Christmas traditions and facts
Did you know ...
- Christmas is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass,” which is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which in turn comes from the Old English Cristesmæsse, a phrase first recorded waa-aay back in 1038.
- Hanging stockings out comes from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes packed with food for St Nicholas’s donkeys. He would leave small gifts in return.
- Boxing Day gets its name from all the money collected in church alms-boxes for the poor.
- Robins on cards started as a joke 150 years ago when postmen wore red tunics and were named after them.
- The Christmas cracker was invented by a London sweet shop owner called Tom Smith. In 1847, after spotting French bonbons wrapped in paper with a twist at each end, he sold similar sweets with a “love motto” inside. He then included a little trinket and a “bang”. His “Bangs of Expectation” included gifts such as jewellery and miniature dolls. By 1900, he was selling 13 million a year.
- It’s technically illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas Day in England. In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding, mince pies and anything to do with gluttony. The law has never been rescinded.
- Why red, gold and green? Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
- The chances of a White Christmas are just 1 in 10 for England and Wales, and 1 in 6 for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- For a Christmas to be officially classified as “white” a single snow flake needs to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25th December on the rooftop of the Met Office HQ in London.
- Santa Claus has different names around the world - Kriss Kringle in Germany, Le Befana in Italy, Pere Noel in France and Deushka Moroz (Grandfather Frost) in Russia.
- The UK Brussels Sprouts industry (and yes, it’s Brussels sprout, not brussel sprout) is worth £650 million, and the area of the country covered by Brussels Sprouts fields is the equivalent to 3,240 football pitches.
We hope you enjoyed these interesting facts and more importantly we hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year.
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