Many times we may not realize the impact those who came before us had on our lives.
Customs and traditions are handed down from generation to generation and we just keep doing them and adding to them; most of the time we don’t even know how they began.
Remember these little stories were told more than 100 years ago and yet we can still see some of our celebrations and traditions in the midst of them.
I found this booklet that is more than 100 years old which gives a short story of how Christmas was celebrated around the world. The first one published was about Denmark.
This story tells how the house cat figured into their Christmas celebration.
Please take the time to read from this link for the introduction and forward of that story and this one. It will help build the foundation of this series. This comes from the little booklet titled, "Christmas Around The World!"
How England celebrated Christmas a hundred years ago or so. The following is the exact wording from this little booklet.
“Since the days of the Druids, that most mystic of all cults, with its ceremony of cutting the Mistletoe, England has ushered in the Yule Season with the flourishes and fanfare of pageantry.
King Arthur and his Knights held high Christ Masse at Winchester, and throughout the bleak English countryside the Yule log was kindled with a brand from the log of the previous year, and in hall *(mansion) and cottage, “wassail” was made – the bowl being filled with hot ale, sugar and spices, surmounted with floating apples.
This festive spirit still ushers in with all the glories of the kitchen, the Christmas, and the Sprit of Giving is made manifest in the distribution to the poorer folk of the neigh hood of the Christmas puddings – those aromatic, spicy concoctions black with fruits and mixed with much ceremony and merriment by the younger members of the family and their swains or invited guests before being tied up in cloths and boiled in the old familiar “copper.”
England is perhaps more regional than any country in the world in it celebration of Christmas; many parts following traditions entirely unknown to others.
Miracle plays and Mummers, many purely local in character, even to the carols, bespeak Norman Saxon, Viking and ancient British origin.
The spirit of the English Christmas is still Medieval (remember this was over 100 years ago when this was written) and is perhaps exemplified every year at Queens’ College, Oxford, by the ancient ceremony of “bringing in the Boar’s Head,” to an accompaniment of trumpets and the singing of an old Latin carol.
You will enjoy checking out this site, “How the English celebrate Christmas today,”
This includes the countries of England, Scotland and Wales. There are so many links on this page about each individual custom and tradition of today’s celebration in these countries. You might see some of your own family’s traditions and can learn how they got started and have floated on to the shores of America with the many ships coming to this land from there.
You can read more on Jane Austen’s page about the history of the wassail bowl. Click on this link after arriving at link above. aneaustensworld.wordpress.com — Jane Austen's World
Those of you with the new interest in English plays and dramas in this country on PBS and other TV stations; you might find these particularly interesting. Downton Abbey returns in January for you buffs. You can review this on their Masterpiece web site.
No matter where Christmas is celebrated or how, “Jesus Christ is the reason for the season!”
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: - when as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, (before they came together), she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:18
Non-alcoholic Wassail recipe
8 cups apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves, or 1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Bring to simmer over medium low heat. Reduce heat and continue simmering for 45 minutes. Serve in your favorite tea cup or mug.