Interesting Facts about Christmas
We thought it would be nice to show some Christmas Facts and Trivia, so we scoured the internet to find as many interesting facts as we could. Amaze or test your friends with your extensive knowledge of Christmas !
1. The "Christmas" song "Jingle Bells" was actually written for Thanksgiving and not Christmas. But as we all know, it is now almost totally associated with the Christmas holidays. "Jingle Bells was the first song to be broadcast from space. Written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” it was supposed to commemorate the Medford sleigh races.
2. The image of Santa Claus flying his sleigh began in 1819 and was created by Washington Irving, the same author who dreamt up the Headless Horseman
3. Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. According to Roger Highfield, the author of the book “The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey” the world’s most famous reindeer has a red nose due to a parasite. However, Rudolf’s relationship with his parasite is symbiotic: after all, the red nose illuminates the path through the winter night for the whole reindeer team.
4. The Montgomery Ward department store created Rudolph the Reindeer as a marketing gimmick to encourage children to buy their Christmas coloring books.
5. In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas (the Dutch version of Santa Claus) arrives from Spain, not from the North Pole. And that’s not the only weird thing about the Dutch Christmas. Sinterklaas has his little helpers, but they are not adorable hard-working elves: they are black-faced boys and girls who can steal your kids if they misbehave, and bring them to back Spain which is, according to the Dutch, a severe punishment.
6. In Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, finding a spider or a spider’s web on a Christmas tree is believed to be a harbinger of good luck. According to one legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus, according to the other – a spider web on the Christmas tree turned silver and gold once the sunlight touched it. One way or another, decorating a Christmas tree with artificial spiders and spider webs will inevitably bring you luck and prosperity!
7. Clement Moore’s poem introduced eight more reindeer for Santa’s sleigh and their names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Duner and Blixem (for the German words for thunder and lightning). These later evolved into Donner and Blitzen.
8. Most of these reindeer names are male-sounding names. Male reindeer shed their antlers in winter, however, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are more than likely female or castrated.
9. Santa stretches time like a rubber band, in order to deliver all the gifts in one night. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are 2,106 million children under age 18 in the world. If we assume that each household has in average 2.5 children, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles. Given the different time zones, Santa has 36 hours to deliver gifts, therefore his average speed would be approximately 650 miles per second. It is less than the speed of light (therefore, it’s, theoretically, doable but still quite hard for a chubby old man). Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, suggests that Santa uses relativity clouds to get the work done. Relativity clouds, based on relative physics, allow Santa to stretch time like a rubber band which gives him months to deliver gifts, while only a few minutes pass for the rest of us.
10. America’s first batch of eggnog was made in the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Its name comes from the word “grog”, meaning any drink made with rum. Non-alcoholic eggnog is popular as well.
11. Some leave food out for Santa Claus’ reindeer as Norse children did, leaving hay and treats for Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir hoping they would stop by during their hunting adventures. Dutch children adopted this same tradition, leaving food in their wooden shoes for St. Nicholas’ horse.
12. Dutch children also left out food and drink for St. Nicholas himself to honor him on his feast day. Today we leave milk and cookies out for Santa, continuing this very old tradition.
13. Midnight Mass has been a very popular tradition in Ireland for many years. Traditionally the mass started at midnight on Christmas Eve night, but more recently tends to start earlier (e.g. 9pm). It is believed that the change of time was to reduce the number of "merry" revellers leaving the Public house and going to mass on their way home.
14. Christmas might be a public holiday; however, it is not a biblical holy day. The Bible does not say anywhere to keep Christmas as a holy day.
15. In Dublin in 1742 the Christmas oratorio, “The Messiah”, by George Frederick Handle was first performed.
16. In Armenia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of fried fish, lettuce and spinach. Many Armenians fast for a week before the Christmas Eve, that’s why, in order not to stress the stomach, the menu for the Christmas dinner is pretty light.
17. Japanese people traditionally eat at KFC for Christmas dinner. Although the percentage of christian people in Japan is close to zero, every Christmas, kids and grown-ups head to the closest KFC to enjoy some fried chicken – the closest food to turkey that you can get in Japan. It’s all thanks to a successful “Kentucky for Christmas!” marketing campaign in 1947. First aimed at foreigners, KFC offered a “Christmas dinner” that contained chicken and wine – a meal that remotely resembled the food expats and tourists had at home. After a huge success, Kentucky Fried Chicken started promoting this offer every year, until the fast food chain became strongly associated with the holiday season.
18. NORAD’s “Santa Tracker” was born from a misprint in the newspaper. A 1955 Sears ad was supposed to print the number of a store where children could call and tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. The number printed was to the hotline of the Director of Operations for the U.S. Continental Air Defense. Colonel Shoup ordered his staff to give the children updates on the flight coordinates of Santa.
19. A tradition began and continues until this day. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) continues to provide flight updates on local news, the Internet, and even a special iPhone application every Christmas.
20. The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany was first held in 1570 and is one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets. It is also the largest in Europe. People from all over the world visit it annually.
Sources: www.pastbook.com ; www.thefactfile.org