History of Auld Lang Syne: What Does the Song Mean?

Auld Lang Syne

HISTORY OF AULD LANG SYNE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN Why is it that each New Year’s Eve, we sing “Auld Lang Syne,” but do we know what it means? The song contains words from a language that few are familiar with, in a syntax that is confusing to most, and is from a poem about…

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History of Childermas: Feast of the Holy Innocents

Childermas

HISTORY OF CHILDERMAS: FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS Childermas, from an Old English word meaning the Mass of the Infants, is the festival in the church calendar begun in the fifth century. It is celebrated in the Western Church on December 28 and in the Eastern Church on December 29. It is also known as…

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History of Boxing Day and the Feast of St. Stephen

Boxing Day

HISTORY OF BOXING DAY While unfamiliar to many Americans, Boxing Day is a well-known holiday among the countries of the former British Commonwealth. It is celebrated on December 26 as a public holiday in the UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia… and even Massachusetts, though it’s not a public holiday in…

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History of Christmas Eve and the Battle of the Bulge: 79 Years Ago

Snow Fighters

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS EVE AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE: 79 YEARS AGO On Christmas Eve, 1944, my father, Staff Sergeant John Petro, entered the frontline at Strasbourg with the 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division in 20-degree weather. Eight days earlier, the Battle of the Bulge had begun. The 42nd Division, along with others, supplied much-needed…

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History of Caesar Augustus: What Did He Have To Do With Christmas?

augustus caesar

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS: CAESAR AUGUSTUS The first historical character mentioned in the Nativity story in St. Luke‘s narrative of the first Christmas was neither Jewish nor a shepherd nor a Magi. Instead, he was 1,500 miles away, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, after whom the month of August is named (though he was born on…

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History of A Christmas Carol: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas

A Christmas Carol

HISTORY OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL On December 19, 1843, Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol” was published in London, its first edition sold out by Christmas Eve. No other book or story by Dickens or anyone else (except the Bible) has been more enjoyed, referred to, criticized, or more frequently adapted to other media forms:…

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