Christmas Traditions and Legends…   4 comments

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A Wee Irish Tradition:  Women’s Christmas / Nollaig na mBean

January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, is traditionally the Irish finish celebrating Christmas. It is also known as Nollaigh na mBean in Irish (Women’s Christmas
Tradition has it that women get the day off and the men of the house get to do the housework, cooking and take down the Christmas decorations. Women meet up have a day out and treat themselves.
Holly Wreaths The glossy-leaved holly with it’s clusters of red berries, popular as a door decoration in North America can be traced to early settlers from the south of Ireland. They came to the United States during the Great Potato Famine. Holly grows wild in the south of Ireland and at Christmas time houses are lavishly decorated with holly.

Merry Christmas in Irish Language:  Nollaig Shona Duit (‘null-ig hun-a dit’)

According to Irish legend, the Gates of Heaven open at midnight on Christmas Eve

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The Legend of the Robin’s Red Breast

A little brown bird shared Bethlehem’s stable with the holy family. One night as the family lay sleeping, she noticed their fire was going out. So she flew down from the rafters and fanned the fire with her wings throughout the night in order to keep the baby Jesus warm. In the morning, she was rewarded with a red breast as a symbol of her love for the newborn king.

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The Legend of Mistletoe

The mystical power of mistletoe, and the tradition of kissing under this plant, owes its origin to the legend of Goddess Frigga and her son Balder. Frigga was the Goddess of Love and her son, Balder, was the God of the Summer Sun. Once, Balder dreamt of his death. He was obviously worried and told his mother about the strange dream. Frigga was worried not only for the life of her son but also for the life on Earth because she knew that without Balder, all life on Earth would come to an end. Thus, she did her utmost to avoid such a mishap by going everywhere and appealing to every being in air, water, fire and earth, to promise her that they would never harm her son. She was promised the safety of her son by every animal and plant under and above the Earth.

However, Loki, the God of Evil, who was an enemy of Balder and always had evil designs in his mind, was aware that there was one plant that Frigga had overlooked. It grew on apple and oak trees and was known as Mistletoe. Thus, Loki made an arrow and placed a sprig of this plant at its tip. He then beguiled Hoder, the blind brother of Balder and the God of Winter, and made him shoot this arrow at Balder. Balder immediately died and everybody was worried as the Earth turned cold and life became dreary. For the next three days, every creature tried to bring Balder back to life but he was revived only by Frigga and with the help of mistletoe. Her tears on the plant became pearly white berries and she blessed it such that anyone who stands under the mistletoe would never be harmed and would be entitled to a kiss as a token of love.

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Legend Of The Candy Cane

It is widely believed that the candy, which earlier was straight as a stick, was given its distinctive J-shape by a German choirmaster. It is said that during service one evening, the children were being very loud and noisy, creating quite a ruckus and not paying any attention to the choirmaster. To keep them quiet and still for the nativity ceremony, he gave them a long, white, sugar candy stick. Since giving chocolates and candies at church was considered sacrilegious, he bent these sticks at one end to make them look like a shepherd’s cane and thus, attached a religious significance to them. In Christianity, Jesus is regarded as the Good Shepherd and so, the staff is considered to be a sacred symbol. The Staff also represents the shepherds who came to visit the infant Jesus.
The candy cane became popular when, in 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant in Wooster, Ohio, who liked candy canes a lot, decided to string them on his Christmas tree as decorations. The idea soon caught up became quite a fashion in no time. By 1900, candy canes, which were earlier only white, came in red stripes, and with peppermint and cinnamon flavoring. Of course, now it’s a popular tradition everywhere.
The candy canes became a much sought-after Christmas-decoration item as the ‘hook’ in the candy made it easier to hang them on the Yule trees, and the unique shape made it an eye-catching attraction.

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SEASON’S  GREETINGS !!!

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Posted December 13, 2013 by PapaBear in Uncategorized

4 responses to “Christmas Traditions and Legends…

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  1. That was so much fun to read!

  2. I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Please enjoy!
    http://glorialana.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/in-my-shoes/

  3. fascinating & beautiful~

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