Traditions & folklore
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12
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Aside from mistletoe and Christmas trees, which other pagan traditions do we still observe over Christmas?

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James Medd
Author of The Book of Christmas (Ebury Press, £9.99) and numerous books on...  · 2 декабря 2016
Christmas itself is a pagan tradition, which has been given a Christian makeover. For thousand of years we’ve celebrated the Winter Solstice, which occurs on or around 21 December. It’s the time when the sun reaches its most southerly point in the sky and the daylight hours are at their... Читать далее
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Christmas+2
< 100

Is the Nativity really just a fairy story?

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Ian Gittins
Dr. Mark Hocknull, Canon Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral and Visiting Senior...  · 15 декабря 2016
Only two Gospels actually have the Nativity story: Matthew and Luke. John starts right at the beginning of time – "In the beginning was the Word" – and in Mark, Jesus first appears as an adult, being baptized. Those early Christian writers all locate the start of Jesus’s life in... Читать далее
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Christmas+2
207

Does the modern depiction of Santa really come from a Coca-Cola advert?

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James Medd
Author of The Book of Christmas (Ebury Press, £9.99) and numerous books on...  · 7 декабря 2016
No. This is an urban myth. What is true is that Santa Claus, to give him his American name, was depicted in Coca-Cola adverts in the 1930s wearing his regulation red and white outfit, which is of course the colour of the Coke trademark. However, Santa Claus had been wearing those... Читать далее
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Christmas+4
< 100

What are the best things about being Armenian?

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Anna Walker
English philology at University of Latvia.  · 13 апреля 2017
1. Armenians are everywhere Yes, we are. There are huge Armenian communities all over the globe; Asia, Europe, America and even Africa. That is why we can go to almost every country without worrying about anything, because if Armenians are there, you will soon find out that it’s your... Читать далее
Culture+2
< 100

Did Charles Dickens really "invent" Christmas?

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Andrew Emery
Author of 'Dickens and Popular Entertainment' and the recent ‘Simply Dickens’...  · 5 декабря 2016
The quick answer is 'no'. Christmas obviously goes back centuries and what had happened was that during the Puritan revolution in the seventeenth century, the movement went away from rituals and celebrations and sense of enjoyment that had been part of the old Catholic tradition to a... Читать далее
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Literature+3
< 100

Is the Dutch Christmas tradition of ‘Black Peter’ basically racist?

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James Medd
Author of The Book of Christmas (Ebury Press, £9.99) and numerous books on...  · 12 декабря 2016
Each November, Sinterklaas, who is the Dutch version of Father Christmas, sails from Spain to the Netherlands. He’s accompanied on his journey by lots of helpers dressed up as Black Peter, or Zwarte Piet, with black faces and fuzzy wigs, and often red lipstick and earrings. Then, at the... Читать далее
History+3
< 100

Why do Austrians celebrate Christmas with a child-tormenting goat-demon called Krampus?

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James Medd

Author of The Book of Christmas (Ebury Press, £9.99) and numerous books on...  · 2 декабря 2016
Krampus is the counterpart to the kindly St Nicholas, who is a figure of Europe folklore who arrives on the 6 December and rewards good children by leaving presents in their shoes. The bad children are punished by the Krampus, who whips them with birch twigs, and, if they've been... Читать далее
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Children+3
< 100

When did we first start sending Christmas cards, and why do we bother in the digital age?

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James Medd
Author of The Book of Christmas (Ebury Press, £9.99) and numerous books on...  · 5 декабря 2016
The first Christmas cards were sent in 1843, which was a very important date in the history of Christmas since it was also the year Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published. The cards were sent by a British businessman and inventor called Henry Cole, who commissioned an... Читать далее
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Christmas+3
< 100

Which old British Christmas traditions have we lost?

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James Medd
Author of The Book of Christmas (Ebury Press, £9.99) and numerous books on...  · 13 декабря 2016
Quite a few Christmas traditions from medieval times have been lost – some of them probably better forgotten.  No one misses the tradition of Hunting the Wren, which involved men and boys catching and killing a pair of wrens on Boxing Day, putting them in a box and parading them around... Читать далее
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Britain+2
< 100

Is there any truth in the idea that certain animals can accurately predict the weather?

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Martin Aston
Meteorologist, founder of British Weather Services, former Fleet Air Arm meteoro...  · 14 декабря 2016
The idea that a cow can predict the weather, and lies down when it’s going to rain, is rubbish, just an old wives’ tale. Sheep crowd together because it’s cold, not because it’s going to rain tomorrow. Rain often arrives when it starts to get warmer, not colder. Rather than prediction... Читать далее
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Science+4
< 100