Christmas Symbols- What do they mean
I love Christmas. It's my favourite time of year. But where do all my beloved decoration, traditions, food, etc. come from? Explore a brief history and meanings (and some recipes too!) of Christmas traditions.
Pointsettias are from Central America where they are called "Flame Leaf" or "Flower of the Holy Night".
They were brought to America by Dr.Joel Poinsett, the first ambassador to Mexico.
Mexican legend states that a poor girl had no gift for the Virgin Mary statue so she picked flowers by the roadside. When she placed them on the statue, they miraculously turned into poinsettias.
Until the 19th century, Santa arrived by donkey, horse or horse drawn chariot.
Reindeer have amazing strength and can draw a sledge load 12-15 miles and hour.
They are the only transportation for the people of Lapland, a barren region of Scandinavia above the arctic circle.
Reindeer are know by their now famous names from Dr. Clement Moore's famous 1823 poem "Twas' the Night Before Christmas"
Red- The color of greatest excitement. It stands for fire, charity and blood (like people of blood getting together at Christmas).
Green- The color of nature. It stands for youth and hope of eternal life.
White- It stands for light, purity, joy and glory.
Gold- It stands for sunlight and radiance.
Eggnog dates back to the Colonial era. It is customarily made from beaten eggs, spirits and spices.
It is similar to "Lamb's Wool" (English), "Advocaat" (Dutch) and "Eggdosis" (Nowegian).
- 5 cups skim milk:
- 1 small package sugar-free, fat-free vanilla instant pudding mix:
- 6 no-calorie sweetener packets, or Splenda:
- 1 teaspoon imitation rum extract:
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg:
- 1 teaspoon imitation vanilla:
- 1.Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until mixed thoroughly.
- 2. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow eggnog to thicken.
- 3. Top with Cool Whip Free, cinnamon, and use a cinnamon stick as a stirrer (optional)
Gingerbread are usually sweet, spicy cookies, cakes and bread.
The recipe originated in Medieval Europe when ginger was a popular spice.
The gingerbread house originated in Germany, were it plays a prominent role in the "Hansel and Gretel" fairy tale.
Over 100 years ago children longed for sugarplums.
Technically, sugarplums are any candied fruit or candied spices. For example, dried sugared plums, apricots, cherries, ginger, aniseed and caraway seeds.
Tightly covered, these keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.
Serves: about 2 dozen
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds:
- 4 ounces dried figs:
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa:
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon:
- 3 tablespoons honey:
- Grated zest from 1 orange (1 tablespoon) :
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract:
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar:
- In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds to bring out their flavor. Remove from heat; cool.
- Combine the figs, cocoa, cinnamon, and almonds in a food processor, pulsing until peppercorn-size balls form.
- Add the honey, orange zest, and almond extract. Pulse 3 or 4 times more until well mixed.
- Spread the sugar in a shallow dish.
- Form the sugarplums into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar.
The Twelve days of Christmas
aka Christmastide, The Days of Fate, The Nights of Mystery, The Twelve Quiet Days
The Twelve Days of Christmas usually fall between December 25th to January 6th (Christmas/Epiphany).
Lore and custom suggest that ordinary people viewed the time as one in which supernatural forces and spirits roamed the earth.
For example, "The Wild Hunt" was a band of fierce spirits in Northern Europe who rode the stormy night skies during the Twelve Days of Christmas.
In central Europe, it is believed that what happened during the Twelve Days of Christmas was an omen of what would happen during the next 12 months.
The word "wreath" comes from the old Anglo-Saxon verb 'writhan' meaning 'to twist'.
The Bible makes frequent mention of wreaths. They are usually associated with joy, triumph and honor. Their circle shape represents a symbol of eternity