Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Christmas Traditions and Facts- Familiar and Unfamiliar

By Kimberly Grist

As Americans sought to establish their beliefs and ways of doing things that fit their unique identity, many English traditions were forgotten after the Revolution. It was only after the first half of the 19th century that Christmas customs were reinvented. Ancient traditions from previous generations combined modern American influences and slowly shaped Christmas into a unifying holiday.

Interesting Facts: 
Congress was in session on December 25, 1789.
Christmas was declared a federal holiday on June 26, 1870.

Candy Canes

Another tradition with origins in Germany and dating back to 1670 in Cologne, one popular account is that a choirmaster wished to quiet the children in church and commissioned a candy maker to design the candy in the shape of a crook to remind them of the shepherds who came to visit baby Jesus at His birth. The candy was handed out to children as they watched plays concerning the nativity.

Candy Cane Christmas Card

The first reference in America to the candy cane was in 1847. A German immigrant from Wooster, Ohio, decorated his Christmas tree with candy canes. The Bunte Brothers of Chicago, Illinois, filed the earliest patent for a candy cane in 1920.

Christmas Trees

In 1834, Britain’s Queen Victoria brought her German husband, Prince Albert, into Windsor Castle, introducing the tradition of the Christmas tree and carols held in Europe to the British Empire.

The above picture was based on an image of Queen Victoria and her decorated Christmas tree previously published in The Illustrated London News in December 1848.

A revised version was copied in Godley's in 1850 and removed what was referred to as royal trappings from Victoria's tiara and Prince Albert's mustache to remake the picture into an American scene. It was the first widely circulated picture of a decorated evergreen Christmas tree in America and was reprinted in 1860. By the 1870s, a Christmas tree was common in the United States.

Christmas Trees were first sold commercially in the United States in 1851 and were randomly cut down from the forests. Today, approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold yearly in the United States.

Superstitions and Folklore - Listen for the crow.
While researching traditions in the 19th century, I discovered some superstitions steeped in tradition about Christmas and marriage.

From the land that introduced the Christmas tree, an old German superstition stated should a maiden wish to know if she'll be married in the year, she should go out to the chicken coop on Christmas Eve and knock on the door. If she hears a rooster crow, she will. But if she hears a hen instead, she won't.

A Very Special Cake
In the 19th century, Christmas cakes were often part of the celebration, although it was considered unlucky to cut into one before that day. A portion also had to be preserved until Christmas Day.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Speaking of cake, one folktale suggested that if you place a piece of wedding cake under your pillow, you will dream of your future spouse. Can you imagine? I say what a waste of a piece of cake.

Do you Enjoy Christmas Romance?

A woman running from her past, a confirmed bachelor determined to protect his heart, and a town committed to sharing the Christmas spirit. Can a Christmas quilt be the spark that ignites their love, melts their stubborn resolve, and uncovers their hidden desire?

Twenty-one-year-old Olive is sick of living her father's lifestyle as an itinerant preacher turned peddler. The latest tar-and-feather incident has made her desperate enough to enlist in a matchmaking venture—anything to escape further humiliation. Olive accepts a job as a seamstress in Carrie Town, Texas, where single men outnumber women thirty to one. But the last thing on her mind is matrimony. No man is going to tell her how to live her life. Olive would rather spend the rest of her life chained to a sewing machine.

Connect with Kimberly:

Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th -century will enjoy stories combining, History, Humor, and Romance, emphasizing Faith, Friends, and Good Clean Fun.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Grist/e/B07H2NTJ71
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  1. Thank you for posting today, and Merry Christmas! What an interesting collection of trivia! I especially like the one about knocking on a henhouse. I wouldn't want to tie my fate to a rooster, personally!!