the conclusion of which is celebrated the Great Blessing of Waters, in commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. There are certain parallels between the hymns chanted on Paramony and those of Good Friday, to show that, according to Orthodox theology, the steps that Jesus took into the Jordan River were the first steps on the way to the Cross. That night the All-Night Vigil is served for the Feast of the Theophany.Many American Christians still celebrate the traditional liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas, especially Amish, Anglo-Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Mennonites, Methodists, Moravians, Nazarenes, Orthodox Christians, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. In Anglicanism, the designation of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” is used liturgically in the Episcopal Church in the US, having its own invitatory antiphon in the Book of Common Prayer for Matins.The Oriental Orthodox (other than the Armenians), the Eastern Orthodox, and the Eastern Catholics who follow the same traditions have a twelve-day interval between the two feasts. Christmas and Epiphany are celebrated by these churches on 25 December and 6 January using the Julian calendar, which correspond to 7 and 19 January using the Gregorian calendar. The Twelve Days, using the Gregorian calendar, end at sunset on 18 January.In many nations, e. g., the United States, the Solemnity of Epiphany is transferred to the first Sunday after 1 January, which can occur as early as 2 January. That solemnity, then, together with customary observances associated with it, usually occur within the Twelve Days of Christmas, even if these are considered to end on 5 January rather than 6 January.New Year’s Day on 1 January is an occasion for further secular festivities or for rest from the celebrations of the night before. In the Roman Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, it is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, liturgically celebrated on the Octave Day of Christmas. It has also been celebrated, and still is in some denominations, as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, because according to Jewish tradition He would have been circumcised on the eighth day after His Birth, inclusively counting the first day and last day. This day, or some day proximate to it, is also celebrated by the Roman Catholics as World Day of Peace.In 567, the Council of Tours “proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany (i.e. to just before midnight 5 January as Epiphany begins 6 January) as a sacred and festive season, and established the duty of Advent fasting in preparation for the feast.” Christopher Hill, as well as William J. Federer, states that this was done in order to solve the “administrative problem for the Roman Empire as it tried to coordinate the solar Julian calendar with the lunar calendars of its provinces in the east.”

The period between Christmas and Epiphany is fast-free. During this period one celebration leads into another. The Nativity of Christ is a three-day celebration: the formal title of the first day (i. e. Christmas Eve) is “The Nativity According to the Flesh of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ”, and celebrates not only the Nativity of Jesus, but also the Adoration of the Shepherds of Bethlehem and the arrival of the Magi; the second day is referred to as the “Synaxis of the Theotokos”, and commemorates the role of the Virgin Mary in the Incarnation; the third day is known as the “Third Day of the Nativity”, and is also the feast day of the Protodeacon and Protomartyr Saint Stephen. 29 December is the Orthodox Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Afterfeast of the Nativity (similar to the Western octave) continues until 31 December (that day is known as the Apodosis or “leave-taking” of the Nativity).
In England in the Middle Ages, this period was one of continuous feasting and merrymaking, which climaxed on Twelfth Night, the traditional end of the Christmas season on 5 January (the last night before Ephiphany which started 6 January). William Shakespeare used it as the setting for one of his most famous stage plays, Twelfth Night. Often a Lord of Misrule was chosen to lead the Christmas revels.Twelfth Night is the last day for decorations to be taken down, and it is held to be bad luck to leave decorations up after this. This is in contrast to the custom in Elizabethan England, when decorations were left up until Candlemas; this is still done in some other Western European countries such as Germany.

European History Professor Joseph Perry wrote that in Nazi Germany, “because Nazi ideologues saw organized religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to deemphasize—or eliminate altogether—the Christian aspects of the holiday” and that “Propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas songs, which replaced Christian themes with the regime’s racial ideologies.”
Christmastide, commonly called the Twelve Days of Christmas, lasts 12 days, from 25 December to 5 January, the latter date being named as Twelfth Night. These traditional dates are adhered to by the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church.For the Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Anglican Church and Methodist Church, Christmastide begins on 24 December at sunset or Vespers, which is liturgically the beginning of Christmas Eve. Most of 24 December is thus not part of Christmastide, but of Advent, the season in the Church Year that precedes Christmastide. In many liturgical calendars Christmastide is followed by the closely related season of Epiphanytide that commences at sunset on 5 January—a date known as Twelfth Night.

In 567, the Council of Tours “proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany as a sacred and festive season, and established the duty of Advent fasting in preparation for the feast.” Christopher Hill, as well as William J. Federer, states that this was done in order to solve the “administrative problem for the Roman Empire as it tried to coordinate the solar Julian calendar with the lunar calendars of its provinces in the east.” Ronald Hutton adds that, while the Council of Tours declared the 12 days one festal cycle, it confirmed that three of those days were fasting days, dividing the rejoicing days into two blocs.Customs of the Christmas season include carol singing, gift giving, attending Nativity plays, church services, and eating special food, such as Christmas cake. Traditional examples of Christmas greetings include the Western Christian phrase “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!” and the Eastern Christian greeting “Christ is born!”, to which others respond, “Glorify Him!” In medieval era Christendom, Christmastide “lasted from the Nativity to the Purification.” To this day, the “Christian cultures in Western Europe and Latin America extend the season to forty days, ending on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Mary on 2 February, a feast also known as Candlemas because of the blessing of candles on this day, inspired by the Song of Simeon, which proclaims Jesus as ‘a light for revelation to the nations’.” Many Churches refer to the period after the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas and up to Candlemas, as Epiphanytide, also called the Epiphany season. In several parts of the world, it is common to have a large family feast on Christmas Day, preceded by saying grace. Desserts such as Christmas cake are unique to Christmastide; in India and Pakistan, a version known as Allahabadi cake is popular. During the Christmas season, it is also very common for Christmas carols to be sung at Christian churches, as well as in front of houses—in the latter scenario, groups of Christians go from one house to another to sing Christmas carols. Popular Christmas carols include “Silent Night”, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”, “We Three Kings”, “Down in Yon Forest”, “Away in a Manger”, “I Wonder as I Wander”, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”, “There’s a Song in the Air”, and “Let all mortal flesh keep silence”. In the Christmas season, it is very common for television stations to air feature films relating to Christmas and Christianity in general, such as The Greatest Story Ever Told and Scrooge.On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (the first day of Christmastide), it is customary for most households in Christendom to attend a service of worship or Mass. During the season of Christmastide, in many Christian households, a gift is given for each of the Twelve Days of Christmastide, while in others, gifts are only given on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Twelfth Night, the first and last days of the festive season, respectively. The practice of giving gifts during Christmastide, according to Christian tradition, is symbolic of the presentation of the gifts by the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus. The government of the People’s Republic of China officially espouses state atheism, and has conducted antireligious campaigns to this end. In December 2018, officials raided Christian churches just prior to Christmastide and coerced them to close; Christmas trees and Santa Clauses were also forcibly removed. There are several celebrations within Christmastide, including Christmas Day (25 December), St. Stephen’s Day (26 December), Childermas (28 December), New Year’s Eve (31 December), the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ or the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1 January), and the Feast of the Holy Family (date varies). The Twelve Days of Christmas terminate with Epiphany Eve or Twelfth Night (the evening of 5 January).Every Christian home should have its own little crib round which, on these days, morning and evening prayers should be said. At this season, consecrated to childlike joys, children will understand that they must join with the shepherds and the wise men together with Mary and Joseph in worshipping the Child Jesus, the Babe who lying on His bed of straw is God and beseech Him that through His grace they may become ever increasingly children of God together with Him. The greetings of “Happy Christmas” which remind us of the artless mirth of the shepherds on that holy night; the Christmas tree, often with a source of joy to the poor, representatives of Christ in the property of His manger bed; Christmas gifts recalling God’s great gift of His Son to us on the first Christmas night; the Twelfth-Night cake; all these are Christian customs which ought to be preserved. —The Saint Andrew Daily Missal

On Saint Stephen’s Day, the second day of Christmastide, people traditionally have their horses blessed, and on the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist, the third day of Christmastide, wine is blessed and consumed. On New Year’s Eve (the seventh day of Christmastide), it is common for many Christians to attend a watchnight service to thank God for being blessed in the previous year and resolving to serve Him in the coming year. Throughout the twelve days of Christmastide, many people view Nativity plays, among other forms of “musical and theatrical presentations”.However, the ending is defined differently by other Christian denominations. In 1969, the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church expanded Christmastide by a variable number of days: “Christmas Time runs from… up to and including the Sunday after Epiphany or after 6 January.” Before 1955, the 12 Christmastide days in the Roman Rite (25 December to 5 January) were followed by the 8 days of the Octave of Epiphany, 6–13 January, and its 1960 Code of Rubrics defined “Christmastide” as running “from I vespers of Christmas to none of 5th January inclusive”. The Saint Andrew Daily Missal (1945) says Christmastide begins with “the vigil of the feast [Christmas Day] and ends in the temporal cycle on the octave day of the Epiphany…[and] in the sanctoral cycle on the Purification of our Lady (Feb. 2).” Within the Christmas Cycle is “the time before, during and after the feast itself, thus having for its aim to prepare the soul for them, then allow it to celebrate them with solemnity and finally to prolong them several weeks”; this references Advent, Christmas, and the Time after Epiphany (Epiphanytide).

Why is Jan 6 the end of Christmas?
According to Christian tradition, January 6 marks the day the three kings actually arrived in Bethlehem after Jesus was born, so this day signals the official end of the Christmas celebrations.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the Greek Catholic Churches and Byzatine-Rite Lutheran Churches, Christmas is the third most important feast (after Pascha and Pentecost). The day after, the Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Theotokos. This means that Saint Stephen’s Day and the Feast of the Holy Innocents fall one day later than in the West. The coming of the Wise Men is celebrated on the feast itself. In the Russian Orthodox Church, Christmastide is referred to as “Svyatki”, meaning “Holy Days”. It is celebrated from the Nativity of Christ (7 January N.S.) to the Theophany or Baptism of Christ (19 January N.S.). Activities during this period include attending church services, singing Christmas carols and spiritual hymns, visiting relatives and friends, and performing works of mercy, such as visiting the sick, the elderly people, orphans, and giving generous alms. With the atheistic Cult of Reason in power during the era of Revolutionary France, Christian Christmas religious services were banned and the three kings cake of the Christmas-Epiphany season was forcibly renamed the “equality cake” under anticlerical government policies.

It was not until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the prohibition ended and Christmas was celebrated for the first time in Russia after seven decades. Russia had adopted the custom of celebrating New Year’s Day instead. However, the Orthodox Church Christmas is on 7 January. This is, also, an official national holiday.
Under the state atheism of the Soviet Union, after its foundation in 1917, Christmas celebrations—along with other Christian holidays—were prohibited. Saint Nicholas was replaced by Ded Moroz or Grandfather Frost, the Russian Spirit of Winter who brought gifts on New Year’s, accompanied by the snowmaiden Snyegurochka who helps distribute gifts.During the Christmas season, various festivities are traditionally enjoyed and buildings are adorned with Christmas decorations, which are often set up during Advent. These Christmas decorations include the Nativity Scene, Christmas tree, and various Christmas ornaments. In the Western Christian world, the two traditional days on which Christmas decorations are removed are Twelfth Night, Baptism of Jesus and Candlemas. Any not removed on the first occasion should be left undisturbed until the second. Leaving the decorations up beyond Candlemas is considered to be inauspicious. The Saint Andrew Daily Missal (1945), authored by Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, stipulates:

According to the German company Sellmer Advents-Kallender, the concept of advent calendars dates back to the 19th century, when German families would mark their doors or walls with a tally mark in chalk to count the days until Christmas.
Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “arrival” or “coming.” For Protestants, Catholics and other Christian traditions, Advent is a four-week period intended to be a time of preparation for the arrival of Jesus Christ.They typically start on Dec. 1 and continue up to Dec. 25, though there are alternatives available such as the 12 Days of Christmas countdown calendars. Children and adults alike will love the traditional Advent Calendars of tiny chocolates and newer novelties like puzzles, jewelry, toy figurines and more. While tradition dictates that you should start an Advent Calendar on Dec. 1 and continue with it every day until Dec. 25, modern Advent Calendars can be found with fewer days (like a dozen or less) and others are like gifts that are fun to open all at once.

What is December 6th Christmas tradition?
Nicholas Day is celebrated on the day of his death, December 6, and children leave shoes or stockings outside of their bedroom door or on the hearth on December 6 (sometimes with carrots or hay for his white horse or donkey).
A German printer named Gerhard Lang is credited with the idea of the Advent Calendar itself. He designed cardboard Advent calendars around the turn of the century and later in the 1920s, came up with the idea of cutting out little doors that could be opened each day. Behind each door, one could expect to find a devotional picture or Bible verse.

Since Dec. 25 falls on a different day of the week every year, the dates of advent can also shift. This year, Advent began on Sunday, Nov. 27 and ends on Saturday, Dec. 24.
In the United States, the popularity of the Advent Calendar didn’t really take off until 1954, when Newsweek published a photo of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s grandchildren holding one.In October 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar as a correction of the Julian calendar, because the latter has too many leap years that cause it to drift out of alignment with the solar year. This has liturgical significance since calculation of the date of Easter assumes that spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on 21 March. To correct the accumulated error, he ordained the date be advanced by ten days. Most Roman Catholic countries adopted the new calendar immediately and Protestant countries followed suit over the following 200 years. In particular, the British Empire (including the American colonies) did so from 1752 with the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, by which time the divergence had grown to eleven days. This meant that Christmas Day on 25 December (‘New Style’) was eleven days earlier than it would have been but for the Act, making “Old Christmas” [25 December (‘Old Style’)] happen on 5 January (NS). In February 1800, the Julian calendar had another leap year but the Gregorian did not, moving Old Christmas to 6 January (NS), which coincided with the Feast of the Epiphany.

In Ireland, Little Christmas is also called Women’s Christmas (Irish: Nollaig na mBan), and sometimes Women’s Little Christmas. The tradition, still strong in Cork and Kerry, is so called because Irish men take on household duties for the day. Goose was the traditional meat served on Women’s Christmas. Some women hold parties or go out on 6 January with their friends, sisters, mothers and aunts. As a result, parties of women and girls are common in bars and restaurants on this night.
In the Western Christian world, the two traditional days when Christmas decorations are removed are Twelfth Night (the night before the Feast of the Epiphany) and if they are not taken down on that day, Candlemas, the latter of which ends the Christmas-Epiphany season in some denominations.Owing to differences in liturgical calendars, as early as the fourth century, the churches of the eastern Roman Empire were celebrating Christmas on 6 January, while those of the western Roman Empire were celebrating it on 25 December.

What is the order of 12 Days of Christmas?
Eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, Seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, Three French hens, two turtle doves and a Partridge in a pear tree. Cached
In Scandinavia, where the main celebration of Christmas is on Christmas Eve, the evening of 23 December is known as little Christmas Eve (Danish: lillejuleaften).”In some sections of Arkansas there are people who bury the entrails of a black hen under the hearth on “Old Christmas.” This is said to protect the house against destruction by lightning or fire. […] I know that some “peckerwood families” did bury chicken guts under their hearths as recently as 1935, not far from the enlightened metropolis of Hot Springs.”

In the late 19th Century, the day was also known as Little Christmas in some parts of England, such as Lancashire. In the Isle of Man, New Year’s Day on 1 January was formerly called Laa Nolick beg in Manx, or Little Christmas Day, while 6 January was referred to as Old Christmas Day. The name Little Christmas is also found in other languages including Slovene (mali Božič), Galician (Nadalinho), and Ukrainian.
A “Little Christmas” is also a figure in Irish set dancing. It refers to a figure where half the set, four dancers, join with hands linked behind partners lower back, and the whole figure proceeds to rotate in a clockwise motion, usually for eight bars. In the dance concerned, female participants enacted the traditional celebration’s house visits and slightly subversive tone by taking the active “male” role of switching from partner to partner.Celebration of Christmas Day on 6 January is reflected in the words of Cherry-Tree Carol, an English folk-song that migrated to Appalachia in the Eastern United States. In his paper The Observance of Old Christmas in Southern Appalachia, C R Young writes ‘sometime before the twentieth century, singers who may have been Appalachian residents turned the question which Mary asks of Jesus in regard to “what this world will be” into a query which Joseph puts to the unborn baby. Taking “Mary all on his left knee,” he inquires when the birthday will be. Jesus responds:’

In the Scottish Highlands the term Little Christmas (Scottish Gaelic: Nollaig Bheag) is applied to New Year’s Day, also known as Là Challuinn, or Là na Bliadhna Ùire, while Epiphany is known as Là Féill nan Rìgh, the feast-day of the Kings. The Transalpine Redemptorists who live on Papa Stronsay in Scotland, celebrate ‘Little Christmas’ on the twenty-fifth day of every month, except for December, when the twenty-fifth day is celebrated as Christmas Day. The custom of blessing homes on Epiphany developed because the feast commemorates the time that the three kings visited the home of the Holy Family.
In Ireland, it is the traditional day to remove the Christmas tree and decorations. The tradition is not well documented, but one article from The Irish Times (January 1998), entitled “On the woman’s day of Christmas,” describes both some sources of information and the spirit of this occasion.

Little Christmas (Irish: Nollaig na mBan, lit. ‘Women’s Christmas’), also known as Old Christmas, Green Christmas, or Twelfth Night, is one of the traditional names among Irish Christians and Amish Christians for 6 January, which is also known more widely as the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated after the conclusion of the twelve days of Christmastide. It is the traditional end of the Christmas season and until 2013 was the last day of the Christmas holidays for both primary and secondary schools in Ireland.
In some parts of the Spanish-speaking world, the emphasis of Christmas Day is on family dinner reunion and church attendance, while gifts are exchanged on the Feast of the Epiphany, when according to tradition the Three Wise Men (or Magi) brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Child Jesus. Tradition names them Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar. It is an important celebration in Spanish-speaking countries, mainly dedicated to children, who receive their gifts on the morning of 6 January. In some countries, like Spain, it is a public holiday that marks the end of the Christmas season which started on Christmas Eve (24 December).For this reason, in some parts of the world, the Feast of the Epiphany, which is traditionally observed on 6 January, is sometimes referred to as Old Christmas or Old Christmas Day. (Although 1900 was also not a leap year in the Gregorian calendar (and thus the Julian 25 December has since that year coincided with 7 January in the Gregorian calendar) the custom of celebrating Little Christmas on 6 January did not change.) Young reports that “Bill ‘Kitchen’ Isom, an advocate of Old Christmas whose rendering of this carol Jean Thomas recorded in Carter County, Kentucky, gave the ‘wind up of it’ in these words: The Twelve Days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day, December 25th. The twelfth day ends at midnight on January 5th of each year. The Holy Day of the Epiphany is followed on January 6.There is a limit to how much you can kiss under one sprig of mistletoe though. For each kiss a berry must be removed and once all the berries are gone – no more kissing!

Why is Russian Christmas on the 7th?
Orthodox Christmas day occurs every January 7 because the Orthodox Church still chooses to celebrate the birth of Jesus as per the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar that is currently in use today led to a new Christmas Day on December 25 due to the addition of new elements that changed the calendar year.
Mistletoe was considered sacred by the people of ancient Britain. The Druid priests used it in their sacrifices to the gods.It was believed to have magical properties. People who met under a tree bearing mistletoe were forbidden to fight, even if they were enemies, and anyone who entered a home decorated with mistletoe was entitled to shelter and protection. Mistletoe may even have been part of Druidic wedding ceremonies. The Celtic people believed it had miraculous healing powers. In fact the name for mistletoe in the Celtic languages is all heal. mistletoe could cure diseases, render poisons harmless, make humans and animals fertile, protect the house from ghosts and bring good luck.

Nowadays, according to research by, of all things, Jarlsberg cheese, the average family gets out of bed just before 8am and is ready to start opening presents by 8.19am. Once the wrapping paper has been torn off all the presents, the family sits down to breakfast at 9.02am, but not before they have tucked into a bit of chocolate at 8.39am.

Around Victorian times another traditional Christmas feast was roasted goose or roasted turkey. In Victorian times, most Londoners would have been familiar with the “goose club”, which was a method of saving to buy a goose for Christmas. Goose clubs were popular with working-class Londoners, who paid a few pence a week towards the purchase of a Christmas goose. The week before Christmas, London meat markets were crammed with geese and turkeys, many imported from Germany and France, although some were raised in Norfolk, and taken to market in London. The birds were walked from Norfolk to the markets in London, to protect their feet the turkeys were dressed in boots made of sacking or leather and geese had their feet protected with a covering of tar. The traditional Christmas goose was featured in Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.
The first charity Christmas card was produced by UNICEF in 1949. The picture chosen for the card was painted not by a professional artist but by a seven year old girl called Jitka Samkova of Rudolfo, a small town in what was then Czechoslovakia. The town received assistance from UNICEF after the Second World War, inspiring Jitka to paint some children dancing around a maypole. She said her picture represented “joy going round and round”.It was introduced as a custom by the Victorians. Prior to that period, cake was eaten during Christmas, but without the toppings. The idea of using marzipan is thought to be linked to the Tudor Marchpane an iced and decorated cake of marzipan that acted as the table centrepiece during banquets and festive occasions. They should be made about six weeks before Christmas and are usually decorated with ribbons and images of Santa Claus or robins with holly.

Long long ago, in the days when Saint Nicholas was alive, there lived a kindly nobleman. He had a beautiful wife and three pretty young daughters, and all the money his family would ever need. But one day, the mother of the family, who was a sweet gentle woman, became very ill. The nobleman was frantic! He summoned the town’s only doctor, a very old, very wise woman, who knew all there was to know about herbs and magic.
Now, Saint Nicholas happened to live in the same area. The kindly saint had dedicated his whole life to doing good deeds, and was always on the lookout for someone in need. One night the saint came riding through the town on his white horse looking for the house of the nobleman and his three daughters. He rode up to the cottage and peeked in through a chink in the wall. That same night, the daughters had washed out their clothes by hand, and hung them up in front of the fireplace to dry. There were the stockings, three pairs, hanging right on the chimney. Inspiration struck Saint Nicholas. From his pouch he took out three little bags filled with gold coins. One by one he threw the bags down the chimney, so they landed in the stockings of the three daughters. The nobleman, worried about his daughters’ futures, had terrible trouble falling asleep a night and was still awake. He heard the clip clop of the white horse as the saint was leaving, and peeked out of the door. He called out to Nicholas, but he had already disappeared into the dark night.Christmas cards became popular in Victorian England, they were mostly home made and given to loved ones. The first ever Christmas card was the brainchild of Sir Henry Cole, a leading cultural light in Victorian England who was later to become director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The first commercial Christmas card (pictured above) had a hostile reception from some people because it depicted a family, children as well as adults, drinking wine. The card was painted by John Calcott Horsley. It depicts a family feast, under which appear the words, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You”. Side panels illustrated acts of Christmas charity – feeding and clothing the poor etc..

Two traditions that have caught on in England are the Advent calendar and the Advent candle. The Advent Calendar originated in the 19th Century from the protestant area of Germany. Protestant Christian families made a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve. Before long, commercial entrepreneurs started replacing the ephemeral chalk lines with printed calendars. The first known Advent Calendar is for the advent of 1851. Nowadays it is usually a thin rectangular card with 24 or 25 doors. The doors are numbered 1-24/25. Door number 1 is opened on the 1st of December, door 2 on the 2nd etc. Behind each door there is a Christmas scene (but the most popular ones have a chocolate behind each door) .
The family will pull each other’s crackers before the meal starts, this often involves crossing arms and pulling two crackers at once. The person who gets the “big end” keeps the plastic trinket. The paper hats are donned, and the jokes read out, accompanied by moans and groans at how awful they are. Then, and only then, can the meal begin. Along with a tree, and bits of tree, holly, ivy and misteltoe, a lot of other materials are used to decorate the house at Christmas. Some people don’t even stop inside the house and the most amazing displays of lights and various inflatables decorate their front gardens. Wonder round urban areas of the UK you can spot the houses that have entered into the “competitive” spirit of seeing who can cram the most stuff into the smallest space. The real St. Nicholas lived in Turkey, he was bishop of the Turkish town of Myra in the early 4th century. It was the Dutch who first made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name eventually became the familiar Santa Claus.

Another custom in medieval times, was to hide a dried bean in a cake, the cake was then eaten on Twelfth Night (January 6), during the most boisterous party of the year. The finder of the bean became “King of the Bean” and ruled the party for the night.If the mincemeat is home made everyone in the household should stir it as it is considered to be lucky. The cases should be oval in shape, to represent the manger, with a tiny pastry baby Jesus on top, but as very few people have tins that shape they are nearly always round now. Another controversial topic is taking photographs or filming the play. Some schools have banned this because of fears of inappropriate use of the images. However, some canny schools then sell DVDs of the play. In the UK, increasing secularism and sensitivity in multicultural areas has led many schools to end the performance of Nativity plays, or significantly alter their content, causing others to complain about excessive political correctness. In 2014, there were reports of drunken spacemen, Elvis Presley, footballers, aliens, punk fairies, and a lobster (that must be a posh school) all making an appearance.

Christmas Crackers have been a part of the traditional British Christmas since1847, when almost by accident, Tom Smith invented the cracker. They are used to decorate the table at dinner.
Holly, with its dark green spiky leaves and red berries, was also believed to have magical powers and the ability to drive demons away. In Germany holly was considered to be a good luck charm against the hostile forces of nature.

The tradition of hanging up the stocking is still followed in the British Isles. It is left out on Christmas Eve, along with mince pies, sherry and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, and even today most children are in bed way before midnight waiting for Santa to visit.
Mince pies were often known as Christmas pies, they were banned in the seventeenth century by that killjoy Cromwell but eventually came back into existence after the Restoration. They are made with mincemeat – which doesn’t contain meat at all (see my recipe). The sweet, rich and fruity pies that we are now accustomed to developed early in the twentieth century when the meat content was removed for good and now the “mincemeat” is a mixture of dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, candied peel, etc.,) apples, spices, sugar and suet, often moistened with brandy or sherry, and baked in small pastry cases.Pantomime or “panto” is traditionally performed at Christmas, with family audiences consisting mainly of children and parents. British pantomime is now a popular form of theatre, incorporating song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, in-jokes, audience participation, and mild sexual innuendo. There are a number of traditional story-lines, and there is also a fairly well-defined set of performance conventions. Many theatres in cities and provincial towns throughout the United Kingdom continue to have an annual pantomime and it is very popular with Amateur Dramatics societies. The Pantomime season lasts from around December to February. You should be able to see pantomime productions in many village halls and similar venues across the country.However, according to A Celebration and History(ISBN 0-679-74038-4), by Leigh Grant, the written lyrics to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” first appeared in Mirth without Mischief in the early 1780s in England. Grant states that the tune to which these words are sung apparently dates back much further and came from France. Mirth without Mischief describes “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a type of memory game played by children at that time. A leader recited the first verse, the next child recited the second verse, and so on until someone missed a verse and had to pay some kind of penalty in the game. There was no religious significance. At anyrate the popular urban myth makes a good story… at least as good as the song itself, so here is a slice of urban myth culture for you: A very famous song about this time of year is “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, which has a very interesting history. During the period 1558 to 1829 Catholics in England were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law – private or public. It was a crime to be a Catholic. Some people say that the song was written to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith during that period when to be caught with anything in ‘writing’ indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, but could also get you hanged, drawn and quartered! The song’s gifts are allegedly hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. “True Love” mentioned refers to God. “Me” refers to every baptized person, here are the other lyrics and their other hidden meanings. However, some people say this is an Urban Myth, but you can make your own mind up.

What was the 6th day of Christmas?
Epiphany (holiday)EpiphanySignificanceIn Eastern Christianity: commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus only In Western Christianity: commemoration of the Adoration of the Magi, with subordinate commemorations of the Baptism of Jesus and the Wedding at Cana CachedSimilar
It originated in medieval times, when every priest was supposed to empty the alms box of his church and distribute gifts to the poor. Wealthy people indulged in huge Christmas feasts, and when they were finished, packed up the remains of feasts in boxes and gave them out to their servants. It didn’t become widely celebrated though until Victorian England.Inside the house you will typically find garlands, fake snow, nativity sets, candles, window decorations, and row upon row of Christmas cards. The table will be set (probably the only time in the year when the whole family sits down together to eat) with the best table cloth, glasses, crockery and cutlery. Christmas trees are an integral part of the Christmas decorations in most British households. Although it was always traditional to bring evergreens into the house the Christmas tree is another tradition borrowed from Germany, where it is said that German Martin Luther was the first person to decorate a tree with candles and bring it indoors to show his children what stars looked like at night in the forest. It didn’t become popular in Britain until the nineteenth century, when Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert introduced the custom from Germany. The book “A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens. It is the tale of a miser called Ebeneezer Scrooge who is visited by four ghosts (Jacob Marley, The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future). He was made to see the error of his ways and became a reformed character.In Ireland there is an Irish custom called “feeding the wren”. The custom is based on a legend of St. Stephen. Once he was forced to hide in a bush, but a chattering wren gave him away. In the past Children caged the wren to help it do penance for this misdeed. Nowadays children carry a long pole with a holly bush at the top – which is supposed to hide a captured wren.

The mistletoe’s kissing tradition, according to one account, comes from the Norse myths. Friga, one of the gods, gave her son, Balda, a charm of mistletoe to protect him from the elements, but because mistletoe grows neither from the water or the earth, nor from fire nor air, it grows on trees, it held the power to harm Balda. One of the other god’s arrows made of mistletoe struck Bolda down, and his mother cried tears of white berries. She brought her son back to life, and vowed to kiss anyone who rested beneath the plant. Thus the kissing tradition began.
Today carollers generally collect money for charity. The ‘Round Table’ in England often sends a big sleigh with a Christmas tree and people singing and playing carols around the cities and towns of England. In Wales, each village may have several choirs which rehearse well in advance of the holidays and then go carolling collecting money for charity.During the ancient 12-day Christmas celebration, it was considered unlucky to let the log in the fireplace stop burning. This log was called the Yule log and would be used to light the fire in New Year, to ensure that good luck carried on from year to year. The Yule Log custom was handed down from the Druids, but with the advent of gas and electric fires it is rarely observed nowadays.

What is the sixth day of Christmas in the Catholic Church?
Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas, December 30 Today, the sixth day of the Octave of Christmas, we honor the prophetess Anna.
In eighteenth century England mistletoe was credited, not with healing power, but with a different kind of magic. It was the magic element in the kissing ball, a special decoration used at Christmas parties. The kissing ball had a round frame that was trimmed with evergreens, ribbons and ornaments. Tiny nativity figures were placed inside it. For the finishing touch, a sprig of mistletoe was tied to the bottom of the ball. It was then hung from the ceiling, and party goers would play kissing games underneath it. A kiss under the mistletoe could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and good will.

For the Northern Europeans, Christmas came in the middle of winter, when the nights were very long, dark and cold. The voices of Ghosts and demons, witches, goblins and werewolves could be heard screaming out in the winter winds and storms. So the magical powers of mistletoe and holly were taken quite seriously. In Roman times ivy was the ancient symbol of Bakus, the god of wine and revelry. Due to its association with pagan festivals, for a long time, ivy was banned from the inside of Christian homes, and used only to decorate the outside. Not so any more. Its green has become part of the traditional Christmas.
Queen Elizabeth II continues the tradition to this day. Every year she broadcasts her message on Christmas Day, and it is heard by millions of people all over the world. In England most people watch or listen to it whilst digesting their Christmas Dinner!

Nowadays, the knitted pattern jumper is considered to be the worst present you could find under the tree, followed by a dustpan and brush and the dreaded socks.

In it’s simple form a cracker is a small cardboard tube covered in a brightly coloured twist of paper. When the cracker is ‘pulled’ by two people, each holding one end of the twisted paper, the friction creates a small explosive ‘pop’ produced by a narrow strip of chemically impregnated paper. Inside the cracker there is usually a tissue paper hat, a balloon, a slip of paper with a very corny joke on it (for example: “What does Santa call his blind reindeer?” “No-eye-deer!” / “Where do fish wash?” “In the river basin!” / “What do you get if you cross a sheep with a kangaroo?” “A wooly jumper!” /” What lies in a pram and wobbles?” “A jelly baby!” ) and a small gift (usually a little cheap plastic thing e.g. a plastic ring or nail clippers).
Advent is usually solemn and religious in spirit, while Saint Steven’s Day marks the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas, a light hearted time given over to merry making and fun. It is a holiday of heart-warming homecoming and family gatherings, with candles glowing in the windows as a sign of welcome.

Is it 8 or 12 days of Christmas?
Dates. Christmastide, commonly called the Twelve Days of Christmas, lasts 12 days, from 25 December to 5 January, the latter date being named as Twelfth Night. These traditional dates are adhered to by the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church.
The stocking is opened by excited children on Christmas morning. Nowadays the gifts Santa Claus brings can be quite elaborate, in Victorian times it was traditionally fruit, nuts, sweets and coins.Nowadays in the UK you will find a variety of trees, from real trees with roots that can be replanted after the festivities, to felled trees that get recycled, to plastic imitations that get unpacked every year. No one seems to be able to agree which is the most environmentally friendly option. The tree will be decorated with lights (candles are a rarity due to the risk of fire), tinsel, baubles, chocolate figures and coins, and the obligatory angel / fairy on the top. However in 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal, all festivities were banned by the Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry on what was supposed to be a holy day to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when Cromwell lost power in 1660. In England less emphasis is placed on Christmas Eve than in other countries, much more is made of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Carol singing, midnight church services and going out to the pub are some of the activities that many families enjoy (sometimes all three activities can be combined into one fun night out!).

What is the gift for the 6th day of Christmas?
To honor the sixth verse from “The 12 Days of Christmas,” look for a gift that incorporates eggs or geese. Our favorite idea: a delicious batch of homemade eggnog.
Because the early Christians did not want their religion to be associated with pagan festivals, they shunned gift giving as a pagan practice. It was in the middle ages that gift giving began to be part of the Christmas tradition. The kings of England, like the emperors of Rome, demanded gifts from their subjects. The common people also exchanged gifts, but only among the wealthy were elaborate gifts given. The poor exchanged trinkets and entertained each other with songs and parties and plays.

Nowadays, if you sit down with a typical British family on Christmas day, the starter is probably going to be prawns or smoked salmon. The main course is more than likely to be turkey, often free-range and the bigger the better, although goose has been making a bit of a comeback, and for the vegetarian in the family (there’s always one) a nut roast, this is normally served with potatoes (roasted, boiled, mashed, or maybe all three), vegetables (including the devil’s veg – brussel sprouts) roasted parsnips, and stuffing with gravy and bread sauce. This is usually followed by Christmas pudding; a rich fruit pudding served with brandy sauce or brandy butter.
Many primary schools and Sunday schools in the UK put on a Nativity play. Schoolchildren in costume act as the human and angel characters, and often as the animals and props. The infant Jesus is sometimes represented by a doll, but sometimes played by a real baby. Every year parents of young children dread the note from the school to say what role their child will play. Why do the dread it? Because they have to make the costume, and it’s a very competitive thing. Parents are judged on the quality of the costume, children are judged on the role they get to play and how many lines they get to speak. If you’re interested I got to play the star – not one line.

What is the prayer for the 6th day of Christmas?
Day 6: December 30 – Six Geese-A-Laying Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the beautiful world you have created, and everything in it. Lord let us be good stewards of all that you have given us. And in all the beauty you have made, may we see your face, and give you the glory.
In old England, unmarried women were supposed to tie a sprig of holly to their beds, to guard them against ghosts and devils. the In medieval times, when people were genuinely afraid of ghosts and demons, supernatural creatures were believed to be especially active at Christmas time.Christmas puddings or plum puddings are a very rich, dark pudding made with all sorts of dried fruits, nuts, spices, black treacle and lots of sherry or brandy. You can read more about Christmas puddings here.The sixteenth century saw England first officially celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night premiered in the first year of the seventeenth century, in a performance at the court of Elizabeth the First.

Night time on Christmas Eve though is a very exciting time for young children. It is the time when Santa or Father Christmas comes. They hang up their stockings and go to sleep. Santa and his elves make all the toys for Christmas in his home in Greenland. On Christmas Eve he piles all of the toys onto his sleigh and rides across the sky with his 9 reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner (or it may be Donder), Blitzen and of course … Rudolf!). The most famous one is Rudolf the who is always the one at the front, to lead the way with his red nose. In the morning when the children wake up they open their stocking presents. Traditionally on Christmas Eve mince pies and sherry (or milk) are left out for Santa and nowadays carrots are left for his reindeer. Most children are in bed way before midnight waiting for Santa to visit.

Nowadays most people buy their cards from Hallmark etc., they are sent before Christmas Day and people use them to decorate their houses. It can be an expensive affair though, some families send and receive well over 100 cards. But what could be nicer than a mantle piece decorated with beautiful cards bearing good wishes from friends and relatives.An Advent candle often has 25 marks on it, a bit of the candle is burned down by one mark each day. In some homes, 24 candles are kept, one for each night from December 1 through Christmas eve. One candle is lit for a while on December 1, then a new candle is added each day for the 24 day period. However, it is now more common to have four candles for the four weeks before Christmas. One candle is lit on the first Sunday, two the second week and so on. The candles were often placed on a wreath upon the dining room table. Advent candles are lit in many homes, schools and churches, in England, with a final central candle lit on Christmas Day; these are often on a hanging decoration known as an “Advent Crown.” They became exceedingly popular due to a children’s TV programme called Blue Peter, who every year made an advent crown from old coathangers, tinsel and candles! Well, they used to use candles, but because of health and safety insanity they now give instructions using baubles – it’s not really the same, but you can make an advent crown following the instructions in this pdf file.

Christmas cakes are also very rich and dark and contain just about every dried fruit you can think of, nuts (usually blanched almonds) glace cherries, candied peel and once again, sweetened with black treacle. They are covered with a layer of marzipan or almond paste and then thick white “Royal” icing made with icing sugar and egg whites.
Advent is not widely celebrated in England, its celebration actually originated in Germany, although in the church calendar Advent is the official start of the run up to Christmas.

The old woman tried all the cures she knew, but she could do nothing to save the poor woman. Finally he called for the priest to come, but by that time his poor wife had passed away. The nobleman was in despair! He missed his wife so much that he lost his head. He wasted all his money away on silly projects and useless inventions. He became so poor that he had to move his family out of their castle and into a little peasant’s cottage. Meanwhile his daughters were growing up. Poverty was difficult for them, but they remained cheerful and strong. They soon learned to do their own cooking, cleaning and sewing, and they took care of each other.
Many Christmas traditions, including the Christmas card, originated in the UK. Yule logs, plum pudding, mince pies, fruitcakes, wassailing, the Christmas goose, mistletoe, holly and carol singing, are all firmly rooted in British soil.The origins of the now traditional Christmas Celebration, distinct from earlier pagan winter holidays, date to sixth century England. By the middle ages, it was a well established important holiday, with traditional pageantry, customs, music and feasting all its own. Customs from pre Christian days were incorporated into the Celebrations, and many still remain.

What day do you start a 12 day Advent calendar?
While tradition dictates that you should start an Advent Calendar on Dec. 1 and continue with it every day until Dec. 25, modern Advent Calendars can be found with fewer days (like a dozen or less) and others are like gifts that are fun to open all at once.
All three girls were very pretty. In time each of them fell in love and wanted to get married. But they couldn’t because their father was so poor. He had no dowry (a sum of money or some valuable property) to give to the prospective husband’s family. He felt he had failed his own children, and he became even more sad and gloomy.A nativity scene, or crèche, is a depiction of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Sometimes the scene is a static, three dimensional scene, but there are so called “living nativity scenes” in which real humans and animals participate. Unfortunately all the excitement and stress means that at precisely 9.58 on Christmas morning the first rows begin, and the average parent ends up losing it, and they start to tell off their children for the first time around 11.07am. One Christmas ritual not drawn from an ancient tradition is the British monarch’s broadcast on Christmas day. The tradition began in 1932 when King George V read a special speech written by Rudyard Kipling. The broadcast was an enormous success . It began, “I speak now from my home and from my heart, to you all…”.St. Nicholas is a very hard-working saint, being the patron saint of children, merchants, apothecaries, pawnbrokers, scholars and mariners. He is reputed to be able to calm storms and rescue sailors. Even pirates have been known to claim his protection. Over the years he has become known as Santa Claus and even his now traditional red costume can be traced to Coca Cola advertising in America!

All that food and drink means the first person falls asleep at around 4.58pm, with dad being the leader in losing the “staying awake” battle. Almost half of those who do nod off end up annoying the others with their loud snoring. For those who manage to stay awake, family board games are brought out at 5.46pm.
Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 (a “living” one) intending thereby to cultivate the worship of Christ. The scene’s popularity inspired communities throughout Christendom to stage similar pantomimes and eventually to create elaborate and ever more elaborate static exhibitions with wax, wooden and even ivory and precious metal figurines garbed in rich fabrics set against intricate landscapes. When the daughters woke in the morning, they found their stockings filled with plenty of money for their dowries. When they went to tell their father, they found him sleeping peacefully with a smile on his face. Saint Nicholas had taken care of all his worries. And so, through the goodness of Saint Nicholas the three daughters were able to marry the men they loved, and the nobleman lived on to be a happy grandfather. Christmas carols have their roots in medieval England, when minstrels traveled from castle to castle, today they would be called carollers. In addition poor people in England would go wassailing, they would bring their mugs to the door of rich houses hoping for a share of the wassail bowl. The drink in the bowl was called lambswool. It was a brew of hot ale with sugar, eggs, spices and roast apples floating in it.In Britain, the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act of 1551 (which has not yet been repealed) states that every citizen must attend a Christian church service on Christmas Day, and must not use any kind of vehicle to get to the service There are a large number of Britons who break this law every year. The law may have been intended to encourage humility by forcing even the wealthy to attend the church on foot, or perhaps it was simply to avoid the traffic and parking crush that universal attendance would otherwise have brought about.

However it was Louis Prang, a 19th-century German immigrant to the United States, who popularised the sending of printed Christmas cards. Prang was a Bavarian-born lithographer who settled in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1850s and established a successful printing business. He invented a way of reproducing color oil paintings, the “chromolithograph technique”, and created a card with the message “Merry Christmas” as a way of showing it off. He went on to produce a series of popular Christmas cards. By 1881 he was printing more than five million cards annually.
However, he is a very popular saint in England where there are almost 400 churches of St. Nicholas, more even than churches of St. George, England’s patron saint. Many different stories are told to British children about Saint Nicholas, here is just one:-Like many of our Christmas customs, gift giving has its historical origin in an ancient pre-Christian tradition. During the ancient Roman celebration of Saturnalia, the harvest festival, small candles and clay figures were given. At Calens, the Roman new-year, more elaborate gifts were exchanged. The Romans believed that sweet gifts would ensure a good year, so fruits, honey, and cakes were popular gifts. Evergreen branches, were given as symbols of continuous health and strength. Wealthy Romans gave each other gold coins for good luck. Everyone gave gifts, children gave to their teachers, slaves gave to their masters, and the people gave to their emperor. Even though the three kings and others gave presents to the baby Jesus, gift giving did not become an established part of the Christmas celebration until several centuries after the birth of Christ.In the past some very strange things were eaten around Christmas. At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored”. The flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter and the birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting. Chickens and turkeys contain a y-shaped bone known as the furcula (be careful how you pronounce that one), more commonly it is referred to as the wishbone. Traditionally this is removed from the carcass of the roasted bird, and dried out. It is then given to two people (usually children), who have to hook their little finger round an end each and pull it apart until it breaks, whilst making a wish. The person who gets the “bigger half” of the wishbone will have his or her wish “come true.” Of course, in the great tradition of making wishes, you mustn’t tell anyone what you wished for, or it won’t come true. A typical nativity scene consists of figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother Mary, and Mary’s husband, Joseph. Some nativity scenes include other characters from the Biblical story such as the shepherds, the Magi, and angels. The figures are usually displayed in a stable, cave, or other structure.You’re probably familiar with the song about the 12 days of Christmas—but you may not have known that the 12 days don’t actually start until Christmas Day, which means there are almost two full weeks of celebrating left to do after Santa Claus arrives. According to Christian tradition, January 6 marks the day the three kings actually arrived in Bethlehem after Jesus was born, so this day signals the official end of the Christmas celebrations.This day is called The Feast of Epiphany, The Twelfth Night, or Three Kings Day, and in some parts of the world, it signifies a celebration that’s just as big as the one on Christmas Day. And while we’ll welcome any excuse to leave the red and gold ornaments and multicolor strand lights up a little longer, tradition says it’s actually unlucky to take your tree down before this date. So if you’re in favor of leaving the decor up as long as possible, use this excuse when your family asks why the tree is still up past New Year’s.