Christ­mas fun facts to share

Do you know why roost­ers are taken to mid­night mass and spi­ders adorn trees?

Central Queensland News - - 2017 CHRISTMAS CATALOGUE -

HERE are some in­ter­est­ing facts that you may or may not have known about Christ­mas.

1. The first ar­ti­fi­cial Christ­mas tree was made in Ger­many out of dyed goose feath­ers.

2. All the gifts in the Christ­mas carol Twelve Days of Christ­mas would equal 364 gifts.

3. In 350 AD, Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, pro­claimed De­cem­ber 25 the of­fi­cial cel­e­bra­tion date for the birth­day of Christ.

4. The tra­di­tional three colours of Christ­mas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a sym­bol of life and re­birth, red sym­bol­ises the blood of Christ, and gold rep­re­sents light as well as wealth and roy­alty.

5. The world’s largest Christ­mas stock­ing mea­sured 32.56m long and 14.97m wide. It weighed as much as five rein­deer and held al­most 1000 presents. It was made by the Chil­dren’s So­ci­ety in Lon­don on De­cem­ber 14, 2007.

6. A real Christ­mas tree usu­ally grows for about 15 years be­fore be­ing sold.

7. Bo­li­vians cel­e­brate Misa del Gallo or “Mass of the Rooster” on Christ­mas Eve. Some peo­ple bring roost­ers to the mid­night mass, a ges­ture that sym­bol­ises the be­lief that a rooster was the first an­i­mal to an­nounce the birth of Je­sus.

8. The Bri­tish wear pa­per crowns while they eat Christ­mas din­ner. The crowns are stored in a tube called a “Christ­mas cracker”.

9. In Poland, spi­ders or spi­der webs are com­mon Christ­mas tree dec­o­ra­tions be­cause ac­cord­ing to legend, a spi­der wove a blan­ket for Baby Je­sus. In fact, Pol­ish peo­ple con­sider spi­ders to be sym­bols of good­ness and pros­per­ity at Christ­mas.

10. Christ­mas wasn’t de­clared an of­fi­cial hol­i­day un­til June 26, 1870.

11. Santa Claus is based on a real person, St Niko­las of Myrawho, who lived dur­ing the fourth cen­tury. Born in Patara (in mod­ern-day Turkey), he is the pa­tron saint of bank­ing, pawn­broking, pi­rat­ing, butch­ery, sail­ing, thiev­ery, or­phans and roy­alty.

12. Early il­lus­tra­tions of St Ni­cholas de­pict him as stern, com­mand­ing, and hold­ing a birch rod.

13. The first printed ref­er­ence to a Christ­mas tree was in 1531 in Ger­many.

14. Christ­mas is a con­trac­tion of “Christ’s Mass,” which is de­rived from the Old English Cristes maesse (first recorded in 1038).

15. The let­ter “X” in Greek is the first let­ter of Christ, and “Xmas” has been used as an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for Christ­mas since the mid 1500s.

16. The Vik­ing god Odin is one pre­cur­sor to the mod­ern Santa Claus. Ac­cord­ing to myth, Odin rode his fly­ing horse Sleip­nir (a pre­cur­sor to Santa’s rein­deer), who had eight legs. In the win­ter, Odin gave out both gifts and pun­ish­ments, and chil­dren would fill their stock­ings with treats for Sleip­nir.

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