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Christmas Info History, Customs, Traditions and Symbols By Lee-Anne Governess Australia This powerpoint is designed to give supervisors and ......

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Christmas (Governess Australia PPT)

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Slide 1 - 1 Christmas Info By Lee-Anne Governess Australia This powerpoint is designed to give supervisors and home tutors across Australia information which has been researched and cross referenced. Like all learning it is up to you how much information you give to your children. This powerpointis part of a Christmas Info series designed by Governess Australia: Christmas Carols, Father Christmas and Christmas Info I intend to research and refined the information every year and the christmas info will be available on in the Schoolhouse from January 2009 and emailed to Outback Govies yahoo group each year. Any feedback or updated information you have on this series please email History, Customs, Traditions and Symbols
Slide 2 - 2 What is Christmas? It is now both a religious and secular holiday. It is traditionally a celebration of family and children. Celebrating Christmas has been controversial since its inception. Since numerous festivities found their roots in pagan practices, they were greatly frowned upon by conservatives within the Christian Church. The feasting, gift-giving and frequent excesses presented a drastic contrast with the simplicity of the Nativity, and many people throughout the centuries and into the present, condemn such practices as being contrary to the true spirit of Christmas. The word itself comes from the Old English, "Cristes maesse" which means "Christ's mass" on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Slide 3 - 3 History of Christmas In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them. The earliest English reference to December 25th as Christmas Day did not come until 1043. The Christians had by then appropriated many pagan festivals and traditions of the season, that were practiced in many parts of the Middle East and Europe, as a means of stamping them out. There were mid-winter festivals in many countries that also took place at this time. The birth of the ancient sun-god Attis in Phrygia was celebrated on December 25th, The birth of the Persian sun-god, Mithras was celebrated on 25th of December and was observed on the shortest day of the year. This time was called Yule. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of peace and plenty, that ran from the 17th to 24th of December. Public gathering places were decorated with flowers, gifts and candles were exchanged and the population, slaves and masters alike, celebrated the occasion with great enthusiasm. In Scandinavia, a period of festivities known as Yule contributed another impetus to celebration, as opposed to spirituality. As Winter ended the growing season, the opportunity of enjoying the Summer's bounty encouraged much feasting and merriment. The Celtic culture of the British Isles revered all green plants, but particularly mistletoe and holly. These were important symbols of fertility and were used for decorating their homes and altars. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast. Christmas was slow to catch on in America. The early colonists considered it a pagan ritual. The celebration of Christmas was even banned by law in Massachusetts in colonial days. Christmas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most historians agree, began in Germany, though Catholics and Lutherans still disagree about which church celebrated it first. The earliest record of an evergreen being decorated in a Christian celebration was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany. A prominent Lutheran minister of the day cried blasphemy: “Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ.”
Slide 4 - 4 XMAS abbreviation This abbreviation for Christmas is of Greek origin. The word for Christ in Greek is Xristos. During the 16th century, Europeans began using the first initial of Christ's name, "X" in place of the word Christ in Christmas as a shorthand form of the word. Although the early Christians understood that X stood for Christ's name, later Christians who did not understand the Greek language mistook "Xmas" as a sign of disrespect
Slide 5 - 5 True Meanings of Christmas Symbols The probable origins of various traditions, which then spread around the world. Advent Bells Boxing Day Candle Candy Cane Chimney Cards The Fir Tree or Christmas Tree Tree ornaments Colours of Christmas Cookies and milk Costume, Hat & Beard Crib, Stable & Straw Gifts & Bows Garland Gnomes & elves Holly, Ivy & Greenery Lights Mistletoe Magi North Pole Poinsettia Reindeer Star Stockings & Socks Wreath
Slide 6 - 6 Advent * It is a period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30th - St. Andrew's Day - and is the beginning of the church year. Popular traditions are Advent Candles and Advent Calendars (often colorful children's calendars with a door for each day in December). Advent is from the Latin "adventus" meaning "coming," as in the coming of Christ's birthday.
Slide 7 - 7 Bells The ringing of bells is generally thought to have had its origin in the early pagan winter celebration of ringing of bells to drive out evil spirits. In later centuries, bells were rung on Christmas Eve to welcome in the spirit of Christmas with joyful noise (Psalm 95:1). When Christians enjoy the beauty of a glorious bell choir ringing Christmas carols, we are reminded of the coming of Jesus into the world, not the driving out of evil spirits.
Slide 8 - 8 Boxing Day * In English-speaking countries, the day following Christmas Day is called 'Boxing Day'. This word comes from the custom which started in the Middle Ages around 800 years ago … churches would open their 'alms boxe' (boxes in which people had placed gifts of money) and distribute the contents to poor people in the neighbourhood on the day after Christmas. The tradition continues today - small gifts are often given to delivery workers such as postal staff and children who deliver newspapers.
Slide 9 - 9 Candle In early pagan traditions candles to drive away the forces of cold and darkness. However, is it likely that our hearts are drawn to those early pagans rather than rejoicing in our Savior, the Light of the World as we light candles? Of course not. A mirror of starlight, reflecting our thanks for the star of Bethlehem. Candles (and now lights) symbolize or were part of: Paradise, end of the days getting shorter, warmth, summer, Jewish Hanukkah, festiveness, keeping the darkness at bay Candle —In Ireland, a large fat candle is placed in the window on Christmas Eve. Traditionally said to be a sign of welcome for the Christ Child, it may actually have been an indication of a “safe-house” in which banned religious services were being conducted. Sometimes candles were placed in all the windows. Sometimes a candle was lighted as a memorial for each member of the family who had died since the previous Christmas. “On Christmas Eve a candlelight to shine aboard through Christmas Night, That those who pass may see its glow and walk with Christ a mile or so.”
Slide 10 - 10 Candy Cane It was not long after Europeans began using Christmas trees that special decorations were used to adorn them. Food items, such as candies and cookies were used as ornamentation. Legend has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shephreds' crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the Nativity scene. According to the National American Confectioner's Association, in 1847 German immigrant August Imgard used the candy cane to decorate a Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. More than 50 years later, Bob McCormack of Albany, Georgia supposedly made candy canes as treats for family, friends and local shopkeepers. McCormack's brother-in-law, Catholic priest Gregory Keller, invented a machine in the 1950s that automated the production of candy canes, thus eliminating the usual laborious process of creating the treats and the popularity of the candy cane grew.
Slide 11 - 11 Chimney St. Nicholas tossed anonymous gifts down chimney. Also, in England and the United states Santa comes secretly and so the entrance must be secret and easy to use without the help of adults. In Germany and Scandinavia often Santa comes through the door. Santa first began climbing down the chimney for Dutch children. Similarly, the switches he leaves for naughty children originated with the Dutch. His red suit trimmed with white fur originated from the bishop's mitre and cape worn by the Dutch saint.
Slide 12 - 12 Christmas Cards A form of Christmas card began in England first when young boys practiced their writing skills by creating Christmas greetings for their parents. But it is Sir Henry Cole who is credited with creating the first real Christmas card. The first director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Henry found himself too busy in the Christmas season of 1843 to compose individual Christmas greetings for his friends. He commissioned artist John Calcott Horsley for the illustration. The card featured three panels, with the center panel depicting a family enjoying Christmas festivities and the card was inscribed with the message "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."
Slide 13 - 13 Colours of Christmas In this for each colour there are several meanings depending on you beliefs. All are correct and many happened at the same time in different areas of the world. Green came from evergreen trees (e.g. balsam, fir, holly etc.), Red from holly berries.Red may also have come from pagan ceremonies. Red: The first color of Christmas, symbolizing that Savior’s sacrifice for all. White and red also from the Bishop's mitre and cape worn in religious ceremonies by St. Nicholas. White from St. Nicholas's beard. White from the snow seen on evergreen's during the holiday season White from the light of the Star seen over the stable.
Slide 14 - 14 Cookies and milk Milk and Cookies being left out for Santa Claus: the modern Christmas tree tradition came from western Germany, from a medieval custom, as a paradise tree - a tree decorated with apples, wafers and/or cookies. When the “German paradise tree" merged with Christianity and became part of the Christmas celebration cookies and wafers were still part of the decorations. As time passed Santa would often snack on a decoration (to keep in shape!). Children (and perhaps parents) noticed that there were decorations that had been snacked on (although in old times the snacking was done by mice too) and so began leaving them out on plates by the fire -- partially to keep them close to Santa's entrance and partially to keep the mice away. Homes that did not use wafers or cookies thought it would be nice to leave out something for me to munch on too after hearing stories from other families about how much Santa enjoyed their cookies. Eventually fewer and fewer people decorated the tree with food but wanted to keep up the tradition of leaving something for Santa Claus. Eventually the origin was lost to common knowledge.
Slide 15 - 15 Costume, Hat, Beard Cloak from St. Nicholas, and perhaps the Magi. The fur probably added to fit the Northern legend Bishops mitre of St. Nicholas, the headgear of the Magi, and perhaps the Phrygian headgear of the French Revolution. St. Nicholas, the Magi are bearded, white because of age.
Slide 16 - 16 Crib, Stable & Straw Jesus' stable in Bethlehem. Legend says it was started by St. Franciscus of Assisi Stable and crib were part of many early cultural belief systems (often refered to as pagan religions)
Slide 17 - 17 * Gifts & Bows Gift Bow: Tied as we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill forever. This custom has many roots. St. Nicholas was an anonymous benefactor. The Magi (the three wise men/Persian Priests from Orient bringing gifts for Jesus) gave gifts to Jesus, Romans gave gifts during their holiday that coincided with this period. (Saturnalia custom) Various days are used December 6th - in memory of St. Nicholas December 24th - Christmas Eve December 25th - Christmas day, the birth of Jesus January 1st - New Year's Day January 6th - Christmas day for some churches, the Magi/three wise men
Slide 18 - 18 Garland Garland is a chain of leaves, flowers, or foliage often used to decorate homes at Christmas time. There have been many other uses throughout history.
Slide 19 - 19 Gnomes & Elves Pagan (some celebrations)
Slide 20 - 20 Holly, Ivy & Greenery In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter. Christian Legend also has it that holly sprang from the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The pointed leaves were said to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore while on the cross and the red berries symbolized the blood he shed.
Slide 21 - 21 Lights ? 1895: Ralph E. Morris invented in 1895 the electric Christmas lights. In addition to literally making the season brighter, electric lights made it safer, as they were an alternative to candles and open flames. Edward Johnson, who worked for Thomas Edison - the inventor of the Bulb, was the first person to use Christmas lights on the tree. Ever ready was the first company to mass produce Christmas lights in the beginning of 1900's.
Slide 22 - 22 * Mistletoe Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter. The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward of evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace. It is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace. Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.   The early church banned the use of mistletoe in Christmas celebrations because of its pagan origins. Instead, church fathers suggested the use of holly as an appropriate substitute for Christmas greenery.
Slide 23 - 23 Magi From the old Persian language, a priest of Zoroaster (Zarathustra). The Bible states they came from the East and were from Persia (today, Iran). Balthasar, Melchior, Caspar.
Slide 24 - 24 North Pole America's Father Christmas dwells there, it is a winter festival, Santa Claus needed somewhere to live.
Slide 25 - 25 Poinsettias The Mexicans in the eighteenth century thought the plants were symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem A native Mexican plant, poinsettias were likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Though the other children mocked him, when the leaves were laid at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. The bright red petals, often mistaken for flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant.
Slide 26 - 26 Reindeer Reindeer are from the north (e.g. Finland) and they are cute, Santa needed transportation The reindeer that pull the sleigh are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and of course -- Rudolph. Two of Santa's reindeer were originally named 'Dunder' and 'Blixem,' not ‘Donner or Donder' and 'Blitzen. There are many other reindeer who live at the North Pole but there is not room to list them all. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The story of Rudolph was written in 1939, by Robert May, an advertising copywriter for Montgomery Ward in Chicago. More on Reindeers in the Chirstmas Carols Powerpoint
Slide 27 - 27 Stars The Star: A heavenly signs of prophecy fulfilled long, long ago- The shining hope of mankind. The astronomical/astrological phenomenon that triggered the journey of the Magi to find and give presents to the Christ child, Jesus. Perhaps a supernova, a conjunction of planets, or a miracle which occurred around 7 BC, the most probably birth year of Christ. Often placed at the top of the Christmas tree.
Slide 28 - 28 Stockings & Socks Hung by the chimney to dry and they make a good repository for presents According to legend, a kindly nobleman grew despondent over the death of his beloved wife and foolishly squandered his fortune. This left his three young daughters without dowries and thus facing a life of spinsterhood. The generous St. Nicholas, hearing of the girls' plight, set forth to help. Wishing to remain anonymous, he rode his white horse by the nobleman's house and threw three small pouches of gold coins down the chimney where they were fortuitously captured by the stockings the young women had hung by the fireplace to dry.
Slide 29 - 29 Trees In 16th-century Germany fir trees were decorated, both indoors and out, with apples, roses, gilded candies, and colored paper. In the Middle Ages, the "paradise tree" merged with cristianity, in the form of a popular religious play depicted the story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. A fir tree hung with apples was used to symbolize the Garden of Eden -- the Paradise Tree. The play ended with the prophecy of a saviour coming, and so was often performed during the Advent season. The Christmas Tree was brought to England by King George I from his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family standing gathered around a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle, popularized the tree throughout Victorian England. Brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans, the Christmas tree became by the late 19th century. Tannenbaum —This is a German word for the Christmas tree, etymologically connected to the pagan god Tinne. The fir tree was used not only at Christmas, but also stripped of its lower branches, decorated with colorful ribbons, and used for the May Pole in the spring.
Slide 30 - 30 Tree Decorations Ornaments1880 : Woolworths first sold manufactured Christmas Tree ornaments. Tinsel: “Icicles” for Christmas trees have been made and sold in Germany since 1878. The manufacturing process was initially a secret one, first used by the French to ornament military uniforms. The Germans obtained the formula in 1610. Silver-plated copper wire is drawn through a series of spools until it becomes very fine. It was then rolled and flattened.
Slide 31 - 31 Wreath A symbol of the never ending eternal value of love…having no end. A wreath is essentially a garland that is joined at both ends. There are several styles used at different occasions. Since the 19th century it is generally made of evergreens, holly, with pinecones and nuts. They are hung as decorations, for example on a door in Canada, the United States, and northern Europe. In Tudor England and during medieval times a wreath of rosemary and bay was served over a boar The advent wreath has four candles and is a Christian symbol of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. A Christmas wreath is more decorative and is generally made of holly leaves and berries and is a custom of many countries including particularly those listed above.
Slide 32 - 32 Yule Log This is a very ancient Celtic custom. A huge log, traditionally an oak, had to be found or given, but never bought. It was dragged into the Great Hall with much fanfare and lighted with a charcoal from the previous year’s log. It had to be kept burning day and night during the Twelve Days of Christmas. No squinting person and no flat-footed woman could enter the Great Hall while the Yule log was burning. The ashes of the Yule log were kept for good luck. Yule itself means “wheel,
Slide 33 - 33 Bibliography
Slide 34 - 34 Merry Christmas in other English: Christmas, Yule, Noel German: Weihnachten Finnish: Joulu Swedish: Jul Italian: Il Natale Spanish: La Natividad French: Noel
Slide 35 - 35 Interesting Facts German and British front-line soldiers sang carols, exchanged gifts, and played soccer during a World War I Christmas truce.