The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner and major cities throughout the country are finalizing parade preparations for the big day. Thanksgiving parades are as much a holiday tradition as turkey, football and pumpkin pie. Get ready to enjoy giant character balloons, marching bands and dance troops making their way through the city streets while Santa follows behind, ushering in a festive start to the Christmas season. Thanksgiving parades are a fun and family-friendly way to celebrate one of the nation's oldest traditions.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
As the Christmas season is fast approaching, I thought it might be interesting to delve into the history of the holidays. It turns out that there are many myths, false tales, and little known facts about the Christmas holiday and I thought I would share some of these.
- The tradition of Santa being pulled by reindeer began in the 19th century when a group of people moved from Norway to Alaska with a heard of reindeer, who were later used to pull sleds with Santa on them for an advertising campaign.
- Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer was invented in 1939 by a man working for a department store, previous to this there had only been 8 reindeer.
- In North American tradition, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. However, in Denmark folklore he lives on Greenland, and each country on the Scandinavian peninsula has an area in which he is told to reside.
- The X in the abbreviation X-mas is derived from the Greek letter Chi which is the first letter of Christ's name in the Greek alphabet, rather than an attempt to remove the religious aspect of the holiday as some believe.
- Although the birth of Jesus is celebrated on Christmas, it is cloudy as to whether he was actually born on December the 25th or not. This date was chosen to give Christian meaning to existing pagan rituals.
- In Roman times, December 25th was celebrated as the rebirth of the sun and was called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti.
- The Christmas tree comes from a pagan tradition involving the Winter solstice, and the word "Yule" also come from pagan sources. As Northern Europe was one of the last areas to be Christianized, many of it's traditions had to be accepted into Christian traditions rather than obliterated.