“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.”
All across the world, grown-ups and children alike are preparing for the festivities. Whether it’s getting ready to roast a big turkey or decorating a Christmas tree, every family has different traditions for celebrating the festivities. Here at now>press>play we have found the ’12 facts of Christmas’ to fascinate you (and even impress your relatives at your Christmas lunch!)
- The Christmas tree displayed in Trafalgar Square every year is a gift from Oslo, Norway. The tree, which is normally displayed from the beginning of December until 6th January is a token of gratitude from the Norwegian capital for Britain’s help in the Second World War.
- In Zimbabwe, Chicken and rise is eaten for their Christmas meal. Chicken is very expensive in Zimbabwe so is often eaten as a special treat for Christmas Day celebrations
- Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzen, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas time, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrati.
(But can you name them all?!)
- Christians make up a very small amount of the population in Pakistan (about 5million Christians in the country whose population is 162million!) but December 25th is still a public holiday. However, the holiday is in memory of Jinna, the founder of Pakistan rather than celebrating the birth of Christ.
- The last widespread White Christmas in the UK was in 2010. It was extremely unusual, as not only was there snow on the ground at 83% of stations – the highest amount ever recorded – but snow or sleet also fell at 19% of stations.
- In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees 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.
- The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6 They also celebrate the Epiphany on the same date, the time where Churches remember the visit of the Wise Men to Jesus and the revelation that Jesus was the son of God.
- In Germany, Heiligabend, or Christmas Eve, is said to be a magical time when the pure in heart can hear animals talking.
- According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was 221-foot and was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.
- In the UK, children often leave a mince pie and a glass of milk (or something stronger!) for Santa on Christmas Eve. However, in The Netherlands, children leave a shoe by the fireplace for their version of St Nicholas, which they call Sinterklaas. They hope that Sinterklaas will come during the night and bring them presents. They don’t do this at the same time as the UK though, in The Netherlands they celebrate Christmas on December 5th.
- In 1901 President Teddy Roosevelt banned Christmas trees in the White House because he was an environmentalist.
- It is estimated that the single “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the best-selling single of all time, with over 100 million sales worldwide
So there you have it! If you know of any more Christmas traditions from around the globe we would love to hear from you! But for now, may we take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
“He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”.