Monday, 17 December 2007

On December 26th


267 Dionysius, bishop of Rome and saint1476 Galeazzo Maria Sforza, duke of Milan, murdered1627 Gonzaga, Italian monarch of Mantua and Monferrato
1776 Johann Gottlieb Rall, mercenary Hessian colonel killed in battle
1862 in Mankato Minnesota, 38 Santee Sioux Indians were hanged
1890 Heinrich Schliemann, German archaeologist aged 86 1956 Holmes Herbert, actor 74 1966 Noel Gallon, composer 75
1971 Robert Lowery, actor aged 57 1972 Harry Truman the 33rd President of the U.S. died in Kansas City aged 88
1973 William Haines, actor 73
1974 Jack Benny, comedian aged 80
1977 Howard Hawks, director, aged 81
1985 Dian Fossey, zoologist specializing in Gorillas, murdered aged 53
1986 Elsa Lanchester, actress 84
1988 John Loder, actor aged 90 1992 Constance Carpenter, actress, dies of stroke aged 87
1993 Jeff Morrow, actor aged 80
1994 Robert Emhardt, actor, 80
1997 John Whitley, air-Marshal, aged 92

1194 Frederick II, Iesi Italy, German Emperor and King of Sicily1618 abbess Elisabeth Paltsgravin of Rhine
1716 Thomas Gray, English poet
1792 Charles Babbage, English inventor of the calculating machine
1805 Joseph-Leon Gatayes, composer 1855 Arnold Ludwig Mendelssohn, composer
1891 Henry Miller, author
1894 Antonio Molina, composer
1902 Elisha Cook Jr, San Francisco California, actor
1914 Richard Widmark, Sunrise Michigan, actor
1921 Steve Allen, New York City, comedian and TV host
1927 Denis Quilley, London English actor
1930 Donald Moffat, Plymouth English actor 1932 Walter Leblanc, Belgian painter
1939 Harvey Phil Spector, record producer
1944 Jane Lapotaire, actress 1951 Richard Skinner, British Disc Jockey1953 Matthew Harding, businessman and Chelsea football supporter and director1972 Jared Leto, Bossier City Louisiana, actor
1985 Steven Hartman, Westlake California, actor


268 St Dionysius ends his reign as Catholic Pope
418 St Zosimus ends his reign as Catholic Pope 795 St Leo III begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1198 French bishop Odo van Sully condemns Zottenfeest
1481 Battle at Westbroek Dutch army defeats Utrecht
1492 the 1st Spanish settlement in the New World is founded, by Columbus
1773 the Expulsion of tea ships from Philadelphia
1799 Colonel Lee says George Washington, is 1st in war, 1st in peace and 1st in the hearts of his countrymen1805 France and Austria signs Peace of Pressburg 1862 38 Santee Sioux Indians hanged in Mankato Minnesota 1862 Battle of Dumfries, Virginia
1872 18 inches is the 4th largest snowfall in New York City’s history
1899 Baden-Powell led a failed assault to relieve Mafeking, 24 killed
1916 Joseph Joffre becomes marshal of France
1925 Turkey adopts Gregorian calendar 1926 Prince-regent Hirohito becomes emperor of Japan1928 Johnny Weissmuller announces his retirement from amateur swimming 1932 Earthquake kills 70,000 in Gansu China1939 Earthquake in East Anatolia Turkey 1941 Winston Churchill becomes the First British Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of Congress1943 British sink German battle cruiser Scharnhorst1944 Battle of Bastogne US General Patton breaks through the German lines
1946 Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas opens1947 Heavy snow blankets Northeast USA burying New York City under 25.8" of snow in just 16 hrs 1955 RKO is 1st to announce sale of its film library to TV 1964 Moors Murderers claim last victim 1965 Paul McCartney is interviewed on pirate radio station Radio Caroline1966 Maulana Karenga establishes Kwanzaa the First fruits of harvest festival 1967 Dave Brubeck Quartet formally disbands
1968 Arab terrorists in Athens fire on El Al plane, killing 1 1973 5 astronauts walk in space for a record 7 hours 1973 Soyuz 13 returns to Earth 1975 the first supersonic transport service begins in the USSR with the Tupolev-144
1978 India's former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, is released from jail
1984 Belgian princess Astrid marries Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este
1986 Terrorists Captured Iraqi Airways Boeing-737 in Saudi Arabia, about 60 killed
1991 Militant Sikhs kill 55 and wound 70 in India
1991 Jack Ruby's gun sells for $220,000 in an auction
1993 Antonov-26 crashes at Gyumri, Armenia, 36 killed 1994 French commandos’ terminate Air France hijacking in Marseille

On December 21st


918 Conrad I, German King and Duke of Franconia
1375 Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian poet
1597 Petrus Canisius, Dutch Jesuit saint, aged 76
1674 Rutger van Haersolte, viceroy of Overijsselse, 66
1736 Alessandro Galilei, Italian architect, aged 451864 William Henry Fry, composer, 51 1890 Niels Wilhelm Gade, Danish composer, aged 73
1906 Adalbert von Goldschmidt, composer, 58 1928 Harry Butt, English cricketer, wicket-keeper1940 F Scott Fitzgerald, author, died of a heart attack aged 44 1945 George S Patton, World War Two U.S. General killed in car crash aged 60 1955 Dorothy Bernard, actress, 65 1957 Eric Coates, composer, 71
1958 Harry Byron (HB) Warner, actor, aged 83 1963 Jack Hobbs, English cricketer
1967 Stuart Erwin, actor, dies of heart attack aged 64
1974 Richard Long, actor, 47 1980 Marc Connelly, playwright, aged 90
1983 Rod Cameron, actor 73 1992 Stella Adler, U.S. actress, 90


1117 Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury
1537 Johan III, king of Sweden (1569-92)
1804 Benjamin Disraeli, British Tory Prime Minister (1868, 1874-80)
1879 Joseph Stalin, Russian dictator murdered 11,000,000 during his reign1913 Raich Carter, English footballer
1918 Kurt Waldheim, Austrian President, Nazi, 4th United Nations Secretary General 1928 Ed Nelson, New Orleans Louisiana actor 1937 Jane Fonda, New York City, actress 1940 Frank Zappa, Baltimore, rock musician 1940 Ray Hildebrand, (Paul), Texas, singer (Hey Paula) 1946 Carl Dean Wilson, Hawthorne California, rock vocalist 1948 Samuel L Jackson, actor
1953 Betty Wright, American gospel singer
1954 Chris Evert, Fort Lauderdale Texas, tennis pro 1957 Lisa Gerritsen, Los Angeles California, actress 1959 Florence Griffith Joyner, Los Angeles California, athlete 1962 Christy Forester, Lookout Mountain Georgia, country singer1968 Khrystyne Haje, Santa Clara, California, actress
1969 Julie Delpy, actress1978 Michael Vitar, Los Angeles California, actor


1163 Hurricane hits villages in Holland and Friesland, causing devastating floods
1582 Flanders adopts Gregorian calendar
1620 The Mayflower pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock
1835 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin aboard sails into the Bay of Islands New Zealand
1864 General Sherman conquers Savannah1898 Scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium1910 An Explosion in a coal mine in Hulton England kills 344 mine workers1912 Denmark, Norway and Sweden declare neutrality in the Comende war1913 The 1st 32 clue crossword puzzle was printed in New York World1919 J Edgar Hoover deported anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman to Russia1923 Nepal changes from British protectorate to an independent nation1925 Eisenstein's movie the battleship Potemkin premieres in Moscow 1933 20th century Fox signs Shirley Temple aged 5 to a studio contract
1937 Snow White the 1st feature length color and sound cartoon premiered 1941 German submarine U-567 sinks
1946 Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," premiered
1946 An Earthquake in Southern Japan, kills 1,086 1948 State of Eire formerly called the Irish Free State declared its independence
1951 Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement
1954 Dr Sam Sheppard's wife Marilyn is murdered and the Dr is accused of the crime
1958 Charles De Gaulle wins 7 year term as 1st President of 5th Rep of France
1959 10th largest snowfall in New York City’s history 13.7" 1966 U.S.S.R. launches Luna 13 for soft-landing in Oceanus Procellarum
1968 Apollo 8 (Borman, Lovell & Anders) the 1st manned Moon voyage launched1971 UN Security Council chooses Kurt Waldheim as 4th secretary General
1975 Madagascar adopts constitution
1976 UN General Assembly passes a resolution declaring 1979 the Year of Child 1978 Police in Des Plaines Illinois arrest John Wayne Gacy, Jr. for murder 1979 Zimbabwe adopts constitution 1988 NY bound Pan Am jumbo jet explodes over Lockerbie Scotland all 258 aboard die
1989 Dan Quayle sends out 30,000 Xmas cards with the word beacon spelled beakon 1991 Soviet Union formally dissolves 11 of 12 republics sign treaty forming Commonwealth of Independent States 1991 95 ticket holders share in the Madrid Spain $1.3 billion lottery
1992 Dutch DC-10 caught fire on landing at Faro Airport Portugal, 56 die
1994 Bomb goes off on #4 train on Fulton Street station New York City

Friday, 14 December 2007

Christmas Poetry


The three wise men
Traveled for days before reaching Bethlehem
And arrived after the birth
They stood and viewed the scene in awe
And knelt reverently in the lords presence
Then gave their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The three wise women
Would have stopped to ask directions
And arrived before the birth
They would have delivered the baby
Then they would have cleaned the stable and cooked a meal
Before giving the baby really useful gifts


Angels from on high
Behold we bring newsChrist is coming
Do not be afraidEmmanuel is comingFollow yonder star
Go to BethlehemHosanna God be praised

In the town of Bethlehem Jesus was bornKneeling shepherds before him
Lowing beasts in attendanceMagi from the east
Noel, noel, noel

On the first morning
Peace came to the worldQuelling fear and pain
Rekindling the light
Saviour son of God
The prince of peace was born
Uniting the world

Verily the most
Wondrous of times
Xmas festival of love
Yule tide of good will
Zion brought to earth

Thursday, 13 December 2007


Christmas was celebrated on December 25th.for the first time.

ON CHRISTMAS DAY 597 England adopted the Julian calendar
Boudouin I of Boulogne was crowned king of Jerusalem
Pope Leo III crowned Charles the Great of the Franks, Charlemagne, Roman emperor.
Boleslaw I Chrobry was crowned as the first king of Poland.

Christopher Columbus' ship the Santa Maria docked in what was to become the Dominican Republic.
The city of Natal was founded in Brazil.

The Massachusetts General Court ordered a fine of five shillings for anyone who observed the day of Christmas.
Floods ravaged the Dutch coastal provinces and many thousands were killed.

ON CHRISTMAS DAY 1741The Astronomer Anders Celsius introduced the Centigrade temperature scale.
Farmer and amateur astronomer Johann George Palitzsch was the first to sight
Halley's Comet on its first predicted return.

George Washington crossed the Delaware River and surprised and defeated 1,400 Hessians.

Louisiana and Arkansas were the first states to observe Christmas as holiday.
The United States forces defeated the Seminole Indians at the Battle of Okeechobee.

Despite bitter opposition United States President Andrew Johnson granted unconditional pardons to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion.
John Philip Sousa wrote "Stars & Stripes Forever".
The Boers launched a surprise attack against the British forces in the Orange-Free state at the Battle at Tweefontein.
The Ezo Republic was founded in Hokkaido by Shogunate rebels.

Just after midnight on Christmas morning the unofficial "Christmas Truce" began, German troops ceased firing their guns and artillery and then started singing Christmas carols. Later in the day men from both sides left their trenches and met in No man's land where they traded gifts with the enemy. The truce lasted for three days.

Hirohito becomes Emperor of Japan, succeeding the Taisho Emperor.

An earthquake measuring 7.6 struck Gansu in China killing
70,000 people.

While King George V was delivering his Christmas dinner speech his chair collapsed.

The great American film director, George Cukor, announced that Vivien Leigh would play Scarlett O'Hara in the epic Gone with the Wind.
Charles Dickens' story of redemption “A Christmas Carol” was read on radio for the first time. It was broadcast on CBS radio.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was introduced by Montgomery Ward stores to become the 9th reindeer.
Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison in Hong Kong to the forces of Japan.
The Constitution of the Republic of China went into effect.

The Coronation Stone, taken from Scone in Scotland by Edward I in 1296, was stolen from Westminster Abbey and smuggled back to Scotland.
An Avalanche of lava killed 150 people after the volcano Ruapehu erupted in New Zealand.
The Worst hotel fire in history killed 163 people at the Taeyokale Hotel in the South Korean capital Seoul.
Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin, Australia causing unprecedented damage.

Takeo Fukuda became the Japanese premier.

The Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin met in Egypt with the President of Egypt Anwar Sadat

Mikhail Gorbachev formally resigned as president of the Soviet Union and the Union was formally dissolved the next day.

The Cassini orbiter launched the Huygens probe towards titan, Saturn's moon.


Princess Alexandra was born on Christmas day 1936 at 3, Belgrave Square in London.Conrad Hilton the founder of the hotel chain was born 1887
Dorothy Wordsworth the English prose writer and younger sister of poet William Wordsworth was born in 1771 in Cockermouth Cumbria.
Sir Isaac Newton the renowned scientist was born near Grantham in Lincolnshire, on December 25, 1642
And Humphrey Deforest Bogart was born on Christmas day in 1899 in New York.


Born on christmas day 1901 was Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.
While on christmas day 1742 Charlotte von Stein the girlfriend of Goethe was born.
The telecommunications pioneer Claude Chappe the inventor of semaphore lines was born on christmas day 1763
Christmas day 1821 Clara Barton the founder of the American Red Cross was born.
While on December 25th 1886 Kid Ory, jazz musician made his first entrance and.
Noel Redding, bassist with The Jimi Hendrix Experience was born 1945.


The famous German painter Hans von Bartels was born on christmas day in 1856 and another artist was born the same day in
1883, Maurice Utrillo, one of the "Montmartre" artist’s.
Bandleader Cab Calloway way born on the savior’s day in 1907
Sir Lew Grade the famous film producer was first produced on christmas day 1906 and fellow movie producer Ismail Merchant made his festive debut in 1936.


Muhammed Ali Jinnah, first Governor-General of Pakistan 1876
Anwar Sadat, Egyptian president 1918
Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India 1924
Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian senator 1961


On christmas day 1908 the actress Helen Twelvetrees made her first appearance and in 1943 another actress Hanna Schygulla did the same.
In 1945 actor Gary Sandy made his Christmas debut and in 1949 Sissy Spacek arrived in time for Christmas lunch.


Quite a few singers have had their first releases on Christmas day
In 1912 it was Tony Martin, 1932 rock and roll legend Little Richard, singer, songwriter Jimmy Buffett in 1946 two years later in 1948 it was the turn of actress and singer Barbara Mandrell. UB40 singer and guitarist Robin Campbell was born on christmas day 1954 as was Annie Lennox, singer with the Eurythmics, then on the holy day in 1971 it was the singer Dido.


On christmas day 1908 Quentin Crisp, gay author and activist for homosexuals was born while fellow author Carlos Castaneda arrived in 1925.
Rod Serling scriptwriter and the host of The Twilight Zone was born christmas day 1924 and in 1913 it was Henri Nannen, journalist and publisher.


Kenny Stabler, American football born 1945
Larry Csonka, American football born 1946
Rickey Henderson, baseball born 1958


W.C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield) died December 25, 1946 aged 66 in Pasadena.
Paul Bourget the French novelist and critic died 1935.The comic film star Charles Spencer Chaplin died at his home in Switzerland in 1977 aged 88.
And in 1995 entertainer Dean Martin died at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 78.


Adrian I a well regarded Pope and friend to Charlemagne died christmas day 795.
Samuel de Champlain the French explorer and founder of Quebec City died in Canada in 1635.
Czech author and inventor of the word robot Karel Čapek died December 25th 1938
Harry T. Moore the black civil rights activist was murdered along with his wife Harriet in their home in Florida christmas day 1951.
English snooker player John Pulman passed away on December 25th 1998.


Ismet Inonu Turkish statesman died at his home on 1973.
Tristan Tzara, poet and essayist and founder of Dada, the nihilistic revolutionary movement in the arts died in Paris1963
Joan Miró, Spanish Surrealist Painter and Sculptor died on Christmas day 1983.
Nicolae Ceauşescu the Romanian dictator was executed in his palace in 1989.
American baseball player and manager Billy Martin died on December 25th 1989.

On December 13th


863 Boudouin with the Iron Arm married Judith, daughter of Charles de Kales
1545 Council of Trente the 19th ecumenical council opens
1642 Dutch navigator Abel Tasman discovers New Zealand 1577 Sir Francis Drake sets sail from England to circumnavigate the world1833 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin aboard arrives in Port Deseado, Patagonia
1843 "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens first published
1903 Wright Brothers make maiden flight at Kittyhawk
1903 Italo Marcioni patents ice cream cone in New Jersey
1913 the Mona Lisa which was stolen in Aug 1911 returned to the Louvre
1916 Avalanche in the Tyrol kills 10,000 Austrian and Italian troops in 24 hrs
1918 U.S. Army of occupation crosses Rhine and enters Germany 1918 Wilson, becomes the first serving president to make a foreign visit (France) 1919 Ross and Smith land in Australia after flying from London
1920 League of nations establishes International Court of Justice in The Hague
1928 Clip-on tie designed 1938 Los Angeles freezes at 28ø F
1939 Battle of the River Plate between 3 British cruisers and the German Graf Spee
1941 U-81 torpedoes British aircraft carrier Ark Royal1943 150 U.S. Marauders bomb Schiphol1944 Japanese kamikaze pilot crashes into U.S. cruiser Nashville killing 1381949 Knesset votes to transfer Israel's capital to Jerusalem1951 Future British Prime Minister Margaret Roberts marries Denis Thatcher
1959 Archbishop Makarios elected first president of Cyprus
1966 U.S. bomb Hanoi for the first time 1967 Unsuccessful coup against Greek King Constantine II
1974 Malta becomes a republic
1976 Longest non-stop passenger flight 13hours 14mins (Sydney to San Francisco)
1977 14 University of Evansville basketball players die in plane crash
1978 the first U.S. coin to honor a woman, the Susan B. Anthony dollar is issued
1979 Strikes against price increases in Gdansk Poland
1981 Polish government declares martial law and arrests Solidarity activists
1982 a major Earthquake hits Northern Yemen killing 2,000
1990 Heavy earthquake strikes Sicily, 18 die
1993 Fire in textile factory in Fuzjou China, killing 60 1994 American eagle commuter plane crashes in North Carolina, killing 15


1533 Erik XIV, king of Sweden 1560-69 1553 Henry IV, 1st Bourbon-king of Navarre, France
1724 Franz Maria Ulrich Theodosius Aepinus, in Rostock, German physician/physicist 1732 Jean-Claude Trial, composer 1740 Franz Xavier Schnitzer, composer 1770 John Clarke-Whitfield, composer 1797 Heinrich Heine, Germany, poet and lyricist
1810 Clark Mills, American sculptor
1819 Edwin George Monk, composer
1893 Curt Jurgens, Munich Germany, actor
1910 Van Heflin, Walters Oklahoma actor
1925 Dick Van Dyke, West Plains Missouri, actor 1929 Christopher Plummer, Toronto, actor
1930 Robert Prosky, Philadelphia, actor
1948 Lillian Board, England, 400m runner
1951 Robert Lindsay, Ilkeston England, actor
1952 John Francombe, English national hunt jockey 1957 Steve Buscemi, actor
1967 Jamie Foxx, comedian
1981 Chelsea Hertford, actress


838 Pippijn I, King of Aquitania
1048 Al-Biruni, Arabic royal astrologer aged 74
1126 Hendrik IX, Hendrik the Black, Duke of Bayern (1120-26)
1204 Maimonides, Jewish philosopher and Talmudic scholar, died in Cairo aged 69
1250 Frederick II, German Emperor (1212-1250), aged 55
1404 Albrecht, duke of Bavaria, aged 74
1521 Manoel I "the Great", King of Portugal (1495-1521), 52
1565 Konrad von Gesner, naturalist, aged 49
1574 Selam II Sari, the blonde, sultan of Turkey (1566-74), 50
1603 Franciscus Vieta, mathematician, died in Paris aged 63 1622 Jan Campanus, composer, 50
1793 Johann Joachim Christoph Bode, composer, aged 63
1812 Marianne von Martinez, composer, 68 1945 Robert van Genechten, Dutch Nazi (NSB), commits suicide
1961 Grandma Moses, U.S. painter, aged 101 1969 Raymond A Spruance, U.S. Admiral Battle of Midway veteran, dies at 83 1990 Alice Marble, California, tennis star, 77 1993 Myrna Loy, actress, aged 88
1994 Norman Beaton, actor, 60 1997 Alexander Oppenheim, mathematician, aged 94


Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
GeSëende KersfeesEen Plesierige KerfeesAfrican (Eritrea, Tigrinja)
Rehus-Beal-LedeatsAfrican (Kwa, Yoruba)
E ku odun, e ku iye'dun
African (Chadic, Hausa)
Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar ShekaraHebrew
Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tovaIran (Farsi)
Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashadIraq
Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah

Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki HouNew Zealand (Maori)
Meri KirihimetePapua New Guinea
Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yuPhilippines
Maligayan Pasko
Philippines (Tagalog)
Maligayamg Pasko
Masaganang Bagong TaonSamoa
La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou


India (Bengali)
Shuvo Naba BarshaIndia (Hindi)
Shub Naya BarasIndia (Marathi)
Shub Naya VarshIndia (Urdu)
Naya Saal Mubarak Ho

Natale hilare et Annum FaustumLow Saxon
Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi NijaarOccitan (medieval Southern France)
Pulit nadal e bona annado
Persia (Farsi)
Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashadRhetian (Of the Rhetian Alps now Tyrol)
Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn


Afghanistan (Pushto)
Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak ShaBahasa Malaysia
Selamat Hari NatalChina (Cantonese)
Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw SunChina (Mandarin)
Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen TanIndonesia
Selamat Hari NatalJapan
Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu OmedetoKorea
Sung Tan Chuk HaRapa-Nui (Easter Island)
Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Sri Lanka (Singhalese)
Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak VewaThailand
Sawadee Pee MaiVietnam
Chung Mung Giang Sinh

Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari GaghandAzerbaijan (Azeri)
Tezze Iliniz Yahsi OlsunEstonia
Ruumsaid juuluphiLatvia (Lettish)
Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno GaduLithuania
Linksmu KaleduRussia
Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim GodomUkraine
Srozhdestvom Kristovym

Pace e saluteMalta
IL-Milied It-tajjebItaly
Buone Feste NataliziePortugugal
Feliz NatalSardinia
Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nouSpain
Feliz Navidad
Spain (Basque)
Zorionak eta Urte Berri On
Spain (Catalan)
Bon Nadal i un Bon Any NouSpain (Galician)
Bo Nada

Belgium (Flemish)
Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaarEngland
Merry Christmas Esperanto
Gajan KristnaskonFrance
Joyeux NoelFrisian Islands
Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!Germany
Froehliche WeihnachtenThe Netherlands
Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!or Zalig Kerstfeast


Vesele Vanoce
Tchestita Koleda;
Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Czech Republic
Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze NarodzenieRomania
Sarbatori veseleSlovakia
Sretan Bozic
Vesele Vianoce
A stastlivy Novy RokSlovenia
Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto


Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh matCornwall
Nadelik looan na looan blethen nowethGaelic
Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnatIsle of Mann
Nollick ghennal as blein vie noaScotland
Nollaig chridheil huibhWales
Nadolig Llawen


Choctaw, Muskhogean
Yukpa, Nitak Hollo ChitoCree, Algonquian
Mitho Makosi KesikansiInuit
Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo
Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.Navajo, Athapaskan
Merry Keshmish

Gezur KrislinjdenCroatia
Sretan BozicMacedonia
Sreken BozhikSerbia
Hristos se rodiSerbo-Croatia
Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina Yugoslavia
Cestitamo BozicGreece
Kala ChristouyennaTurkey
Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun


Glædelig JulFaroe Islands
Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjarFinland
Hyvaa jouluaIceland
Gledileg JolLappland (Sami)
Buorrit JuovllatNorway
God Jul, or Gledelig Jul
God Jul
Ett Gott Nytt År


Feliz NavidadBrazil
Boas Festas e Feliz Ano NovoChile
Feliz NavidadColumbia
Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año NuevoNetherlands Antilles (Papiamento)
Bon Pasco Pennsylvania
En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!Peru
Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año NuevoU.S.A.
Happy Holidays

Wednesday, 12 December 2007



963 Leo VIII elected Pope
1196 Northern Dutch coast flooded in the "Saint-Nicolaas Flood"
1240 The Mongols under Batu Khan occupied and destroy Kiev
1424 Don Alfonso V of Aragon grants Barcelona the right to exclude Jews
1491 King Charles VIII of France marries Anna of Bretagne
1492 the island of Haiti is discovered by Christopher Columbus
1648 Thomas Pride prevents 96 Presbyterians from sitting in the English parliament 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army retreats to Scotland
1756 British troops under Robert Clive occupy Fulta India 1768 1st edition of "Encyclopedia Britannica" is published in Scotland1820 US president James Monroe re-elected1833 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin aboard departs Rio de la Plata1849 Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery in Maryland1862 President Lincoln orders the hanging of 39 Santee Sioux Indians
1865 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery 1873 1st international football game in the USA Yale 2, Eton 1
1876 1st crematorium in the USA begins operation, Washington, Penn 1877 1st sound recording made by Thomas Edison 1877 Washington Post publishes its 1st edition 1907 Coal mine explosions in Monongah, WV, kills 3611912 China votes for universal human rights
1914 German troops over run Lodz
1917 Finland declares independence from Russia 1917 French munitions ship "Mont Blanc" explodes in Halifax killing 1,700
1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty signed giving Ireland dominion status and partition creates Northern Ireland
1940 Gestapo arrest German resistance fighter the poster artist Helen Ernst
1941 Dutch and British pilots see Japanese invasion fleet at Singapore
1956 Nelson Mandela and 156 others are arrested for political activities in South Africa1963 Beatles begin a tradition of releasing a Christmas record for fans1966 Polio vaccination becomes obligatory in Belgium1973 Gerald Ford sworn-in as 1st unelected VP, succeeding Spiro T Agnew1989 Worst Canadian mass murder when Marc Lepine kills 14 women at Montreal university1990 Shoeless Joe Jackson's signature is sold for $23,100
1992 300,000 Hindus attack and destroy the mosque of Babri India, 4 die 1994 Maltese Falcon auctioned for $398,590


1185 Afonso I, the Conqueror, king of Portugal (1143-85) aged 76
1352 Clement VI, [Pierre Roger], Pope (1342-52) 1779 Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, French still life painter aged 80
1882 Anthony Trollope, writer
1889 Joseph H "Jozef" Neuhuys, painter, 48
1889 Jefferson Davis, President of Confederate States (1861-5), 81
1926 Claude [Oscar] Monet, French impressionist painter aged 86
1933 Auguste Chapuis, composer, 75
1943 Hermann Lohr, composer, 72
1946 Maximilian Oseyevich Shteynberg, composer, aged 63
1973 Robert A Watson-Watt, English physicist (radar), 81
1988 Roy Orbison, singer (Pretty Woman), dies of massive heart attack at 52
1989 John Paine, actor (Miracle on 34th St), aged 77 1992 Percy Herbert, actor, dies of heart attack at 721993 Prof Wolfgang Paul, German physicist, Nobel prize winner 1989, aged 80
1993 Don Ameche, actor, dies of prostate cancer at 85
1994 Alan Owen, English screenplay writer and actor (Hard Day's Night), 69
1995 Claire Polin, composer aged 69
1995 Kathleen Harrison, British actress (Mrs Thusday), dies aged 103
1997 Eliot Daniel, composer (I Love Lucy theme), aged 89

1285 Ferdinand V, king of Castile and Leon
1421 Henry VI, king of England (1422-61, 1470-71)
1550 Orazio Tiberio Vecchi, composer
1608 George Monck, English general governor of Scotland
1768 Johann Baptist Henneberg, composer
1775 Nicolas Isouard, composer
1792 Willem II Frederik GL, King of Netherlands (1840-49) 1896 Ira Gershwin, lyricist1906 actress Agnes Moorehead born Clinton Massachusetts
1920 Dave Brubeck, Concord California, jazz pianist and composer1939 Tomas Svoboda, Paris, France, Czech composer (Etude) 1941 mass murderer Richard Speck, (killed 8 student nurses in 1966) 1943 Mike Smith, London England, pianist with the Dave Clark 5
1948 Jonathan King, London, singer songwriter and producer
1948 actress JoBeth Williams, Houston Texas1949 cricketer Peter Willey, England batsman
1953 Gina Hecht, Houston Texas, actress
1955 Steven Wright, dry comedian
1962 Janine Turner, Lincoln Nebraska, actress
1965 actress Teri Hatcher, Sunnyvale California



In 1979 the Christingle Service was for the first time introduced intoBarbados at the St Ambrose Church.


St Francis of Assisi was the first to introduce Christmas Carols to formal church services.


In Stuttgart, children dress up as Nikolaus and go from door to door asking for sweets similar to trick or treating at Halloween.


It was in Germany in 1531 that the first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared.


Many families in Finland visit cemeteries at Christmas time to place candles on the graves of friends and loved ones.


It was Pope Julius I, In 320 AD, who selected 25th December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome from 125 to 136 AD, declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate "The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour."


The largest crèche in the world is an 1136 square-meter miniature of a Provencal village, located in the town of Grignan in the Drôme, 10 km west of Valréas.


Rudolph, with the shiny red nose, was the ninth reindeer.
He was created in 1939 by an advertising writer for the Montgomery Ward agency.
The song of the classic children’s favorite wasn’t written until ten years later.


The first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria in 1937.


It is thought that the concoction we now know as eggnog started out as a mixture of Spanish Sherry and milk which The English used to call "Dry sack posset".


The first President of the United States, George Washington, was a particular devotee of eggnog and concocted his own recipe which included rye whiskey, rum and sherry.


Franklin Pierce was the fourteenth President of the United States (1853-1857) and in 1856 he was the first President to decorate the first White House Christmas tree.


In 1649 the first American Christmas carol was written by a minister named John de Brebeur and was called "Jesus is born".


Christkind is an angelic messenger from Jesus a beautiful fair haired girl with a shining crown of candles.


In the largely Protestant areas of central and northern Germany, St. Nicholas later became better known as der Weinachtsmann.


On Christmas day 1066 William the Conqueror was crowned King of England.


At mid-day in Finland, the 'peace of Christmas' is broadcast on national radio and TV from the Finnish city of Turku.


The first commercial Christmas card caused something of a controversy when they first appeared in 1846.
The cards featured a drawing depicting a group of family members happily toasting each other with glasses of wine.
This was considered to be a shockingly decadent portrait and was immediately condemned by temperance advocates.


The "Twelve days of Christmas" are the 12 days that separate Christmas day, December 25, from Epiphany, on January 6.


The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby's.


The first church to be built in New York or New Amsterdam as it was at the time was built by the Dutch.
When it was completed the Dutch named it in honor of the gift giving Saint - St Nicholas.


During the Reformation in Switzerland, all instrumental and choral music was banned from churches.


In Germany, during the reformation carols were greatly disapproved of, so as a result many were converted into hymns.



A very common saying amongst children a hundred years ago was "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings".
This was made famous in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" starring James Stewart.


Chanukah is the Jewish Festival of Lights an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem during which a special eight-branched candelabrum is slowly lit over eight days.


In Massachusetts in 1659, a law was passed that stating
"Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or in any other way, shall be fined 5 shillings."


In England in 1644 the observance of Christmas was forbidden by an act of Parliament.


On Dec. 26, 1583, the Glasgow Kirk Session put 5 persons to public penance for keeping the 'superstitious day called YULE'."


In 529 AD, the Emperor Justinian decreed that no one should work on the festival of Christmas.


Holly, mistletoe, the Yule log and the wassail bowl are all relics of pre-Christian times.


In the 5th century the Western Church ordered the 'Mass of Christ' to be forever celebrated on the day of the old Roman feast of the Birth of Sol (the Sun).


From December 17th to the 23rd the Romans ornamented their temples and homes with green boughs and flowers for the Saturnalia.


The Roman poet Virgil wrote about the decorating of pine trees in honor of Bacchus, the god of drinking and revelry.



The winter solstice was considered an important point of the year by the German and Celtic tribes as they held their chief festival of Yule which was to commemorate the return of what they called the burning-wheel (the sun).


During the winter solstice the druids gathered mistletoe and hung it in their homes while the Saxons favored holly and ivy.


On St. Nicholas' Day, during the middle ages, a 'Boy Bishop' was elected, and he exercised a blasphemous Episcopal jurisdiction by parodying ecclesiastical functions and ceremonies.


In Rome between the great Saturnalia festival and the solstice festival of Brumalia came the Festival of Infants known as Juvenalia, and the Sigallaria, or Doll Festival and the children were presented with gifts at both.


In ancient Rome After the festival of the Saturnalia, came the Festival of Infants known as Juvenalia, at which the children were presented with gifts.


The early Puritan settlers of America declared Christmas celebration as a "relic of Popery," and they abolished it.


St Lucia’s day, december 13th is celebrated In Sweden with the youngest girl in the family wearing or carrying a crown of small lit candles this is appropriate as Lucia means light.


The name "Santa Claus" is derived from the good Bishop "Saint Nicholas," patron saint of beggars and thieves and in the middle Ages, thieves were known as "clerks of St. Nicholas."


If you don’t take your Christmas decorations down by twelfth night January 5th you should leave them up until the 2nd of February which is Candlemas.


Kwanzaa is a non religious festival African festival beginning on December 26th and ending on January 1st the central practice is the lighting of the seven candles or mishumaa of Kwanzaa whichsignifies each of the Seven Principles or Nguzo Saba.


Candlemas was originally a Pagan festival to celebrate purification but now it is part of the Christian calendar.The feast of the presentation is celebrated on February 2nd the 40th day after Christmas and it is a day honoring Christ and Mary's purification in the temple.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Christmas Stuff


St Lucia was first settled by Arawak Indians around 200 A.D but six hundred years later the Arawak culture had been replaced by the Caribs.
To the islands inhabitants it was known as "Iouanalao" and "Hewanorra," which meant "Island of the Iguanas."
The island was first discovered by the Europeans on December 13th 1502 when Christopher Columbus first sighted the island and although he never landed on it he named it St Lucia as it was the saint’s day.
There was no European presence established on the island until arround 1550s when the notorious buccaneer Francois le Clerc, also known as Peg-Leg le Clerc used the island as a base to launch attacks on unsuspecting treasure-laden Spanish galleons.
The Dutch arrived around 1600 and established a fortified base at Vieux Fort.
A party of English settlers arrived on the “Olive Branch” a few years later but there attempts to settle ended in failure.
In 1639, a second party of English colonists under Sir Thomas Warner also failed in their attempts to settle the island.
By the middle of the century the French arrived and "purchased" the island for the French West India Company this did not go down well with the British and hostilities broke out and the Anglo-French conflict raged for a century and a half.
It was in 1814 after a long drawn out series of savage and brutal battles that the British finally claimed the island for the crown.
Under British rule the island prospered and remained under the control of the British crown until St Lucia became independent in 1979.


A terrible famine struck Sicily and hunger had weakened the people greatly.
So in Syracuse a large group went to the church and prayed to Santa Lucia for deliverance from the famine.
While they prayed a ship loaded with grain sailed into the harbor and they were saved.
So to celebrate Santa Lucia day and to commemorate the miracle the Italians feast on a boiled wheat dish they call Cuccia or Cuccidata.


When Christianity reached Scandinavia St Lucia dethroned a pagan goddess to become the most revered female figure.
In Norse mythology the pagan goddess Freya was the most beautiful goddess of love and fertility to whom sacrifices were offered at Yule.
She was the daughter of the god Njord and the sister of Freyr and married to the mysterious god Od who disappeared, she mourned so much for the loss of her husband that she wept tears of gold.
Freya wore the bright necklace of the Brisings and a cloak of bird feathers which allowed her to change into a falcon, and her chariot was pulled by two cats.


Lucia was born to a noble and prosperous family in Syracuse on the island of Sicily.
It was in the days of Diocletian and his persecution of Christian’s that Lucia carried food and drink to Christians hiding in dark underground tunnels.
In order To light her way she wore a wreath of candles on her head.
Lucia’s father was long dead and her ailing widowed mother, Eutychia, planned to marry the beautiful young Lucia to a pagan bachelor.
Lucia however had no interest in marriage and spurned the suggestion of marriage and told her mother she had no want of worldly goods and she had vowed to remain a virgin in the tradition of St. Agatha, at whose tomb she regularly prayed for help and for three years she managed to keep the marriage on hold.
To change her mother Eutychia's mind about the girl's new faith, Lucy prayed long at the tomb of St Agatha.
Miraculously her mother's long hemorrhagic illness was cured and to show her gratitude to her devout daughter the grateful mother was ready to exceed to Lucia’s wish to give herself to prayer and poverty and commit her life to god.
The young pagan suitor, Paschasius, was less understanding and was so angry that he denounced her as a Christian to the Roman authorities.
In keeping with the Emperor Diocletian’s edict to eradicate Christianity the Roman governor sentenced her to be taken to a brothel and forced into prostitution.
The Romans were thwarted in their efforts after divine intervention as Lucia became rooted to the spot and was thus immovable and the Romans could not carry her away even when they hitched her to a team of oxen.
Not to be diverted after they tortured her and tore her eyes out the Romans next condemned her to death by fire, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afirebut after another divine intervention she proved impervious to the flames.
In the end a roman soldier pierced her neck with a sword and she died.
Miraculously her eyesight was restored before her death which is why she is the patron saint of the blind.

It is ironic that St Lucia of Syracuse revered St. Agatha so and prayed often at her tomb
as there were many parallels in their lives.
Agatha was born in Sicily and also belonged to a rich, important family and dedicated her life to God as a young person, and resisted both marriage and sex.
Agatha, Young, beautiful and rich, lived a life consecrated to God and When Decius announced the edicts against Christians she was brought before the magistrate Quinctianus who tried to profit by Agatha's sanctity.
He planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her for her beliefs.
she refused his advances and was imprisoned in a brothel but she refused to accept customers so she was tortured and even had her breasts cut off then after further torture she was then rolled on live coals she was later comforted by a vision of St. Peter when she was near to death then an earthquake stuck and Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died.

In the cemetery of St. John in Syracuse, Sicily an early inscription to Lucia has recently been discovered.


St Lucia was a virgin martyr and one of the most illustrious figures in the Christian world she was honored in Rome during the 6th century and her relics are preserved in Venice.


Tales of the courageous Lucia of Syracuse were first taken to then pagan land of Sweden by Christian missionaries.
She became known in Sweden as the Lucia Bride and the tales told that the Lucia Bride, dressed in white robes and her head adorned by a crown of light, would take food and drink to the poor early in the morning.


When St. Lucia had her feast day on the shortest day of the year she was known as the queen of light and people believed that she lead the way for the sun to lengthen the days.


On the eve of her feast day People lit "St. Lucy's fires" they would throw incense into the flames and then bath in the smoke
This they believed would protect them against witchcraft, disease, and other evils.

During the reign of King Canute, A thousand years ago decreed that Christmas should last for a month.
Beginning on December 13th, the feast of St. Lucia and ending on January 13th, St. Canute's Day.


The ancient tradition of “star boys” who now often accompanied the Lucia dates back to the time when boys went from door to door playing tricks, singing and begging for money to celebrate the winter solstice.


"A Nocturnal upon St Lucy's Day” was written by John Donne who lived between 1572 and 1631.


Every year the Lucy bride in Stockholm's is crowned by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In Scandinavia the Christmas celebrations begin on St. Lucia Day when each town and village crowns a Lucia on the first Sunday of Advent.
Apart from the religious duties the crowned Lucia must visit hospitals, community centers and nursing homes before Christmas.


Before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar St. Lucia's Day fell on the winter solstice.


On the morning of December 13th, the eldest daughter in the household is dressed in a white dress with a red sash and a wreath with four lighted candles on her head.
She must carry a breakfast of coffee, gingerbread cookies and sun-colored saffron buns to her parents in their bedroom.
She is followed by her sisters also dressed in white carrying lighted candles and her brothers called "star boys" wearing tall pointed caps.


It is believed that on the eve of St Lucia’s day that miracles occur at the stroke of midnight.
Anyone awake at the midnight hour might hear animals speaking or observe running water turned into wine.


Folklore surrounding St Lucia suggests that unfinished tasks should be completed by St Lucia’s day such as the grain from the year's harvest should be threshed and all spinning, weaving, cleaning and decorating.


In preparation for Christmas farmers slaughter the Christmas pig on St. Lucy's Day.


The Victor Rydberg poem, "Tomten," is always read at the Lucia Fest of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.


St Lucia of Syracuse is the patron saint of authors, blind people, blindness, cutlers, dysentery, eye disease, eye problems, fire, glaziers, hemorrhages, laborers, martyrs, notaries
Peasants, peddlers Perugia Italy, saddlers, salesmen, servant girls
Stained glass workers, scribes, Syracuse Sicily, tailors, throat infections, virgins,
Weavers and writers.


On St. Lucy's Day any activity involving turning motions are forbidden, including spinning, stirring, and working a grindstone as these circular motions might interfere with the return of the sun.


St Lucy is represented by cord, eyes on a dish, lamp, swords, and as a woman hitched to a yoke of oxen
She is also represented as a woman in the company of Saint Agatha, or Saint Agnes of Rome, Barbara, Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Thecla and finally as woman kneeling before the tomb of Saint Agatha.


Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, Lycia modern day Turkey.
He was from a wealthy family and was known for his Generosity to the poor and a special protector of the innocent and the wronged.
He has spawned many stories such as giving three bags of gold to prevent a poor man from having to sell his three daughters into slavery or prostitution.
Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming Santa Claus. Some examples:
He is also purported to have raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and then pickled in a barrel of brine to conceal the foul crime.
He Induced thieves to return their plunder and during a voyage to the Holy Lands when a fierce storm blew up which threatened the ship He prayed to calm the storm.
He died in 346 AD at Myra and his relics are held in Bari.


St Nicholas is represented by 3 balls, an anchor, a ship, a bishop with 3 children in a tub at his feet or 3 golden balls on a book.
He is also represented as a bishop calming a storm, 3 bags of gold, a bishop holding 3 balls, a bishop holding 3 bags of gold or a bishop with 3 children.


Drake's Island lies in Plymouth Sound, just south of Millbay Docks.
there was once a chapel on the Island that was originally dedicated to Saint Michael and the island was originally named as St Michael’s Island and that is how it first appears in the records when, it was transferred from the Valletort family to the Priory at Plympton in 1135.
The chapel was re-dedicated, to Saint Nicholas, who is the patron saint of sailors at a date unknown.
In 1549 the chapel was demolished in order to build Hoe fort the Island.
Then in 1583 Sir Francis Drake was made Governor of the Island at a time when ownership of the Island passed from Plymouth to the state.
After this the island ceased to be St Nicholas Island and has ever since been known as Drakes Island.


There is an island off the coast of California used as a research and observation facility by NASA.


St Nicholas is the patron saint of pawn brokers and outside of a pawn brokers you will see the symbol of three gold balls which are representations of the three bags of gold.
He gave to the poor father to save his daughters from prostitution.


St Nicholas of Myra is the patron saint against imprisonment, against robberies and robbers he is also patron of apothecaries, bakers, barrel makers, boatmen, boot blacks, boys, brewers, brides, captives, children, coopers, dock workers, druggists and fishermen.
Also the patron saint of Greece, the Greek Catholic Church in America, the Greek Catholic Union, grooms, judges, and lawsuits lost unjustly, longshoremen, Lorraine, maidens, mariners, merchants, murderers, newlyweds, old maids, parish clerks and paupers.
As well as pawnbrokers, perfumeries, perfumers, pharmacists, pilgrims, poor people, Portsmouth England, prisoners, Russia, sailors, scholars, schoolchildren, shoe shiners, Sicily, spinsters, students, thieves, travelers, unmarried girls and watermen


The site of the Eudocian basilica, erected to honor St Thomas, was identified some twenty years ago, and a new edifice has been erected on the old foundations by the Dominican Fathers.


St Stephen the Martyr is the patron saint of casket makers, coffin makers, deacons, headaches, horses, masons, diocese of Owensboro Kentucky and stone masons


St Stephen is represented as a deacon carrying a pile of rocks, as a deacon with rocks gathered in his vestments or as a deacon with rocks on his head.
He is also represented as a deacon with rocks or a book at hand, by stones or by a palm.


St. Stephen was one of the first seven deacons selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members of the community.
The Apostles appointed the deacons as they were Dissatisfied with the distribution of alms from the community's fund.
Stephen's life prior to his appointment is something of a mystery in is believed as his name is Greek that he was a Hellenist, which means he was a Jew who had been born in a foreign land and his native tongue was Greek.
However it is believed that the Aramaic form of the name Stephen, Kelil was inscribed on a slab found in his tomb which may indicate that was his original name.
Other evidence suggests that Stephen was not a proselyte (a stranger, a comer to Palestine or a sojourner in the land) in fact Nicolas is the only one of the seven referred to as such indicating that the other six were Jews by birth.
It is unclear under what circumstances he became a Christian but he was obviously suited to his calling in order that the apostles should select him.
He spent much of his ministry as deacon among the Hellenist converts which is where he came into conflict meeting opposition from the synagogues of the "Libertines" the “Cyrenians, the “Alexandrians”, and those from Cilicia and Asia.
He was regarded as a good character and as a man of good reputation, a man full of faith, and full of grace and fortitude.
A great speaker capable of causing the most vehement opponent to doubt his own convictions.
It was after such an incident when cavilers of the various synagogues, Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilician’s and Asian’s, had challenged Stephen to a dispute.
after Stephen had defeated all their arguments and twisted their own words back them the cavilers came out with the pride wounded and with such hatred in there hearts they bore false witnesses against him claiming to have heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and God.
The ancients and the scribes had long been waiting for a chance to stop Stephens preaching and had him arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin.
He was accused of many blasphemies his clever words now fired back at him like arrows each wounding him.
Finally he said: "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God"
No other words could have angered the mob more they violently set upon him and dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death in 33 AD.
Stephen's funeral was a large affair and many made great mourning over him.
However for centuries the location of St. Stephen's tomb was lost until in 415 AD a priest named Lucian learned by revelation that the sacred body was in Caphar Gamala, some distance to the north of Jerusalem.
St Stephens’s relics were then exhumed and carried first to the church of Mount Sion and then, in 460AD, to the basilica erected by Eudocia on the spot where, according to tradition, the stoning had taken place outside the Damascus Gate.


St. Thomas Island is part of the group that makes up the Virgin Islands.
It was first sighted by Columbus on his second westward voyage in 1493 and although he did not land it was Columbus who named them Las Virgenes.
It wasn’t until 150 years later that the Danish flag was planted on St. Thomas and it eventually became part of Danish West Indies.
The island was populated with Slaves imported from Africa to work on the large number of sugar plantations and the islands wealth grew.
But the prosperity of the island dwindled After Denmark abolished slavery in 1848.
The Danish West Indies came under threat of German expansion during World War I so America purchased the islands which became the American Virgins in March 1917 and in 1927 the islands residents were granted United States citizenship.
Even though the islands have there own Governor and a locally elected legislature residents cannot vote in the Presidential election despite being United States taxpayers.


The symbol of St Thomas is the builder's square, which comes from an ancient story that built a palace for King Guduphara in India.


There is still a large native population on Malabar Coast in India who call themselves "Christians of St. Thomas."


St Thomas is simply represented by either a spear or a t-square.


In England on St Thomas day, poor women and children went from door to door "a-Thomassing".
They would beg for the ingredients or “goodenings” for a Christmas feast, such as wheat for frumenty and flour for Yule bread.


St. Thomas is sometimes called Didymus the Twin or the Apostle of India or more often Doubting Thomas, he was a Jew and a carpenter and was one of the original twelve disciples chosen by Christ to preach his Gospels He was a dedicated follower of Christ even Ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem.
when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit his sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately rallied his fellow disciples to go with Him on the trip which involved because of the mounting hostility of the authorities certain danger and possible death.
when Christ told His Apostles At the Last Supper, that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way it was Thomas who said “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" and Christ assured them with the beautiful assurance that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus came to them after the Resurrection. And on his Thomas’s return he refused to believe what had happened.
He continued to doubt the Resurrection until Eight days later he was allowed to touch Christ's wounds when The Lord came a second time.
Thomas was gently rebuked for his skepticism and then exclaimed: "My Lord and My God," thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus.
Thomas was also present at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus when a miraculous catch of fish occurred at Lake Tiberius.
After Pentecost the Apostles dispersed and Thomas was sent to evangelize and he preached to the Parthians, Medes, and Persians he formed many parishes and churches along the way and he eventually reached India, spreading the gospels as far as the Malabar Coast.
While in India he was stabbed to death with a spear around 72 AD at a place called Calamine.
Since the fourth century the celebration of the transference of his body to Edessa in Mesopotamia has been commemorated on his feast day on July 3rd.


St Thomas the Apostle is the patron saint against doubt and of architects,
blind people, builders, carpenters, construction workers, Ceylon East Indies, geometricians, India, masons, Pakistan, people in doubt, Sri Lanka, stone masons, stonecutters and theologians.


Although July 3rd has been the feast day for St Thomas for many centuries December 21st was given as a feast day to Thomas for no significant historical reason through out the Middle Ages undoubtedly to divert attention from the pagan rites associated with the day.


Frumenty is a traditional Christmas meal from the middle ages made princibly from Kibbled or cracked wheat admittedly this dish was more popular amongst the have not’s than the have’s.


Christmas in Ethiopia is known as Ganna and as the orthodox Ethiopian church uses the old Julian calendar and is celebrated on January 7th.
The most spiritual place experience a traditional Ganna is in Lalibela, which was built by King Lalibela in the 12th century as Ethiopia's own Jerusalem.
Pilgrims travel for days to attend colorful Ganna ceremonies in one of the thirteen ancient churches carved from solid volcanic rock.
In the rest of the country and particularly in the capital Addis Adaba the celebration takes place in modern churches that are designed in three concentric circles.
Men and boys have to sit separately from the girls and the women and the choir sings from the outside circle.
As the People enter the churches they receive candles and after lighting them everyone walks around the church three times.
Once people take their places they then stand throughout the mass, which can last as long as three hours


Injera is a traditional Ethiopian Christmas dish which is a type of bread in the form of a sourdough pancake.
The main meal is Doro Wat, which is a spicy chicken stew, served in beautifully decorated Baskets, with which the Injera serves as both plate and fork when it is used to scoop up the Wat.


In an Ethiopian Christmas gift giving plays a very small part in the festivities.
Ethiopian Children will receive a present but it is something very simple and is more often or not an item of clothing.


On Christmas Eve the city of Lalibela In Ethiopia is packed with pilgrims from the four corners of the country.
They spend the whole night outside praying and chanting and then on Christmas morning they form into a colorful procession which is led by Three young men, lashing whips left and right as it makes its way to a nearby hilltop where a special service takes place.
The congregation is fed with bread and wine blessed by priests then when the service is over the remainder of the day is spent feasting, dancing and playing or watching sport.


Ganna is the name for an Ethiopian Christmas but the name originated as a form of hockey with sticks and ball which the shepherds played while awaiting news of the savior’s birth.
The game of Ganna is still played today and forms a big part of the christmas day festivities


Lucina is celebrated as the Sun goddess in Sweden but is in fact a combination of Norse goddess Freyr and the Christian martyr St Lucia. Young girls dress up to represent Lucina by wearing white gowns and on their heads evergreen wreaths with candles in them. The lighted candles, eight in all, supposedly represent the equinoxes, solstices and the points in between.
The young Lucina girls give out cookies on the streets at dawn to celebrate Lucina'sact of sharing food with the needy.


10oz Kibbled wheat
5 Cups water
1/3 Cup beef stock
1/3 Cup milk
2 Egg’s
Pinch Dried saffron threads
I tsp Salt

Boil the kibbled wheat for about 15 minutes in the water until softened once the wheat is softened remove from the heat and stand until the water is absorbed.
When the water has been absorbed add the milk and the beef stock and return to the boil.
Reduce heat and Simmer stirring the mixture for about 5 minutes.
Separated the eggs and Stir in the yolks only then add the salt and saffron then continue stirring until the egg starts to thicken then Remove from the heat
Allow to stand for approximately 5 minutes before serving.


2 pks Dry yeast¼ cup Water (warmed)1 pint Milk1 cup Shortening1 cup Granulated sugar1 tsp Salt2 Eggs (beaten)2 tbs Ground cardamom7 cups Flour (sieved)2 cup Candied fruit (floured)

Cream the shortening, sugar and salt together then add the cardamom and the beaten eggs.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water the Scald the milk until lukewarm then combine the lukewarm and the softened yeast.
Then Blend in 3 cups flour beating until smooth Add the creamed shortening mixture and the remaining flour mixing until smooth.
Make dough that can be handled add 1 more cup of flour if necessary, then Add the candied fruit then knead well.
Allow to rise until it has doubled in size.
Turn out the dough onto a well floured board and shape into loaves the dough should make three good sized loaves. Bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour.


3 cups Flour
1/2 cup Brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Butter
3 Eggs
4 tbs Milk
1/2 cup Light molasses
2 tbs Dark molasses
2 tbs Ground ginger
2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking soda

Combine all the dry ingredients, except for the baking soda, in a large mixing bowl.
Put 3 tablespoons of milk into a large saucepan along with the butter and the light and dark molasses and Melt together over a low heat.
Beat the eggs and add them and the dry mixture to the melted ingredients and mix together.
Dissolve the baking soda in the remaining milk and then add to the other mixture.
Pour the mixture onto a greased 10-inch baking tin.
Bake for 45-50 minutes in a preheated oven (375F).


In Austria St. Nicholas, is honored throughout the land and It is said that as a reward for his generosity God allowed him to return to earth each year to bring gifts to all the good children of the world.

Christmas Stuff


Pantomime is a traditional Christmas and New Year entertainment unique and peculiar to the British theatre.
Pantomime origins can be traced back to the 16th and 17th century Italian improvised comic drama called the Commedia Dell'arte.
Punch and Judy, Harlequinade and the French tradition of mime also have there origins in the commedia Dell’arte.
With its roots deep in the harlequin tradition of the 18th century combined with the music hall burlesque of the 19th forged what we know today as pantomime where an actress always plays the part of principal boy and an actor always plays the dame.
The Pantomimes used traditional fairy tales like Mother Goose Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood in which they wove into the story political satire, parodies of popular figures and slapstick thus providing something for everyone.
The great thing about Panto is that it is the one part of British culture which refuses to embrace Political Correctness, thank god.
By the end of every Panto virtue is rewarded, love conquers all, good defeats evil and everyone lives happily ever after.


Sometimes when you least expect it life can really slap you in the face and then it kicks you when your on the ground.
The slap came when Jackie Melville was taken ill in January last year and needed surgery.
Her husband Bob had a steady job and they even had limited medical insurance and although they had to pay the difference Bob knew he could cover it by putting in some overtime.
Then came the first kick, in February with two thousand dollars in medical bills unpaid, Bob lost his job.
In April Another kick, with the medical bills still unpaid and Bob unemployed and Jackie unable to work for several months because of the surgery and with mounting bills and no money for rent they lost the house.
Bob, Jackie, 9 year old son Sam and seven year old twins Ben and Josh moved into a mobile home in a trailer park.
Over The following seven months the Melville’s worked hard to rebuild there lives.
In June Bob found another job and although not as well paid as the one he lost it seemed to be more secure and In July Jackie fully recovered was able to return to work herself.
The boys did their bit as well by washing cars, cleaning windows and doing odd jobs on the park.
By December they had managed to pay off their debts and even had a bit left over for Christmas.
They were doing so well that in another six months they would be able to move back into a house.
Then on the 20th December life kicked them again.
During the night the electric heater in the mobile home burst into flames and rapidly spread.
The alarm was raised by Clinton Avery, a shift worker and one of the other residents of the park who was returning home when he saw the burning trailer.
Thankfully everyone was rescued safely but the Melville’s lost everything all that remained after fireman Billy Daly had doused the fire were a few scraps of melted toys half-burned books and scorched and tattered clothing.
They had lost everything to fire, smoke and water, including all the childrens clothes and the Christmas presents.
How cruel for a family who had worked so hard to get back on there feet to be dealt such a blow.
This would be bad enough at anytime but just before Christmas compounded the cruelty.
But it is under the very circumstances experienced by the Melville’s that brings the best out in people.
That night the family were boarded in various homes on the park and the next day they had a visit from a man called Howard Daly.
Howard was the brother Billy Daly, one of the firemen, and he gave Bob and Jackie the key to a mobile home on the park belonging to him which he wasn’t using and he said that they were welcome to stay as long as it took to get back on their feet.
The Melville’s were overcome with Howard’s generosity but that was only the beginning in the space of a day-and-a-half, friends, family and strangers helped the family get back on track.
The pharmacist at the drugstore refused to accept Jackie’s money for the twin’s asthma medication.
In fact nobody would accept any money and people just kept on donating goods.
One man, he wouldn’t give his name, pulled up at the trailer park in his pick up, unloaded some bunk beds and he said "I had these at home, and I heard you needed them more than me," got back in his truck and left.
Pat Phillips who was a teacher at the local School, and knew the family drove Jackie from place to place to collect medications, clothes, dishes and such like.
Come christmas day the boys had some toys including a race track, a football and a baseball glove.
Due to The generosity of friends and strangers alike the Melville’s were able to enjoy their christmas and look forward to hopeful new year just five days after they thought their Christmas dreams had burned away.
This story goes to prove without any shadow of doubt that the Christmas spirit truly dwells within the hearts of mankind.


Many of the Pantomime plots we see today were based on traditional folk tales such as Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood.
These stories were collected and retold by the French writer Charles Perrault and they were published in 1697 in a book called 'Mother Goose's Fairy Tales'.


On December 21, 1068 Apollo 8 was launched with Frank Borman as the commander, James A. Lovell, the command module pilot and William A. Anders the lunar module pilot.
After establishing Earth orbit Apollo 8 was set on a trajectory toward the moon.
On Christmas Eve Apollo 8 began orbiting the moon during the lunar orbits Broadcasts were made back to earth and Christmas greeting were exchanged.
After completing ten lunar orbits they left the moon being and headed back towards earth.
They returned safely to Earth on 27th December 1968.


When I was a kid and it came time for the “oldies” to open their presents I was always amazed by the fuss they would make about the wrapping paper.
They would first admire it then they would caress it tenderly and then they would gingerly begin to unwrap the gift.
Once unwrapped they would first set aside the gift while they carefully folded the wrapping paper so it could be used again the following year then they would examine the gift.
This ritual would be repeated with each subsequent present and would be performed by all.
I can only think that this was as a result of having been through the hard times.
The depression of the thirties, the shortages of the war years and the austerity of the fifties.
My mum would go through the whole ritual and would carefully tuck her pile of wrapping paper, Bows and ribbons away in the sideboard draw “Ready for next year”.
Come the next year and the fabulous treasures which had been so thoughtfully secreted away were no where to be seen only new wrapping paper, Bows and ribbons.
So I think to myself sanity has been restored this year it will be about the presents not what they were wrapped in.
But no, on christmas day it’s the same thing all over again.


The world is split into two distinct groups those who reuse the wrapping paper and those who don’t.
My mum was a recycler so was my grandma as for myself I am a shredder, which means I rip the paper to shreds.
It’s a technique I learned when I was six years old and I still do it now I’m forty eight.


Meet the kids was a TV program in the 1960’s broadcast live from a Children’s hospital on Christmas morning.
It was hosted by well known comedian Lesley Crowther who went from bed to handing out presents and chatting to the sick children.
He would also do lighthearted interviews with various members of staff but the show was principally about the children.
The whole show lasted little more than half an hour and it would normally end with a choir of nurses singing carols arround the Christmas tree.
It was Heart warming stuff but probably deemed to be to twee for sophisticated 21st century audiences.


Noel's Christmas Presents was hosted by Noel Edmonds and ended in 1999 after eleven years.
The basic premise of the shows was Noel rewarding special people with special Christmas presents tailored to the individual.
The people qualified by either overcoming or dealing with great adversity in there own lives or those who gave up there own time and dedicated themselves to the needs of others.
The presents were many and varied from flying a spitfire to a visit to Santa.
It was broadcast on christmas day after the Queen’s speech and was guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat to all but the hard hearted.


It was Christmas Eve almost twenty years ago when paramedics Harry Tyler and Yvonne Hughes had to resuscitate a six month old baby boy who’d stopped breathing at its home in Chertsey.
It was touch and go for a while but all ended happily and Every Christmas since the day the baby's mother has delivered Sweets and Chocolates to the Ambulance station where the two paramedics worked.
These gestures of gratitude are not uncommon though it is unusual for them to continue for 20 years.


A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that “decking the halls” at Christmas can be dangerous. The report stated that an estimated 17,465 people were treated in American hospital E.R’s between 2000 and 2003 for falls related to putting up Christmas decorations.


About ten years ago an Ambulance responded to a call in a restaurant in Warwickshire after a 56 year old man was reported to have suffered a heart attack.
When the paramedic arrived they assumed the man was a customer and quickly set to work and revived the man and took him to the hospital.
When the man duly recovered it transpired that he was not a customer at the restaurant but the owner and to show his gratitude he invited a group of thirty hospital and ambulance staff to his restaurant for a grand meal.


For those who are visiting from another planet the Good Life, Written by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey was about a man who on reaching his fortieth birthday decides to give up the rat race and become self sufficient.
The man having the mid life crisis is Tom Good played by Richard Briers who with the help and support of his long suffering wife Barbara, Felicity Kendal turns his detached Surbiton home into an urban farm.
This doesn't go down too well with their good friends and neighbours, Jerry Leadbetter played by Paul Eddington and his snooty wife Margot, Penelope Keith.
The Christmas episode, Silly, But It's Fun, first broadcast 26th December 1977 is in my opinion the funniest Christmas sitcom ever made.
Most Christmas sitcoms highlight the most negative aspects of the day creating a kind of nightmarish microcosm of family life at Christmas.
The good life was the story of contrasts with the Good’s making the best of the resources they had while the Leadbetter’s just bought the best of everything and lots of it.
It “ Silly, But It's Fun” Margo ordered christmas to be delivered from Harrods on Christmas eve but refused delivery when the tree was six inches shorter than the one she had ordered.
As she rejected the tree she also rejected everything else including Jerry’s gin under the impression that Harrods would redeliver Christmas including a tree of the requisite height for her later that day.
She was sadly mistaken and on Christmas day she had to phone arround canceling all their Christmas engagements under the pretext that Jerry has Chicken pox.
Jerry was unperturbed at having political chicken pox but horrified when he discovered that there was no more gin.
Enter the Goods who save the day by inviting the Leadbetter’s to there house for the day and a good time was had by all.
They all got plastered on pea pod burgundy and played silly games.
The moral of the tale being that you can’t buy Christmas you have to make it yourself.


Cinnamon is a popular spice used in many Christmas favorites but it isn’t just a simple flavoring spice.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of a small Southeast Asian evergreen tree and
It is one of the oldest remedies in traditional Chinese medicine, prescribed for a number of complaints such as diarrhea, chills, influenza and intestinal worms.


The next time you’re whining on about what a crap christmas you had because your mother in law over did it on the sherry and told everyone what she really thinks about you or when your wife’s uncle Stan spent christmas afternoon asleep on the sofa breaking wind with monotonous regularity.
Or your brothers new girlfriend who kept hitting on your wife or your Gran who said “just a small dinner for me I don’t have much of an appetite” then spent the afternoon eating all the chocolate Brazils.
If this strikes a cord think again and Spare a thought for the half a million or so men of the allied forces and six hundred thousand Germans who spent christmas 1944 outside in the snow in the Ardennes forest during the battle of the bulge.
Men like My father sheltering in foxholes scratched out of the frozen earth with no hot food or drink.
Unable to light fires for fear of giving their position away and regularly coming under enemy fire or being shelled
Then once you’ve hewn out a decent sized foxhole and settled down into it out of the icy wind an order comes down the line to move out and you move a hundred yards or less and dig another hole.
Go and tell your petty gripe's to them and see if you get any sympathy.


Several years ago in a small town in Pennsylvania a paramedic responded to help a motorist who had suffered a heart attack.
When he arrived on scene he noticed a man in a Santa suit directing traffic around the area of the incident.
He later discovered it was a firefighter who had been playing Santa at a children's party and came upon the accident on his way home.


There is a perception that more suicides occur at Christmas time than at any other time of the year.
However recent studies seem to indicate that the opposite is true.
It would seem the gathering of friends and relatives at Christmas combined with the greater availability of community resources for those in need, may serve to protect people vulnerable to suicide


In the Christmas tradition of the Scandinavian countries are a variety of Christmas gnomes responsible for the gift giving and one of them is called Julenisse.And the Children in Scandinavia wait for a little bearded gnome called Julenisse to put presents under the Christmas tree in the night.
The children must leave a bowl of porridge out for this jolly bringer of gifts with a sack on his back who rides a sleigh drawn by a reindeer.
If the children forget to put out the porridge he plays tricks on them.


The Scandinavian’s are among many who claim to the Yule log tradition as their own.
Because of dark cold winters traditions concerned with warmth and light abounded.
Yuletide which means "the turning of the sun" was celebrated at the winter solstice and has long been a time of extreme importance to the Scandinavians.
Originally the Yule log was a whole tree carefully selected and with great ceremony was brought into the house.
One end was placed in the hearth and the rest of the tree stuck out into the room and was slowly fed into the fire timed to perfection to last the entire Yuletide season.


One interesting and long held Scandinavian Christmas tradition was the belief that it was considered dangerous to sleep alone on Christmas Eve.
As a result the extended family and the servants would sleep together on a freshly prepared bed of straw.


Christmas Common is a village situated near Watlington in Oxfordshire.
The Christmas common woods are owned jointly by the National Trust and the Forestry Commission.
Combining Woodland and chalk grassland the area offers excellent views of the surrounding countryside such as Watlington Hill and the woods of Lower Dean and Shotridge also Fire Wood, Queen Wood, Watlington Park, College Wood, Pyrton Hill, Howe Wood and Greenfield Copse.

Christmas Pie is not as the name might suggest a Christmas delicacy but is in fact an entertainment originating from the tradition of the mummers play’s and is performed in the church.
It has evolved over many years and now includes poetry and prose, religious readings, short sketches and seasonal music to become very much like the Christingle services.


Located some 2600km north-west of Perth, Western Australia Christmas Island is a mere dot in the Indian Ocean.
Its closest neighbor is Java; 360km away However Christmas Island is an Australian Territory.
Christmas Island was for centuries protected by its isolation and rugged coasts.
The island was first included on British and Dutch navigational charts from the early seventeenth century but it was the Captain of the East India Ship Company vessel the Royal Mary, William Mynors, who named the island after he arrived on Christmas Day 1643.
It was phosphate mining which first brought prosperity to the island in 1891 which continued right up until the Japanese occupied the island during the Second World War.
Then After World War II Christmas Island came under the jurisdiction of the new Colony of Singapore until in 1957 when the Australian government acquired Christmas Island from the Singapore Government for a compensation of 2.9 million pounds.
The island was a Crown colony until its transfer to Australia was finalized on 1st October 1958.
In 1980, a National Park was declared in the Egeria Point area. The National Park now covers over 65% of the island.
Although phosphate mining continues in a small way and the authorities have flirted with gambling as an attraction the islands main source of prosperity now is tourism.
Christmas Island is a natural paradise with its national park containing species of flora & fauna found nowhere else in the world.
The vivid Red Crab for example inhabiting the forest floor and the Myriads of tropical fish swimming in the coastal waters or further out the spinner dolphins or the majestic whale shark.
Now in the 21st century The Island has been chosen as a suitable site for a space satellite launching station the decision will be made shortly.


Christmas Hill is situated in the Silverton Hills of Oregon where you will find the Christmas Hill tree farm which perhaps naturally specializes in the production of conifers grown commercially for the Christmas tree market.


Christmas Hill Park is near Gilroy, California and boasts a large amphitheatre and an extensive network of paved and dirt trails for bikes and walkers alike.


1lb Pork sausage meat
1 pk Sage and onion stuffing
4oz Grated Swiss cheese
4oz Grated Cheddar
1 pk Ready made pastry (enough for two 9"pie dishes)
6 Eggs
1/2 Chopped onion
1 Chopped red/green pepper
Mix sausage meat and stuffing then cook.
When the sausage meat has cooled crumble it and add both cheeses.
Divide the mixture into the pre-prepared pie dishes.
Lightly beat the eggs then add the onion and peppers and pour onto the top of the meat filling.
Bake for one hour in a preheated oven at 200°.
(Check the pie is done by inserting a knife into the center and if it comes out clean it’s done)
Stand for five minutes before serving.


Christmas Pie is a small hamlet between the villages of Normandy and Wanborough in Surrey.
Quite how the hamlet of Christmas Pie, got its name has been a puzzle for many generations.
17th century maps show a Christmas Farm and in an article in an addition of the Surrey Advertiser it stated there was once a Pie Farm.
Another story tells of a farmer whose name was Christmas, which was a fairly common name in West Surrey at the time.
The story tells that the man, who had a large family and no prospects of feeding them through the festive season went into the wood and trapped rabbits and other small game which his wife cooked into a pie and thus the name was coined.
If that tale is too far fetched for you another theory is that it takes its name from the popular Christmas pie church festivities.
The only flaw in this theory being that as Christmas Pie is a hamlet it has no church and never has done.
As there is documentary evidence of a Christmas farm and a Pie farm I think the most likely origin of the name is that at some point after the 17th century the two farms merged for what ever reason and became Christmas pie farm which in time became Christmas Pie.


Charles Pathé was a French photographer and in 1909 He was the first to present newsreels as a regular attraction at a theater in Paris the following year in 1910 he introduced the newsreel to the United States.
He was born on Christmas day 1863 in Paris and died on Christmas day 1957 in Monte Carlo.


The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is located in the District of Saanich, near the city of Victoria, Canada.
It is an oasis of natural beauty Surrounded by the urban sprawl of Victoria and Swan Lake is only minutes from the downtown area.
The Nature Sanctuary consists of two distinct areas with Swan Lake and its surrounding marshy lowlands which provides good habitat for many birds and small animals such as muskrat, river otter and mink and the rocky, oak-forested highlands of Christmas Hill with its majestic view from the hilltop and the meadows blooming with a sea of wildflowers in the springtime.
The lake was formed when the last glacier receded 12,000 years ago but Swan Lake’s current status is due to much more recent events just a few decades ago.
Up until the 1970’s the area was a dumping ground for a mixture of raw sewage, farm waste and chemicals from a local winery.
But due to the clean up which began in the 70's the area is a rich habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Christmas Stuff

Christingle has its origins in Eastern Europe and The Christingle Service is a Service of candle lights where very many years agopeople gathered in the street, sang carols and collected gifts to help theless fortunate in the community.

It is a beautiful candle light service of hymns, carols, recitationsand bible readings, but Christingle goes beyond a candle light service and it tells a story.A story is told with the symbolic use of the following items:
An orange representing the world.
A red ribbon tied around the orange to symbolize the blood of Jesus shed forhis people.
Tooth picks decorated with dried fruits and sweets are placed at thefour corners of the orange representing all the people of the world.A lighted candle in the center of the orange represents the light ofChrist to the world.


Every year as a token of there gratitude the people of Norway present Britain with a 70 foot christmas tree which stands in Trafalgar square.
However the tree has not always been received in the same spirit as it was given at times the discord has soured the season of goodwill.
In 1960 Westminster City Council wanted to charge the Norwegians for the electricity used to light the tree but thankfully Parliament intervened.
While In 1980 the very same council tried to stop the tradition altogether by refusing to accept the tree in an attempt to save the £5,000 cost.
Good sense again prevailed and now the costs are met by the Greater London Authority.
Other bureaucrats have tried to interfere and spoil Christmas this time from Brussels and they complained about the breaking of import restrictions.
The tree has also over the years suffered physical damage, on a number of occasions from high winds and on one occasion it was attacked with a chain saw by anti war protestors.
In 1987 protesters actually chained themselves to the tree although I don’t know what there cause was.


In the Roman Catholic areas of southern Germany, such as in Bavaria, Sankt Nikolaus still appears with a flowing beard and a bishop's staff.
In preparation of his arrival Houses are given a thorough clean and children shine their shoes or boots.
The children put a letter to St Nicholas along with carrots for his white horse in their shoes and these are left either by the children’s bed or on a window sill. During the night Sankt Nikolaus goes from house to house visiting the children and If they have been good, he fills, shoe or boot with delicious fruits, nuts and sweets
But if they have been bad they may only find potatoes, coal, or twigs.


The Germans love to decorate their homes at Christmas and one of the favorite forms of German decoration is for the window.
The decoration consists of a small wooden frames holding a picture made from colored glass or plastic with an electric candle light behind it.
These lights look very beautiful when viewed from out side at night.


A popular German Christmas decoration is an Adventskranz which consists of a wreath of leaves with four candles.
Advent which means 'coming' is the 4 week period before Christmas and on each Sunday of Advent, another candle is lit.


In Germany Der Weihnachtsmann or Father Christmas brings presents in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve after people return home from church they find the presents under the Christmas tree.
One person in the family will ring a bell and call everyone to come to the room.


In Austria St. Nicholas is the special children's saint and he is honored throughout Austria because It is said that God rewarded Nicholas for his generosity by allowing him to return to earth each year to bring gifts to all the good children.


The nativity scene with the baby Jesus Christ laying in the manger surrounded by Mary, Joseph the shepherds and the wise men has long been a favorite Christmas decoration. It has been used for centuries to bring the story of Christmas alive.
It was Francis of Assisi who instituted the custom of the nativity scene after receiving permission from the pope.
Who was renowned for his love of animals, ,
So at Christmas in 1224 he erected the first nativity scene in a cave outside the town of Greccio in Italy.
It did not resemble the type of scene you might see nowadays it was not a hand crafted nor mass-produced but a live scene.
Parishioners played the parts much as children do in the school nativity plays today.
People would gather to watch the spectacle and Francis stood in front of the manger reciting the appropriate gospel followed by a sermon.


The first Christmas card was printed in England in 1843, for a busy man called Sir Henry Cole.
Because he was such a busy man he wanted to save some of the time he had to spend on his Christmas correspondence.
However his motive was not merely to ease the burden of his letter writing he was also a tremendous advocate of the slowly expanding postal system.
Sir Henry Cole’s first commercial Christmas card sold 1000 copies at one shilling each.
But it was not until the 1860s that card production accelerated with the advent of cheaper printing methods.
Then in 1870 a half penny stamp for sending cards was introduced by the Post Office.


The "Sans Day Carol," is a traditional carol from Cornwall.
The carol focuses on the aspects of the holly's symbolism in the form of the different colored berries.
Red berries represent the blood of Jesus and white berries symbolize his purity.
Green berries represent the cross upon which Christ was crucified and black symbolize his death.


Many of our modern Christmas customs are carried over from pre-Christian celebrations.
Hanging gifts on trees is purported to stem from the ancient Druids tree worship, and the belief that the tree was the giver of all things good.


After the French Revolution and the Monarchy was overthrown the new republican government banned Midnight Mass and as a result the people were denied access to the Church crèches.
Though I support of the revolution The people of Marseilles were not best please with this decision as they were particularly fond of the church Crèche and as the revolutionaries had denied them access to the church they created "public crèches" these were produced by individuals but displayed for all to see.


The original Crèches in Provence date back to the 17th century, when the few bas-reliefs evolved into carved wooden figures.
They were mainly restricted to aristocratic and middle class homes.
The family crèche became even more widespread and some of them contained up to 40 different characters.
Even before decorated Christmas trees became the custom, the crèche already had pride of place in French people’s homes.


Santons are clay figurines that depict the characters of the nativity and were used in church crèches and later in family crèches.
The name Santon comes from the Provencal word "santoùn" or little saint.
The first Santons were modeled in wax by religious orders.
Then later they were made of clay found in the region of Marseilles and Aubagne.
When the French settled on the American continent they took Santons with them and they are an integral part of Christmas in Canada and Louisiana.


The Christmas cactus, native to Brazil, is a popular winter-flowering houseplant.
It has no symbolic or religious connection to Christmas.
The come in a wide variety of colors from red and purple to pink and cream.
Its only reason for being called the Christmas cactus is that it is in flower over the Christmas period.


Eggnog is a tradition that arrived in America from Europe although not in its current form.
In Europe there were many milk and wine punches served at festive times however once in America Rum was used as a substitute for wine.
There seems to be a difference of opinion as to how the Colonial American Milk punch became known as Eggnog.
One theory is that as Rum was commonly known as "grog" and the punch contained Egg the name derived from the description of the drink, "egg-and-grog".
This would have been corrupted to egg'n'grog and then eventually to eggnog.
Another theory claims that the "nog" in eggnog stems from the word "noggin". A noggin being a crude small carved wooden mug often used in low taverns.
So if you have an egg drink in a noggin the drink becomes eggnog.
The final theory is a mixture of the previous two and so claims that eggnog was originally called "egg and grog in a noggin".
They all seem equally unconvincing but without a doubt the jury is still out on the last one I think.
Eggnog is still a popular drink during the holidays today and it’s hard to imagine a Christmas without a cup of the "Eggnog" to spice up a gathering and lend merriment and joy to the proceedings.


The kissing bough was made out of mistletoe, holly, ivy, and any other available evergreens.
It was shaped into a double hoop and had bright streamers flowing from the top and was decorated with apples, pears, ribbons, and lighted candles.
Anyone found under the bough, as with mistletoe, was to be kissed without delay.
The kissing bough was very popular in England but its heyday was before the arrival of the Christmas tree.


4 Large eggs
2 floz. Jamaica Rum
8 oz. Granulated Sugar
8 floz. Un skimmed Milk
8 floz. Single Cream
1 pint Whiskey

Separate the eggs and then beat the yolks and whites separately before pouring them into a bowl together.
Add other ingredients and mix well then pour into a suitable container for serving.
Keep Refrigerated until ready to serve and sprinkle with nutmeg.


In medieval England the Lord of Misrule played a major part in the Christmas festivities.
He led the many holiday activities and wielded real power even over the King.
The Lord of Misrule was appointed by the King and his nobles to reign for the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The chosen man was usually had wisdom enough not to abuse his position of power when dealing with the nobility and when instructing the mummers, a traveling band of rowdy players, whom h controlled out on the streets.
Much of the custom surrounding the Lord of Misrule and the Mummers had parallels with the Roman Saturnalia, during which masters and slaves changed places, with general rowdiness abounding.
The Mummers were a rowdy traveling band of players who roamed the streets in costume performing plays, songs and generally doing as the Lord of Misrule bad them.
While mainly being restricted to the streets they would at times burst into churches and disrupt services and generally carouse arround.
They would perform classic Mummer's plays and like carolers, would often perform in exchange for Christmas goodies.
When the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell came to power, they banned the Lord of Misrule and the Mummers.
Although the monarchy restored many of the Christmas traditions outlawed by Cromwell, the Lord of Misrule and the Mummers remained outlawed and never again enjoyed the freedom and popularity they had in medieval England.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION December 8TH has been observed as a Roman Catholic feast in commemoration of the Immaculate Conception since1854.
It was in that year that Pope Pius IX made an official declaration that the term "Immaculate Conception" refers to neither the conception of Jesus nor to a virgin birth.
Pope Pius IX further decreed the term "Immaculate Conception" refers to a specific doctrine of Roman Catholicism decreeing that the Virgin Mary was preserved free from original sin by divine grace from the moment of her conception.


In the Roman Empire on the great day of December 25th, came the Brumalia or festival of the shortest day. A day of great religious significance for the sun-worshipers.
This day was also known as Natalis Solus Invicti or the "Birth of the Unconquerable Sun"
This was the time when the day began again to lengthen.
in the fifth century the Western Church ordered Christmas to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol.


Saturnalia was a period of the year that was one of great festivity for the pagan Romans.
The four day celebration of Saturnalia began on December 17th with the feast of the god Saturn, the Roman deity of seed and sowing.
"The Roman Saturnalia was characterized by processions, singing, lighting candles, adorning houses with laurels and green trees, giving presents."
Many of these have passed into modern day Christmas celebrations.
A major part of the pagan Saturnalia festival was ritual turning everything upside-down which abolished for a short while the distinction of ranks, a reversal of all order and dignities where slaves were served by masters, soldiers served by there officers, a tradition which is still carried out today in the British armed forces.


A major part of the Romans pagan Saturnalia festival, the ritual turning everything upside-down and the temporary loss of the distinction of ranks, a reversal of all order and dignities where slaves were served by masters, soldiers served by there officers passed on into the British Christmas celebrations.
It was probable a remnant of the roman culture left behind when the great empire first shrunk and then fell.
The custom was carried out to great lengths at Christmastime in England during the middle Ages.
It was customary to appoint a "Lord of Misrule" or an "Abbot of Unreason" or even the 'Lord of Merry Disport' who presided over the blasphemous foolery and this appointment was normally made by a significant noble.
However in England an 'Abbot of Misrule' was chosen in every large household though in Scotland it was an 'Abbot of Unreason'.
During the thankfully short term of the festival he was the master of the house.
The church hierarchy frowned upon this Blasphemy but had to put a brave face on it.
Church leaders would certainly not approve of the fact that it was quite customary even for the clergy to indulge in the paganism.
Thankfully the early Puritans who witnessed the jolly antics of the grotesque fools abolished the practise, the only good thing they ever did, and when the puritans lost their power the practise was never revived.
There is still a tradition within the British Armed forces and the Metropolitan Police service where the lower ranks are served Christmas dinner by the officers but that is all that survives.


January 5th or twelfth night marks the climax of the Christmas season.
The twelve days of Christmas are counted from December 25th until twelfth night.
The season of Christmas begins with the first Sunday of Advent and concludes with Epiphany.
The period between christmas day and epiphany is referred to as Christmastide.
Epiphany usually shares the white and gold, colors of Christmas denoting celebration, newness, and hope.
but epiphany has a much more significant meaning to the Christian as it marks the time when the magi were the first gentiles to acknowledge Jesus as "king" and this act of worship by the magi,
Was a message to the world that Jesus came for all people, of all nations, of all races, and of all faiths.


Gluhwein is a traditional German mulled wine served containing cloves to warm against the bitter winter days.
It is traditionally served at the many German outdoor Christmas markets to keep the customers warm and full of Christmas cheer.


Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6th, twelve days after Christmas and is the last day of the Christmas season.
Three Kings Day or Día de los Reyes is Also known as The Epiphany, the Christian celebration commemorating the Biblical story of the three kings Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar who followed the star of Bethlehem to bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child.
Traditionally in Spanish speaking countries, Three Kings Day is the time for gift-giving, rather than Christmas day.
In some regions it IS customary for children to leave their shoes out on the night of January 5 hoping the Three Kings will be generous, the children’s shoes will often be filled with hay for the Kings camels.
When the Spanish children wake on January 6 they find the hay has gone and their shoes are filled with toys and gifts.


1 bottle red wine
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
Orange and lemon peel

With the exception of the wine boil all ingredients together and reduce the volume by half.
Remove from the heat Strain and then add the Wine.
Return to the heat bringing the mixture to the boil but not boiling.
Remove from the heat and Serve hot.


2 pints of water8oz sugarhalf a bottle of rumhalf a bottle portthe juice and rind of 3 lemons
1 sliced apple
1 sliced orange
grated nutmegInstructions:
Add the sugar and lemon rind to the water in a saucepan and boil. Remove from the heat and when cool strain before adding the rum, port and lemon juice.
Decant into large a pre-warmed punch bowl and float the sliced apple and orange on the top and finally sprinkle with nutmeg.


Most brewers will produce a robust and full bodied winter ale in time for the Christmas festivities.
It will be called Winter Warmer, Christmas ale, Winter ale or any combination of all the above.
In the 21st century when all the bars are stocked with many and various insipid imported lagers and the infamous Alco pops I just hope the brewers continue producing the traditional Christmas tipple.