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Popular Christmas Traditions and Their Origins

Where Did Advent Calendars Originate?

In the mid 1800s, the advent calendars started in Germany, when people marked the countdown to Christmas with chalk marks on doors or by lighting a candle. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that paper calendars were made and the idea spread around the world. Initially, advent calendars were illustrated with images from the Bible. Advent calendars are used from December 1 until Christmas Day.

Did You Know?

Advent is a Latin word meaning “the coming”. It was officially established by the church in the 6th century.

Also Read, Why Do We Have A Christmas Tree?

How Did We Start Singing Christmas Carols?

Carolling is an ancient practice of dancing or singing songs of praise and happiness.

Thousands of years ago in Europe, carols were written and sung during all four seasons. Originally Pagans (non-religious people or those that believe in more than one God) sang carols to celebrate the winter solstice around December 22, but then early Christians took over the practice and began to sing Christian songs at this time of year.

The earliest recorded Christmas hymns can be traced to 4th century Rome. These hymns were in Latin and some of them are still sung in churches. Subsequently, centuries later in the 1800s, carols written in English became popular.

Why Are Stockings Hung In Christmas?

According to legend, St. Nicholas, a bishop known for his kindness and generosity, had discovered a family that was struggling financially and he decided to deliver them an extravagant gift. On Christmas Eve, St. Nicholas tossed three bags of gold coins down the family’s chimney, where they landed in the socks that were hung above the fireplace to dry.

Why Are Bells Associated With Christmas?

Bells, whether sleigh bells, church bells or jingle bells, are a very important part of Christmas. The association of bells with Christmas is both symbolic and practical. Bells in both Pagan and Christian traditions supposedly ward off evil spirits. In addition, church bells are rung to signify an important event, such as Christ’s birthday, or even to let churchgoers know it’s time for service.

Why Are Stars Used As Tree Toppers?

According to legend, stars on the top of the Christmas tree represent the Star of Bethlehem. Christians believe that the Star of Bethlehem guided the Three Wise Men to find baby Jesus.

Why Are Candy Canes Associated With Christmas?

In 1670, a German choirmaster (a person who leads a choir) in Cologne, Germany asked a local sweet shop to make sweets (in the shape of a shepherd’s hook) for the children at his church to keep them quiet during the long Christmas service.

Why Are Christmas Crackers Shaped Like A Giant Sweet?

Taking inspiration from the French bon bon, Tom Smith in 1847 in London, invented the Christmas crackers. His rival confectioners in London started copying his bon bon. This led him to create a bigger packaging and the addition of a message within. Eventually, the bon bon was dropped altogether and a token put in its place, leading to something which seems very much like the Christmas crackers we have today.

Did You Know?

Bon Bon was a sugared almond sweet wrapped in twisted tissue paper.

What Does Holly Symbolise?

There is nothing as Christmassy as a holly! However, long before holly got associated with Christmas, it was considered a lucky charm. Holly was used to ward off witches and bad spirits, especially at farms where there were fears of losing livestock to curses. Eventually, Holly got associated with Christianity. The spiky foliage represents the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ at the Easter crucifixion and the berries of his blood. Although Christ died at Easter, it became a tradition to bring sprigs into the house at Christmas.

How Did Tukey Appear On The Christmas Menu?

Initially, turkey was not a part of the traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey didn’t appear on the Christmas menu until Henry VIll of the UK introduced it in the 1500s.

When Did Kids Start Leaving Milk And Cookies For Santa?

Since mediaeval times in Germany, during the Yule season children left out food at night in hopes of getting presents from a different white-bearded guy: Odin, the all-powerful Norse god who travelled on his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.

Who Started The Tradition Of Sending Christmas Cards?

In 1843, Sir Henry Cole was behind the first printed Christmas card. He asked John Callcott Horsley to design it. It had the words ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You’ printed on it. About 1,000 cards were made and it cost a shilling, which was actually a lot of money at the time (5p in today’s money).

How Did The Tradition Of Santa Claus Start?

The tradition of Santa Claus is said to come from St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop living in (what is now Türkiye in the 4th century AD. Nicholas had inherited a great deal of wealth and was known for giving it away to help the needy. When he was sainted, he became the protector of children.

The Dutch figure Sinterklass is also based on St. Nicholas. His legend evolved across northern Europe, and he finally assumed his now-familiar form.

Watch Full Video On, Christmas Traditions Around Worldwide | Fun Facts About Christmas

Why Do We Have A Christmas Tree?

History Of Evergreen In Winter Festivals

For thousands of years, people have decorated their homes in winter with evergreen plants. The Ancient Egyptians would fill their houses with conifer trees  to worship the sun god, Ra. Ancient Romans and Pagans (those who didn’t follow a religion or believed in more than one god) believed the trees signalled the “return of life” and “light” after a long winter. The trees formed part of their celebrations for the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year.

Also read, Fascinating Christmas Traditions From Around The World

The Modern Christmas Tree

The modern Christmas tree is believed to have originated in the Alsace region of Germany in the 16th century. This region is now a part of France. According to some historical records, a Christmas tree was raised in the Strasbourg Cathedral in 1539. This tradition grew so popular throughout the region that the city of  Freiburg banned felling trees for Christmas in 1554.

Some historians believe that the Christmas tree was inspired by the paradise tree, a symbol of the Garden of Eden that featured in a mediaeval play about Adam and Eve. According to ancient myths and stories, Adam and Eve were the first man and woman on Earth.

Did You Know?

Christmas trees are normally evergreen conifers, such as spruce, pine, and fir trees.

Traditional Christmas Tree Decorations

Traditionally, these were decorated with flowers, dried fruit, paper flow-ers, and lit candles.

Martin Luther, the German scholar and priest, is often credited with being the first to decorate Christmas trees with candles. Legend has it that he was inspired by the stars on a walk home, one winter’s night.

German emigrants took these traditions with them as they resettled in other countries.

Why Are Trees Decorated With Tinsel And Baubles?

Tinsel was invented in Nuremberg, Germany in 1610. At that time, Christmas trees were decorated with real candles and tinsel was made from shredded silver to reflect the candlelight. Only rich people had tinsel-wrapped trees because silver was expensive. Eventually, tinsel was made with cheaper metals such as copper and tin.

A common decoration on the tree branches was red apples, which is believed to have sparked the modern tradition of hanging coloured baubles on our trees today.

In the 16th century, a glassblower called Hans Greiner, was the first to invent bau-bles. Since Hans couldn’t afford apples to decorate his tree, he made his own. Fruit and nut-shaped glass became an accessible Christmas tree dec-oration, and glassblowers started to make all sorts of shapes.

Tinsel and baubles are now made from a shiny plastic called PVC, which is sustainable but is not always recyclable.

Did You Know?

The Christmas tree was introduced to the UK by Queen Victoria’s German-born husband Prince Albert in the 1840s. At that time, Christmas trees would be hung from the ceiling or placed on tables and decorated with nuts, fruits, sweets, homemade decorations, and small presents.

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First Sustainable Long Haul Flight Crosses The Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic flew a large passenger jet from London to New York using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (“SAF”). Air plane travel generates nearly 3% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Cutting pollution from flying is important to fight against the climate crisis. Airlines and plane makers are working hard to figure out ways to make their flights pollute less. Typically, air-planes can use up to 50% SAF, and this is mixed with the kerosene that the planes usually use for fuel.

Also read, Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse : 41 Workers Rescued from Tunnel Tragedy

Virgin Atlantic had to get special permission to use 100% SAF. The fuel used on this flight was mainly made from used cooking oils and animal fats.

A small part of the fuel was made from corn waste. Virgin Atlantic says that using SAF cut the flight’s pollution by 70%. SAF still pollutes when it’s burned. The difference is in how the fuels are made.

SAF is made from plants and related animal products that once absorbed carbon dioxide from the air. When SAF burns. it just releases this same carbon dioxide again. That’s different from jet fuel, which is made from oil pumped from underground, releasing carbon dioxide that was deeply buried.

Watch Full Video On, Christmas Traditions Around Worldwide | Fun Facts About Christmas

Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse : 41 Workers Rescued from Tunnel Tragedy

41 Indian construction workers have been rescued from a tunnel they became trapped in after a landslide in Uttarakhand. The construction workers became trapped inside the 4.5 km Silkyara tunnel on November 12, when a portion of it collapsed following a land-slide. They were trapped inside for 17 days, but all of them were rescued on November 28, thanks to the heroic efforts of the Indian government.

Also Read, The Stage Is Getting Set For COP28 In Dubai

Many different methods were used to rescue them, but the tricky conditions made it very difficult. While the workers were stuck they were provided with food, water, and oxygen. Even though it is reported that none of the workers were injured, they were taken to a hospital for thorough medical checkups.

Word Check

A landslide is a large amount of earth, rock, and other material that moves down a steep slope. Landslides happen when a layer of earth or rocks separates from the layer below it.

Watch Full Video, Santa’s Favourite Pal Reindeer | Interesting Facts About Reindeer

The Stage Is Getting Set For COP28 In Dubai

What Is COP 28?

COP28 is the popular name for the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2023. It will be held in Dubai from November 30-December 12, 2023. COP stands for “Conference of the Parties”, which are the 198 parties that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, originally adopted in Brazil in 1992.

Also read, Young Climate Activists Sue 32 Countries

Since 1995, COPs have been held every year in different cities, with the exception of COP26 in Glasgow, which was delayed by a year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. COP is an annual event where representatives of the UN and governments from around the world discuss and make strategies to fight climate change on a global scale.

Who Attends COPS?

The conference is attended by representatives of the countries that are part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. There are currently 198 parties, including all United Nations member states, UN General Assembly observers, and the European Union. Some charities, scientists, journalists, Indigenous Peoples’ groups, and general members of the public also attend. Once the meeting is over, the parties usually release a joint statement outlining their plans to tackle global warming and climate change.

The Start Of COPS

The idea for COP came from the Earth Summit, which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. This was a very big international conference, organised by the United Nations because of the growing concerns about the environment. World leaders realised that countries needed to work together to fight climate change. During the Earth Summit, an international environmental treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was signed by 154 states. The treaty set out a requirement for regular meetings of the signatories so that environmental policies could be made and agreed. These meetings became known as Conferences of the Parties or COP for short.
The first COP was held in Berlin, Germany, in 1995.

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Also Watch Full Video on, Christmas Traditions Around Worldwide | Fun Facts About Christmas

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