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A Potted History of Christmas Today

A Potted History of Christmas Today

Christmas is a very important festival in the Christian faith, attached with much fervor and worship but it is also a great occasion for enjoyment, particularly for children and the young generation. Lowes has all you need to make Christmas special in your home, with décor ideas and gifts for everyone all of which you can save money on with a Lowes Money Off Coupon from We Are Coupons.

Christmas Roots

The roots of Christmas celebration go back a long way, to the bleak and uncertain times faced by our ancestors especially during the severe winters. In the days when hunters hunted for food and braved the onslaught of the bitterly cold season when food was scarce, nights colder and longer and days shorter because of the Sun retreating to the poles from the Equator leaving the land with less sunlight. In anticipation of the Sun returning during Spring, the 'Norsemen' or people of Northern Europe worshipping the Sun referring to it as "Houl". Probably, this is where the word 'Yule' originated from. They lit a special fire with special Hule logs to ward off winter's darkness and bitter cold. That's another reference to the now popular Yule Log Cake, which is a feature of every Christmas.


The severe winters were particularly hard on livestock so the ancient people including pre-Roman Britons and much of Northern Europe fattened their livestock during the mid-Winter period, possibly around the beginning of Autumn. It would have been near impossible to keep all the livestock alive during the bitter winters so many of them were slaughtered and stored to be used as part of the festivities during Houl season. However, over time this resulted in a surfeit of food and that perhaps became one of the reasons for the extended partying that is associated with Christmas celebrations; a party season with no end!


The legend of Santa Claus


Contrary to popular belief, Santa Claus, the round, white bearded, red suit with white fur trimming, gift-giving and sleigh riding individual was not an advertising strategy put out by one cold drink company, although their marked campaigns during the 1930s and 40s were singularly effective in popularizing the image. The history of Santa Claus goes back to the early 1800s when Clement Moore's 'A Visit from St Nicholas' and later artist Thomas Nast and then later Norman Rockwell's creations went through a series of disguises before settling on the iconic red suit and bearded countenance.


The name Santa Claus is rooted in the informal reference by the Dutch to St. Nicholas or Sint Nikolaas, which became shortened to Sinterklaas. St. Nicholas was a 4th century saint from ancient Greece, who legend believes was known for 'secret gift-giving' to people in poverty and need. He is said to leave coins in old shoes left out for him.

Later Years

In later years, there are references to St. Nicholas around 1294 from Novgorod churches, where he was the patron saint of children. As we can see, there are enough parallels to draw from for modern-day Christmas celebrations. The Dutch 'Sinterklaas' is believed to visit homes in the dead of night, riding a huge white horse over rooftops and helped by his mischievous band of people who listened through chimney tops to see if the children had been good or bad. The references also link Sinterklaas to the legend of Odin, a popularly worshipped God worshipped in western and northern Europe before Christianity emerged as a single unifying faith.


Ultimately, German and Norse legends combined to create the sleigh riding 'Saint Nicholas and his favorite reindeer Rudolph'! During the Middle Ages and the reformation in the 16th century, the celebrations of 'Sinterklaas' died down except for Holland.



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