Tis the season to be jolly and merry and these Christmas facts will blow you away.
I took a look around and found some of the most interesting facts I could about Christmas.
Before I continue I just wanted to wish you a happy Christmas and if you are not yet, be sure to subscribe to my weekly dose of Irish newsletter here.
15 Christmas facts:
- The Celts believed that the mistletoe was in fact blessed with magnificent healing powers. Even to the extent of being banned for paganism in some respects. But now the mistletoe hangs proudly in Irish homes as a symbol of peace.
- Nearly 70 million Christmas trees are grown each year in Europe. I expect 2020 these numbers will be greatly increased.
- The abbreviation Xmas is not irreligious. The letter X is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.
- The largest Christmas cracker – 45.72m long and 3.04m in diameter – was pulled in Australia in 1991.
- The word Christmas comes from the Old English “Cristes maesse” meaning “Christ’s Mass”.
- Christmas pudding was originally a soup made with raisins and wine.
- St Stephen’s Day, Lá Fhéile Stiofáin or Lá an Dreoilín, meaning the Wren Day, is named after the first Christian martyr and alludes to several Irish myths or legends that link parts of the life of Jesus to the wren.
- All Christmas decorations are usually taken down and put away on ‘Little Christmas’ (January 6th.). It is considered bad luck to remove the decorations and Christmas tree before this date.
- Edward Johnson invented electric tree lights in the US in 1882.
- Since the 1970’s a common tradition of a candle in the window was in everyone’s home to welcome to Joseph and Mary as they wandered in search of lodgings. However, this tradition has somewhat died out in a lot of homes.
- In recent years a Christmas day swim has become a new and popular tradition in Ireland. People all over the country jump into the freezing Atlantic regardless of the conditions. Fair play to them.
- The 12 pubs of Christmas pre-2020 was done by many in Ireland. It involved drinking a pint or two in a different pub until you had visited 12. Of course with Covid-19 this year things are a little different.
- Midnight mass is typically one of the biggest attendances for mass in Ireland. Often including a choir and a nativity scene.
- The first Christmas crackers – a traditional festive favourite – were made around 1845-1850 by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith.
- Santa 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.
I hope you have enjoyed these 15 Christmas facts and have a very merry Christmas.