The holy and joyous occasion of Christmas is once again upon us. Every year, millions of people all over the world celebrate the festival acknowledging the birth of Lord Jesus. Well, we all love Christmas but how much we know about the day anyway? Here are 24 merry facts about Christmas.
26. Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer who is generally illustrated as the lead reindeer pulling Santa’s wagon during Christmas was actually created by the Montgomery Ward department store in 1939.
25. The image of Santa’s high flying wagon was first portrayed by Washington Irving in his version of the book ‘A History of New York’ in 1812.
24. In contrast to 25 December when Christmas is celebrated in most of the world, Armenia celebrates the birth of Jesus along with the Feast of Epiphany on 6th January. A similar system is also followed by Russia, Ukrain and Bosnia and Herzegovina (due to the Julian calendar).
23. Written by James Lord Pierpont in 1857, the popular Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was not actually intended for Christmas. Originally it was supposed to be a Thanksgiving song and was only associated with Christmas several decades after it was first performed. Who knew?
22. According to the Guinness book of world records, “White Christmas” written by the legendary American composer Irving Berlin and performed by Bing Crosby in 1942 sold about 50 million copies worldwide. It’s still considered the best selling singles in the music industry.
21. Do you know why British people greet each other during Christmas by saying “Happy Christmas” and not Merry Christmas? This is due to the fact that in 19th century Britain, the word merry meant ‘intoxicated’ and as sophisticated as they are, Britishers always avoid using such words
20. In the United States, all letters addressed to Santa Claus is delivered to a small town in Indiana state. According to the locals, the only post office situated in that town receives more than 20,000 letters every year, from all over the country. In Canada, Santa Claus has his own postal code H0H 0H0, which was formulated after the Montreal post office started receiving more than a million letters each year addressed to Santa.
19. One of the first artificial Christmas tree was produced by a British company named Addis Housewares. To make this tree they used the brush bristles, the same element which is used to create toilet brushes. Today, modern trees are manufactured from PVC or polyvinyl chloride material, while fiber-optic illuminated and aluminum Christmas trees are also used.
18. Christmas was illegal for about 12 years in England starting from 1647 and in the United States from 1660. The ban on Christmas in the United States only lifted around 1836, when the state of Alabama became the first to legalize the festival statewide. Then in 1870, it was declared a federal holiday.
17. In the midst of the World War I in 1914, a short but effective truce was mutually agreed between the soldiers of Great Britain and Germany. The occasion was Christmas, when the two side exchanged gifts and played a friendly game of football in no man’s land.
16. Since 1918, people in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada have traditionally sent Christmas trees to Boston, United States to show their gratitude for Boston’s humanitarian assistance after the events of Halifax Explosion.
Boston Christmas Tree
15. The modern-day Santa Claus is actually a fusion of historical figures from different cultures. Roman Empire’s Saint Nicholas, British Father Christmas and Dutch and Belgian figure of Sinterklaas.
14. The traditional Christmas ham is actually a part of an ancient Germanic Pagan tradition.
13. Back in 2010, the Columbian special forces used military helicopters to decorate a nearly 85-foot tree with lights in the remote Macarena mountains. Those lights were fitted with motion sensors, to detect the movement of FARC guerrillas nearby to lit up at their presence along with banners.
The banners read ‘everything is possible in Christmas, demobilize. If Christmas can come to the jungle, you can come home too’. As a result, nearly 2,500 fighters surrendered under the scheme.
12. In Germany, many animal zoos use discarded Christmas trees as fodder to feed a variety of animals from elephants to polar bears. These trees are traditionally rich in vitamins and have other essential nutrients. However, this practice is now threatened due to the high dose of fertilizers and chemicals used in these trees.
11. Paul McCartney’s 1979 song “Wonderful Christmastime” is considered as an all time great. It is estimated that even today, he makes near half a million dollars each year on royalties. By this figure, we can say that McCartney has received approximately $15 million from this song only, ever since its initial release.
10. You can call it a part of a bizarre tradition – almost half of Sweden’s population watches a 1958 Walt Disney production “From All of Us to All of You” every year since 1960.
9. From “Winter Wonderland”, “Chestnuts roasting” to “I am Dreaming of a white Christmas” almost every popular Christmas songs are written by Jewish writers.
8.. During the Second World War, a US-based card company ‘bicycle’ initiated a joint task with the American and British agencies to develop a unique type of card deck that will help war POW to escape prisons in Germany. The deck was engineered in such a manner that a top-secret map will stay hidden between two layers of paper until it’s soaked in water. After getting wet, the card can be peeled apart to reveal the secret map of an escape route.
7. According to the calculations done by Tom Chivers of Telegraph, Santa Claus has to travel at the speed of around 2,8797 km/s to reach each and every child in the world on the Christmas eve, after assuming that he has about 510,000,000 km to cover in 36 hours. It would also take a super advance gift guidance system which will shoot gifts at a pinpoint accuracy at that speed down to chimneys.
6. Christmas is also a festival of passing each other gratitude. Like the Nova Scotia, Trafalgar Square in Oslo also sends their Christmas tree every year to Britain to show their appreciation of British support during the World War II.
Image Courtesy: Diliff
5. From 16th to the 19th century, the Earth witnessed a period of low solar activity, which lead to below average temperatures during the winter. This is probably the main reason why many Christmas songs emphasized on “White Christmas.”
4. Have you ever wondered why Christmas is almost always abbreviated as X-mas? The X is the Greek letter “chi”, abbreviation for English letter “Christ.”
3. During the World War, German Nazi’s unsuccessfully tried to convert Christmas, where people would celebrate the rise of Hitler, with Santa replaced by Odin the “Solstice Man” and a swastika on top of Christmas trees.
2. Do you like KFC? Maybe you do, but not more than the Japanese. In Japan, it’s a popular custom to eat the Christmas dinner at a KFC restaurant. This tradition initially started during the Christmas Eve of 1974, when KFC Japan started to promote their fried chicken as a specialized meal for Christmas.
— 竹本タクシー (@taketakumusic) December 25, 2016
1. Out of all other festivities, Christmas has perhaps the biggest commercial impact in almost all nations, worldwide. During the entire month of December, total sales of goods in almost every sector increase spontaneously. In the United States, the retail industry generates over $3 trillion in sales during holiday sessons.