History of Childermas: Feast of the Holy Innocents

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 — celebrated in the Western Church on December 28 and in the Eastern Church on December 29. It is also known as Bairn’s…

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History of the First American Christmas: 1776

Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze

HISTORY OF THE FIRST AMERICAN CHRISTMAS: 1776 It is called the first “American” Christmas because the Declaration of Independence was created the previous summer, essentially “divorcing” America from England and declaring our country an independent nation. Admittedly, the country had not yet created a solid form of government. The Articles of Confederation had not yet…

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5 Christmas Myths, Not Found in the Nativity Story

5 Christmas Myths

5 CHRISTMAS MYTHS: NOT FOUND IN THE NATIVITY STORY I’m often asked to explain the history behind a holiday: is it based on history, tradition, or legend? The best historical sources we have on the birth of Jesus are found in two Gospel accounts in the New Testament: St. Matthew and St. Luke. St. Matthew…

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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 1,500 miles away — the Roman emperor Caesar…

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Is Die Hard Really A Christmas Movie?

die hard

IS DIE HARD REALLY A CHRISTMAS MOVIE? Scholars and historians have debated for centuries the question: “Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?” Or at least during the last three decades since the movie was released. So readers have turned to me, your friendly neighborhood historian, to wrestle with this age-old question and help them resolve…

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