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Happy Christmas

Holly, Robin & Mistletoe

[As I search for an audio feed of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, I thought I would re-run this post as a follow on to the recipe.]

The British have some wonderful Christmas customs that have survived the incursion of Christianity, especially the Puritan party poopers. Stealing customs from the Celts, Germans, and Scandinavians, they have created a wonderful holiday that I fondly remember from time spent there.

The bird is a European robin that is featured on British Christmas cards, as it is a Winter bird in England, unlike the fair-weather laggard of the same name in America. It is bracketed by holly and mistletoe. All go back to the druids and solstice celebrations.

If you read the Harry Potter books you will get a taste, but not the full effect of a British Christmas. A full-on Christmas dinner is wretched excess to the nth degree – Thanksgiving on steroids. Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria were major influences on the American celebration of Christmas.

The BBC has the background on Father Christmas.

7 comments

1 Rook { 12.24.09 at 9:38 pm }

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Bryan! May the blessings you receive in the coming year exceed the blessing of last.
.-= last blog ..Merry Christmas =-.

2 Bryan { 12.24.09 at 9:53 pm }

Stay warm, Rook, as it looks like you are going to get a “traditional” Christmas in spades.

If what we got in rain is any indication, y’all could get two or three feet of snow.

3 LadyMin { 12.25.09 at 12:43 am }

We’re having quite a wet Christmas this year. It’s been rain/sleet/ice for the past few days. And more rain to come. This is not normal for Chicago. If this amount of rain were snow we’d need a yard stick to measure it!

You’re right about those American Robins… not a single one to be found Saturday when I was at the Audubon Christmas bird count. The Northern Cardinals, however, were out in the snow and ice looking splendid.

Merry Christmas everyone. And don’t eat too much. 🙂
.-= last blog ..Merry Christmas =-.

4 Bryan { 12.25.09 at 12:56 am }

Merry Christmas, Lady Min.

We broke the all time record for the month of December more than a week ago, and had another couple of inches today.

Cardinals are wonderful splashes of color during a dreary time. While they appear among the green down here, they are still stunning.

5 Rook { 12.25.09 at 7:52 am }

So, I woke up at 6:30 AM only to discover it is full on raining here in the Great North.

I am just shaking my head and drinking my coffee.

Merry Christmas!
.-= last blog ..No Thieving Today =-.

6 Bryan { 12.25.09 at 11:54 am }

That sucks, because there is definitely some cold air behind the rain, which means a transition to sleet and then snow. Not a lot of fun to clear, or drive on.

Stay warm, and enjoy the day.

7 Bryan { 12.26.09 at 12:58 pm }

Well CO2 is better than CH4, and many of the storms are the result of changes to ocean currents which will probably result in nasty winters for the British Isles, that’s why it is more accurately known as climate change, rather than simply warming.

It would be nice if something was put in orbit to monitor the Atlantic, as we have lost one of out best tools which wasn’t replaced, as scheduled, by the Republicans.

Regardless, I glad you had a fulfilling holiday.