Have you ever asked yourself why we have traditions? How many times have you heard someone say, "We have to do it, it's a tradition." With the Christmas season upon us it is the season of traditions.
We all like traditions, there is something about them that just warms your heart and stirs your soul. And if you think about the traditions that do stir you so much they were probably established in your youth. Repetition in a child is a powerful thing! What do traditions do? They draw us closer as a family, they help us bond and gives memories we talk about for years to come.
So with the season of our Savior's birth here, I thought I'd share some traditions from the past. Maybe they will inspire you to start your own tradition for Christmas future.
Advent goes all the way back to the 4th century. But it represented much more than just a count down to Christmas, as our Advent calendar does today. Advent then started on the Sunday nearest to November 30th. It was a time to prepare themselves and their hearts for not only Christmas (Christ's birth) but also Christ's return.
Twelfth Night goes back to Roman celebrations. A dried pea was cooked in a cake and whoever found it was the Lord or Lady of Misrule for the night. This lucky person would dress like a King or Queen and lead the celebrations. The tradition changed slightly overtime where a King and Queen would rule.
Most people enjoy Christmas parties. Mumming is an age-old tradition of just that. Men and women would visit neighbors after putting on masks and swapping clothes. They'd sing and dance and sometimes put on a light-hearted play. The narrator of the group of mummers would dress as Father Christmas.
On December 6th a 'Boy Bishop' from the Cathedral or monastery school was chosen to be Bishop until December 28th. He held all the authority except that of mass. Henry VIII banned the tradition in 1542. It came back for a short period while Mary I ruled, but Elizabeth I again banned the practice during her reign.
Moving forward out of ancient times we have a few more traditions with not so much meaning.
The fuzzy red and white stockings replaced the socks that the children wore sometime time in the 19th century.
In 1883, The New York Times wrote:
"In the days of the unobtrusive white stocking, no one could pretend that the stocking itself was a graceful or attractive object when hanging limp and empty from the foot of the bedstead. Now, however, since the adoption of decorated stockings, ... even the empty stocking may be a thing of beauty, and its owner can display it with confidence both at the Christmas season and on purely secular occasions."
|By Nandaro - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30411922|
The Christmas tree, though originating in medieval times really caught popularity during the 19th century. The same article above that talked about the pretty stockings also spoke of how the Christmas tree and the Christmas stocking were in competition with each other and the tree had seen its better days where as the stocking would continue decorating homes.
Well, they got half of that right!
And Lastly Mistletoe. It was in the 18th century that mistletoe became part of Christmas decorating. This tradition allowed a man to kiss any woman standing beneath the mistletoe and any woman who refused that kiss would receive bad luck.
Starting a tradition.
And now some great modern traditions that perhaps you'd like to incorporate into your Christmas holiday.
~Every evening sit down and read a chapter of the bible that pertains to the birth of Christ.
~Starting the week before Christmas, tie a small stocking to your child's doorknob and every night sneak in and drop a small inexpensive gift or candy in the stocking for them to discover in the morning.
~Choose a family in need and have your children help you shop and make things for them.
~Gather used baby dolls through the year, dress them and give them a blanket and then take your children to nursing homes to give to the elderly.
~While we all love to give to children in need, putting together gift bags with your children and taking them to nursing homes for people who don't have family brightens their Christmas and blesses your children. (Throws, fuzzy socks, crossword puzzles, hand cream are all great ideas.)
~Get several together from your neighborhood and bring caroling back!
~Take time to teach your children crafting! Find an age appropriate craft for your child or grandchild and have them make gifts for their grandparents/parents.
~Let your kids make their own wrapping paper! Use brown paper, get sponge shapes and paint and let them stamp out their own wrapping paper.
A couple of adult traditions I do are:
~My daughter and I go to the same 2 craft shows every year.
~My sister, sister-in-law, and I go away to the beach in November and spend a week working on Christmas presents from sun up until we can't keep our eyes open after sundown.
How about you? What traditions do you have? Leave a comment for a chance to win an ecopy of any of my novels or an audio book of Sword of Forgiveness.
Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and miniature donkey.
After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.
Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.PURCHASE HERE