Merry Christmas for those of you who spent Sunday handing out presents next to an evergreen tree lit with LED lights. For those of you who didn’t, I’m glad to see you’re not godless pagans.
Now that Christmas is over, and we’re all in an food-induced diabetic coma, I think it would be a good time to talk about the whole history of Christmas. It sort of surprises me that so few people actually ever acknowledge the roots of their most significant holiday of the Christian tradition.
So, I thought I’d make a handy-dandy cheat sheet of where all of the objects we associate with Christmas originated:
|Object||Reason to be in Christmas|
|Christmas tree||Saint Boniface noticed that the triangular point of the Christmas tree represented the holy trinity, shortly after chopping down a tree dedicated to the Norse god, Thor.|
|Candy Cane||Choirmaster at Cologne cathedral asked candymaker to make candy that would keep children quiet during masses. He made peppermint sticks in the shape of shepherds’ crooks so children would remember the shepherds that visited the baby Jesus.|
|Santa Claus||Many attribute his origins to St. Nicholas of Myra, a Turkish saint. However, a stronger similarity comes from Odin, the Norse god, who would ride an eight-legged horse that could leap great distances. This origin would also explain the why Santa lives at the North Pole, rather than the Black Sea.|
|Stockings||Children in Scandinavian countries would leave shoes or socks filled with carrots and oats for Odin’s horse, in return Odin would give them presents for this generosity. Apparently generosity from children was somehow lost in the conversion to Christianity.|
|Wreaths||Originated from Greek mythology, wreaths were associated with persons of great import. Christians use evergreen wreaths as representations for everlasting life (evergreen), and that god has no beginning or end (hence the circle).|
When you think of Christmas, just think about a holiday that absorbed winter solstice celebrations as well as converting many precepts of paganism into modern Christianity. So, Christmas has as much to do with Valhalla as it does with Jesus. Nevertheless, it is a good time to get together with your family and enjoy such traditional tunes as this: