Tuesday, December 23, 2008

10 Interesting Facts about Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! I give you the gift of Knowledge

* The popular abbreviation 'Xmas' isn't merely popular because it's quicker to type on a mobile phone. 'X' is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ - Xristos - so the shortened spelling of Christmas has been around for hundreds of years.

* Christmas cards were introduced in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. Before then it was tradition to write long, detailed letters to friends and family at Christmas, but Mr Cole couldn't be bothered with all that effort. He commissioned an artist to design some cards and filled them with a short greeting, saving us all a lot of writing each year.

* Baubles were probably invented thanks to alcohol. Around 200 years ago, Bohemian glass blowers used to enjoy a cold drink in their hot factories, and when tipsy would start competing to see who could blow the biggest glass bubbles. These then evolved into Christmas decorations.

* Christmas cards were introduced in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. Before then it was tradition to write long, detailed letters to friends and family at Christmas, but Mr Cole couldn't be bothered with all that effort. He commissioned an artist to design some cards and filled them with a short greeting, saving us all a lot of writing each year.

* 'Silent Night' was first performed in Austria in 1818. Legend has it that the church organ in Oberndorf broke on Christmas Eve, leaving the priest - Joseph Mohr - with no music for his Christmas service. He handed the words to a poem he had written to a friend and asked that he write some guitar music to accompany it, and 'Silent Night' was born.

* Christmas trees have been popular in Germany since the 16th century but only made it over to Britain three hundred years later. Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, originally came from Germany and made a tree part of the official celebrations at Windsor Castle.

* Christmas was banned across England in 1647, when Oliver Cromwell's puritans were in charge. Pro-Christmas riots broke out across the country but the holiday wasn't officially restored until King Charles II took over 13 years later.

* The first fairy lights are said to be have appeared in 1882, when Edward H. Johnson - a friend of inventor Thomas Edison - had 80 tiny lightbulbs made especially for his home Christmas tree. Before this, people would use candles and set fire to their tinsel all the time.

* Traditional Christmas meals in England used to involve pig's heads and mustard. But when Queen Elizabeth I heard the news of the destruction of the Spanish Armada on Christmas Eve 1588, she declared that everybody in England should eat the dish she had enjoyed earlier that day - roast goose. When turkeys were introduced to Britain in the 1700s, they became a popular replacement.

* Think your Christmas Eve is stressful? Spare a thought for poor old Santa. He has less than one millisecond to deliver his presents to each household in the world - and that's if he does a 30-hour working day, allowing for the various time zones. Naturally he makes a bit of time back by skipping all the people on the naughty list.

Source: Yahoo - http://uk.christmas.yahoo.com

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