My Top 5 Articles of 2022

Top 5 of 2022

My Top 5 Articles of 2022     These are the Top 5 articles from my blog this year based on the number of reader views at billpetro.com:   1. History of Telemachus The story of the monk who caused the Roman gladiatorial games to be ended upon his martyrdom on January 1, A.D. 404. It is often told…

Read More

Christmas Traditions Podcast

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS PODCAST Catch my 45-minute podcast segment, where I talk about the history of Christmas traditions. It starts at 59:00 and goes to 1:45:15. https://spoti.fi/3Wi8F1U

Read More

History of Christmas: Caesar Augustus

augustus caesar

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: CAESAR AUGUSTUS Perhaps it is fitting that our last historical Nativity character in the History of Christmas series should be the first person mentioned in St. Luke‘s story of the first Christmas. But he was not Jewish, nor a shepherd, nor a Magi. Instead, he was 1500 miles away, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus,…

Read More

History of the Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE December 8 is National Christmas Tree Day. It is generally believed that the first Christmas tree was of German origin dating from the time of St. Boniface, an English missionary to Germany in the 8th century. He replaced the sacrifices to the Norse god Odin’s sacred oak — some say…

Read More

History of Santa Claus: Saint or Elf?

Santa Claus

HISTORY OF SANTA CLAUS December 6 is “Saint Nicholas Day.” The name Santa Claus is a kind of a contraction for Saint Nicholas. The German name Sankt Nikolaus can be pronounced San’t(a) ni-KLOuse (sounding like house.)   Origin of St. Nicholas He was born in the late 3rd century, perhaps in A.D. 270. Nicholas became a bishop…

Read More

History of Mistletoe: Why is it the Kissing plant?

Mistletoe

HISTORY OF MISTLETOE We’ve mentioned previously that mistletoe was prominent in the traditions of the Druids and the lore of northern Europe. The Druids used the mistletoe of their sacred oak as part of their ritual five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. In the Middle Ages, it was hung from ceilings…

Read More

History of Christmas Music: More than just Carols?

Christmas Music

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC Music early became a marked feature of the Christmas season. But the first chants, litanies, and hymns were in Latin and deemed too theological for popular use. Under Francis of Assisi‘s influence in the 13th century, we began to see the rise of the carol written in the vernacular. The word carol comes…

Read More