Archive for November 2017

History of Christmas Traditions: some pre-Christian?

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS Many of the customs that we commonly associate with Christmas come from previous pagan or pre-Christian European backgrounds.   Traditions The word Yule comes from an Old Norse word for a twelve-day celebration among Germanic people. It later became known as Christmastide. Mistletoe was prominent in the traditions of the Druids…

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History of Christmas: The Year – How could Jesus be born 4 B.C.?

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: THE YEAR It’s obvious that Jesus was born on December 25, A.D. 1, right? Not so fast. What we do know is that Herod the Great (who killed all the babies in Bethlehem younger than two years of age) died in the Spring of 4 B.C. according to the Jewish historian Josephus1. The…

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History of Christmas: Nativity Season — snow in Bethlehem?

          HISTORY OF THE NATIVITY SEASON You’ve seen those greeting cards that show Joseph along with Mary on the back of a donkey making their way to Bethlehem in the wintry snow. Have you ever wondered: could Jesus have been born during the close of the year, perhaps even with snow…

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History of Christmas: Why do we celebrate it on December 25?

THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: ADVENT Here begins our series of articles on the History of Christmas. Advent begins this Sunday. Meaning Advent means the “coming” of the Christ Child. The Advent Season is marked by the four Sundays before Christmas and is celebrated in the church calendar as one the most festive seasons of the year. This…

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History of Thanksgiving Indian: Why Squanto already knew English

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING: FRIENDLY INDIAN SQUANTO We’ve all heard the story of how the Pilgrims, landing in Massachusetts on the Mayflower in 1620, were ill-equipped to survive the harsh winters of the New World. We’ve also heard how they met a Native American Indian of the Pawtuxet tribe named Squanto who befriended them. He taught them…

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History of Thanksgiving: the Secular and the Sacred

HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING The origin of Thanksgiving Day has been attributed to a harvest feast held by the Plymouth Colony. In 1621, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony proclaimed a day of “thanksgiving” and prayer to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first harvest in America the year after their arrival on the merchant ship Mayflower. The…

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