Anniversary

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8 years ago I married my best friend. We have been together for 14 years and cemented our love with vows of love forever.

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Mark and I married at St Cuthberts church in Thetford, Norfolk. A horrible, dark and gloomy church that I hate but Mark absolutely loves. It is the same church that he was christened in.

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I was so very ill that day. Ill enough that the smartest thing to do was to postpone the whole event and my family were horrified that I was dragging myself to that church no matter what!So with ahundred different medications keeping me going and many hands holding me up I went to get married.

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It was the best day of my life and I regret nothing. (I do wish I had more memories of the day and that we hadn’t left so early. We were married at 3pm and I left the reception at 7pm.)

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We plan to renew our vows in a much simpler ceremony on our tenth year anniversary.

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My new puppy Vida and a big sorry to readers.

So you all know I’ve been waiting for my puppy Vida to come home. Well she’s here!!
I’m going to be concentrating mainly on her for the next week or so, helping her settle in.
I am still writing. I know there has been a long wait for book two, Ebha’s story but there is something I just don’t like so I’m trying to redo a bit in the middle and then make sure it stills flows with the rest of the book.
I would never release it until it’s right so I’m sorry but you are going to have to wait a bit longer

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My beautiful girl came from the fantastic breeders Tracey and Andy at Honiahaka.

http://www.honiahaka-northern-inuits.com/

Faith, Religion, Christianity And Jesus

I am not a religious person.

That does not mean I am ignorant nor do I have no knowledge of various religions and beliefs. And no it doesn’t mean I have no beliefs of my own only that what I do have fits into no other religions or has parts of many others.

But religion plays an important part in the world and probably none as much as Christianity. It is at this time of the year, with Christmas upon us that religion is often times forgotten in the midst of Snata and presents and turkey……

So, I must point out that I’m not trying to be offensive in any way. If I do offend then I’m sorry. However I have always prided myself on the fact that I am willing to listen to all viewpoints and all I ask is the same courtesy back.

 

Now I went to church every Sunday. I went to Girls Brigade, bible study and even spent weeks of the summer vacation in a church led club. I feel I have earned the right to an opinion here.

I always had two major problems with religion. There are many problems that I’ve had but two MAJOR ones.

The first was and always will be that no religion approves of murder, in fact they all consider it a sin of some kind. A sensless waste of human life that God/Gods have created.

My second was always the portrayel of Jesus Christ. Where did this pretty, delicately featured image of a pale skinned, slightly effeminate brown haired man come from? We know from where and when he was born that he would certainly be darker skinned and he would be ‘work roughened’. There would have been no easy gentle upbringing, he would have worked hard and have the callouses etc to show for it.

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So the fact that a new image has come to life, a more realistic image is great.

Forensic anthropologist and medical artist Richard Neave used computer tomography, analyzing three skulls from archaeological sites in Jerusalem. To determine the color of his skin and hair, scientists studied drawings from the same time period. The result was a man with dark skin and eyes, short curly hair, a broad nose and a beard. These features, scientists say, are what a first century Jewish man would have looked like. Scientists are calling this the most accurate image of Jesus they’ve ever seen.

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I agree.

 

And if I’m going to hell anyway for my blasphemous thoughts then let me put another thought out there… why is it so hard to believe in the possibility of Jesus having married Mary Magdalene? Ge a grip people, he was a man. In a time when marriage and children were important The idea that he was some virginal man is ridiculous.

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So now I’ve riled up Christians i’ll wish you a merry christmas and be done with it!!!

 

 

By the way I have no doubts in the presence of Jesus. I just don’t believe he is the son of a God but I see no reason why he couldn’t of been a talented healer and speaker. Let’s remember that for a long time sneezes were considered a way of dispelling demons from the body… Modern medicine was at one point considered miraculous!

 

Christmas

Christmas (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning “Christ’s Mass”) is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.
Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated culturally by a large number of non-Christian people, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.
The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins.
Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly.

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“Christmas” is a compound word originating in the term “Christ’s Mass”. It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131. Crīst (genitive Crīstes) is from Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), a translation of Hebrew and mæsse is from Latin missa, the celebration of the Eucharist. The form “Christenmas” was also historically used, but is now considered archaic and dialectal; it derives from Middle English Cristenmasse, literally “Christian mass”.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary as a fulfillment of the Old Testament’s Messianic prophecy. The Bible contains two accounts which describe the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Depending on one’s perspective, these accounts either differ from each other or tell two versions of the same story. These biblical accounts are found in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.
According to popular tradition, the birth took place in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. A manger (that is, a feeding trough) is mentioned in Luke 2:7, where it states Mary “wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” ; and “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” . Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. Popular tradition also holds that three kings or wise men (named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar) visited the infant Jesus in the manger, though this does not strictly follow the biblical account. The Gospel of Matthew instead describes a visit by an unspecified number of magi, or astrologers, sometime after Jesus was born while the family was living in a house (Matthew 2:11), who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the young child Jesus.
In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses.

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The modern portrayal of Santa Claus frequently depicts him listening to the Christmas wishes of children.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply “Santa”, is an important figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins who, in many Western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children on 24 December, the night before Christmas Day. However, in some European countries children receive their presents on St. Nicholas’ Day, either the 6th or 19th of December.

eada580fd85a968f6bc39fe3c1efbf4dSanta Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children. Images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache.This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children’s books and films.
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Empire, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In continental Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Germany) he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes.
The remains of Saint Nicholas are in Italy. In 1087, the Italian city of Bari mounted an expedition to locate the tomb of the Saint. The reliquary of St. Nicholas was conquered by Italian sailors and his relics were taken to Bari where they are kept to this day. A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout. Sailors from Bari collected just half of Nicholas’ skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave. These were collected by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and taken to Venice, where a church to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the San Nicolò al Lido. This tradition was confirmed in two important scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which revealed that the relics in the two Italian cities belong to the same skeleton. Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers, sailors, and children to pawnbrokers.
He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Moscow.
During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of 6 December, children were bestowed gifts in his honour. This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24 and 25 December. So Saint Nicholas changed to Santa Claus.

Prior to Christianization, the Germanic peoples (including the British) celebrated a midwinter event called Yule (Old English geola or guili).
With the Christianization of Germanic Europe, numerous traditions were absorbed from Yuletide celebrations into modern Christmas. During this period, supernatural and ghostly occurrences were said to increase in frequency, such as the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky. The leader of the wild hunt is frequently attested as the god Odin and he bears the Old Norse names Jólnir, meaning “yule figure” and the name Langbarðr, meaning “long-beard”
The god Odin’s role during the Yuletide period has been theorized as having influenced concepts of St. Nicholas in a variety of facets, including his long white beard and his gray horse for nightly rides, which was traded for reindeer in North America.

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Father Christmas dates back as far as 16th century in England during the reign of Henry VIII, when he was pictured as a large man in green or scarlet robes lined with fur. He typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, bringing peace, joy, good food and wine and revelry. As England no longer kept the feast day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December, the Father Christmas celebration was moved to 25 December to coincide with Christmas Day. The Victorian revival of Christmas included Father Christmas as the emblem of ‘good cheer’. His physical appearance was variable, with one famous image being John Leech’s illustration of the “Ghost of Christmas Present” in Charles Dickens’s festive classic A Christmas Carol (1843), as a great genial man in a green coat lined with fur who takes Scrooge through the bustling streets of London on the current Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace.
The tradition of Santa Claus entering dwellings through the chimney is shared by many European seasonal gift-givers.
In pre-Christian Norse tradition, Odin would often enter through chimneys and fire holes on the solstice. In the Italian Befana tradition, the gift-giving witch is perpetually covered with soot from her trips down the chimneys of children’s homes. In the tale of Saint Nicholas, the saint tossed coins through a window, and, in a later version of the tale, down a chimney when he finds the window locked. In Dutch artist Jan Steen’s painting, The Feast of Saint Nicholas, adults and toddlers are glancing up a chimney with amazement on their faces while other children play with their toys. The hearth was held sacred in primitive belief as a source of beneficence, and popular belief had elves and fairies bringing gifts to the house through this portal. Santa’s entrance into homes on Christmas Eve via the chimney was made part of tradition through the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” where the author described him as an elf.
Children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies; in Britain and Australia, he is sometimes given sherry or beer, and mince pies instead. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it is common for children to leave him rice porridge with cinnamon sugar instead.
Santa Claus’s home traditionally includes a residence and a workshop where he creates—often with the aid of elves or other supernatural beings—the gifts he delivers to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop.
Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters normally contain a wishlist of toys and assertions of good behavior.
Many postal services allow children to send letters to Santa Claus. These letters may be answered by postal workers and/or outside volunteers.
A letter to Santa is often a child’s first experience of correspondence. Written and sent with the help of a parent or teacher, children learn about the structure of a letter, salutations, and the use of an address and postcode.
Santa lives on the North Pole, which according to Canada Post lies within Canadian jurisdiction in postal code H0H 0H0 (a reference to “ho ho ho”, Santa’s notable saying, although postal codes starting with H are usually reserved for the island of Montreal in Québec). On 23 December 2008, Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, formally awarded Canadian citizenship status to Santa Claus. “The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete,” Kenney said in an official statement.

 

A Christmas card is a greeting card sent as part of the traditional celebration of Christmas in order to convey between people a range of sentiments related to the Christmas and holiday season. Christmas cards are usually exchanged during the weeks preceding Christmas Day by many people (including non-Christians) in Western society and in Asia. The traditional greeting reads “wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”. There are innumerable variations on this greeting, many cards expressing more religious sentiment, or containing a poem, prayer, Christmas song lyrics or Biblical verse; others stay away from religion with an all-inclusive “Season’s greetings”.
The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or have Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem or a white dove representing both the Holy Spirit and Peace. Many Christmas cards show Christmas traditions, such as seasonal figures (e.g., Santa Claus, snowmen, and reindeer), objects associated with Christmas such as candles, holly, baubles, and Christmas trees, and Christmastime activities such as shopping, caroling, and partying, or other aspects of the season such as the snow and wildlife of the northern winter. Some secular cards depict nostalgic scenes of the past such as crinolined shoppers in 19th century streetscapes; others are humorous, particularly in depicting the antics of Santa and his elves.

JOHANS~1The world’s first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole in 1843
Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favoring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. Humorous and sentimental images of children and animals were popular, as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials.
The advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned.

Many countries produce official Christmas stamps, which may be brightly colored and depict some aspect of Christmas tradition or a Nativity scene.
Small decorative stickers are also made to seal the back of envelopes, typically showing a trinket or some symbol of Christmas.

 
Quite often the Santa, if and when he is detected to be fake, explains that he is not the real Santa and is helping him at this time of year.
Most young children accept this explanation.
At family parties, Santa is sometimes impersonated by the male head of the household or other adult male family member.
In the United Kingdom, Father Christmas was historically depicted wearing a green cloak. As Father Christmas has been increasingly merged into the image of Santa Claus, that has been changed to the more commonly known red suit. One school in the seaside town of Brighton banned the use of a red suit erroneously believing it was only indicative of the Coca-Cola advertising campaign. School spokesman Sarah James said: “The red-suited Santa was created as a marketing tool by Coca-Cola, it is a symbol of commercialism.” However, Santa had been portrayed in a red suit in the 19th century by Thomas Nast among others.
Christians celebrate Christmas in various ways. In addition to this day being one of the most important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are other devotions and popular traditions.
In some Christian denominations, children re-enact the events of the Nativity with animals to portray the event with more realism or sing carols that reference the event. A long artistic tradition has grown of producing painted depictions of the nativity in art. Nativity scenes are traditionally set in a stable with livestock and include Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in the manger, the three wise men, the shepherds and their sheep, the angels, and the Star of Bethlehem. Some Christians also display a small re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crèche, in their homes, using figurines to portray the key characters of the event. The final preparations for Christmas are made on Christmas Eve, and many families’ major observation of Christmas actually falls in the evening of this day.

In eastern Europe also, old pagan traditions were incorporated into Christmas celebrations, an example being the Koleda, which was incorporated into the Christmas carol.

 

A Christmas carol (also called a noël) is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas, and which is traditionally sung on Christmas itself or during the surrounding holiday season. Christmas carols may be regarded as a subset of the broader category of Christmas music.

In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Christmas “Sequence” or “Prose” was introduced in North European monasteries, developing under Bernard of Clairvaux into a sequence of rhymed stanzas.
In the twelfth century the Parisian monk Adam of St. Victor began to derive music from popular songs, introducing something closer to the traditional Christmas carol.
In the thirteenth century, in France, Germany, and particularly, Italy, under the influence of Francis of Assisi a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed.
Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty five “caroles of Cristemas”, probably sung by groups of ‘wassailers’, who went from house to house. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols begun to be sung in church, and to be specifically associated with Christmas.

Today carols are regularly sung at Christian religious services. Some compositions have words that are clearly not of a religious theme, but are often still referred to as “carols”.

 

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One theory to explain the choice of 25 December for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is that the purpose was to Christianize the pagan festival in Rome of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means “the birthday of the Unconquered Sun”, a festival inaugurated by the Roman emperor Aurelian to celebrate the sun god and celebrated at the winter solstice, 25 December. According to this theory, during the reign of the emperor Constantine, Christian writers assimilated this feast as the birthday of Jesus, associating him with the ‘sun of righteousness’ mentioned in Malachi 4:2.
An explicit expression of this theory appears in an annotation of uncertain date added to a manuscript of a work by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi. The scribe who added it wrote: “It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.” This idea became popular especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In the judgement of the Church of England Liturgical Commission, this view has been seriously challenged by a view based on an old tradition, according to which the date of Christmas was fixed at nine months after 25 March, the date of the vernal equinox, on which the Annunciation was celebrated. This alternative view is considered academically to be “a thoroughly viable hypothesis”, though not certain.

Christmas was promoted in the Christian East as part of the revival of Catholicism following the death of the pro-Arian Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The feast was introduced to Constantinople in 379, and to Antioch in about 380. The feast disappeared after Gregory of Nazianzus resigned as bishop in 381, although it was reintroduced by John Chrysostom in about 400.

In the Early Middle Ages, Christmas Day was overshadowed by Epiphany, which in western Christianity focused on the visit of the magi. But the medieval calendar was dominated by Christmas-related holidays. The forty days before Christmas became the “forty days of St. Martin” (which began on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours), now known as Advent.
In Italy, former Saturnalian traditions were attached to Advent. Around the 12th century, these traditions transferred again to the Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25 – January 5); a time that appears in the liturgical calendars as Christmastide or Twelve Holy Days.
By the High Middle Ages, the holiday had become so prominent that chroniclers routinely noted where various magnates celebrated Christmas. King Richard II of England hosted a Christmas feast in 1377 at which twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep were eaten. The Yule boar was a common feature of medieval Christmas feasts. Caroling also became popular, and was originally a group of dancers who sang. The group was composed of a lead singer and a ring of dancers that provided the chorus. Various writers of the time condemned caroling as lewd, indicating that the unruly traditions of Saturnalia and Yule may have continued in this form. “Misrule”—drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling—was also an important aspect of the festival. In England, gifts were exchanged on New Year’s Day, and there was special Christmas ale.
Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens. Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord. The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, and card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques, and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas night and that the court indulge in games. It was during the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.

In the early 19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration. In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol that helped revive the “spirit” of Christmas and seasonal merriment. Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion.
Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Superimposing his humanitarian vision of the holiday, in what has been termed “Carol Philosophy”, Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit. A prominent phrase from the tale, “Merry Christmas”, was popularized following the appearance of the story. This coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism, which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances.
The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, with “Bah! Humbug!” dismissive of the festive spirit.
In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century following the personal union with the Kingdom of Hanover by Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it. After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became more widespread throughout Britain.

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The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be “decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green”. The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.

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The traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, symbolizing royalty.

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A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas.
The custom of the Christmas tree developed in early modern Germany with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly 15th century, in which devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. It acquired popularity beyond Germany during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.
The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, there are a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the archangel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.
The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of its folkloric origins.
Christmas-Tree1While it is clear that the modern Christmas tree originated during the Renaissance of early modern Germany, there are a number of speculative theories as to its ultimate origin.
It is frequently traced to the symbolism of trees in pre-Christian winter rites, in particular through the story of Donar’s Oak and the popularized story of Saint Boniface and the conversion of the German pagans, in which Saint Boniface cuts down an oak tree that the German pagans worshipped, and replaces it with an evergreen tree, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven.
Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime.”
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On Christmas Day, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services.

A special Christmas family meal is traditionally an important part of the holiday’s celebration, and the food that is served varies greatly from country to country. Some regions, such as Sicily, have special meals for Christmas Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served. In the United Kingdom and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal includes turkey, goose or other large bird, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, sometimes bread and cider. Special desserts are also prepared, such as Christmas pudding, mince pies, fruit cake and Yule log.

christmas pudding with custard --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

christmas pudding with custard — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

Eggnog, , also known as egg milk punch, is a chilled, sweetened, dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
Eggnog with a strong alcohol content keeps well, and is often considered to improve when aged for up to a year.
Eggnog is often provided to guests in a large punch bowl, from which cups of eggnog are ladled.

The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk; eggs were added to some posset recipes. The “nog” part of its name may stem from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol.

eggnog

 

In Poland and other parts of eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish often is used for the traditional main course, but richer meat such as lamb is increasingly served. In Germany, France, and Austria, goose and pork are favored. Beef, ham, and chicken in various recipes are popular throughout the world. The Maltese traditionally serve Imbuljuta tal-Qastan, a chocolate and chestnuts beverage, after Midnight Mass and throughout the Christmas season. Slovaks prepare the traditional Christmas bread potica, bûche de Noël in France, panettone in Italy, and elaborate tarts and cakes. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or candy, and Jamaican rum fruit cake. As one of the few fruits traditionally available to northern countries in winter, oranges have been long associated with special Christmas foods.
Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place in late December and may have influenced Christmas customs. On Christmas, people exchange gifts based on the tradition associated with St. Nicholas, and the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the Magi.

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Sinterklaas or Saint Nicholas, considered by many to be the original Santa Claus.
A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus (derived from the Dutch for Saint Nicholas), Père Noël, and the Weihnachtsmann; Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas; the Christkind; Kris Kringle; Joulupukki; Babbo Natale; Saint Basil; and Father Frost.
The best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus, of diverse origins. The name Santa Claus can be traced back to the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means simply Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek bishop of Myra, a city in the Roman province of Lycia, whose ruins are 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from modern Demre in southwest Turkey. Among other saintly attributes, he was noted for the care of children, generosity, and the giving of gifts. His feast day, December 6, came to be celebrated in many countries with the giving of gifts.
Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared in bishop’s attire, accompanied by helpers, inquiring about the behaviour of children during the past year before deciding whether they deserved a gift or not. By the 13th century, Saint Nicholas was well known in the Netherlands, and the practice of gift-giving in his name spread to other parts of central and southern Europe. At the Reformation in 16th–17th-century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, corrupted in English to Kris Kringle, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.

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Father Christmas, a jolly, well nourished, bearded man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus character. He is first recorded in early 17th century England, but was associated with holiday merrymaking and drunkenness rather than the bringing of gifts. In Victorian Britain, his image was remade to match that of Santa.
The French Père Noël evolved along similar lines, eventually adopting the Santa image. In Italy, Babbo Natale acts as Santa Claus, while La Befana is the bringer of gifts and arrives on the eve of the Epiphany. It is said that La Befana set out to bring the baby Jesus gifts, but got lost along the way. Now, she brings gifts to all children. In some cultures Santa Claus is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter. In other versions, elves make the toys. His wife is referred to as Mrs. Claus.

Christmas Stockings 4

A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that is hung on Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) can fill it with small toys, candy, fruit, coins or other small gifts when he arrives. These small items are often referred to as stocking fillers. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus; in other stories (and in tradition), some presents are also wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture threatens that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a piece of coal. However, coal is rarely if ever left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel.

While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example:
Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after his death. He thought they would become prostitutes. Saint Nicholas was passing through when he heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn’t accept charity. He decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags of gold through an open window, one landed in a stocking. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after.
Other versions of the story say that Saint Nicholas threw the 3 bags of gold directly into the stockings which were hung by the fireplace to dry.
This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so, St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

A tradition that began in a European country originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks, but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. The Christmas stocking custom is derived from the Germanic/Scandinavian figure Odin. According to Phyllis Siefker, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin’s flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir’s food with gifts or candy. This practice, she claims, survived in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization. Today, stores carry a large variety of styles and sizes of Christmas stockings, and Christmas stockings are also a popular homemade craft. This claim is disputed though as there is no records of stocking filling practices related to Odin until there is a merging of St. Nicholas with Odin.
St. Nicholas had an earlier merging with the Grandmother cult in Bari, Italy where the grandmother would put gifts in stockings. This merged St. Nicholas would later travel north and merge with the Odin cults.

Many families create their own Christmas stockings with each family member’s name applied to the stocking so that Santa will know which stocking belongs to which family member.
Christmas-Stocking-3

The largest Christmas stocking measured 51 m 35 cm (168 ft 5.65 in) in length and 21 m 63 cm (70 ft 11.57 in) in width (heel to toe) and was produced by the volunteer emergency services organisation Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Sezioni in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy, on 5 January 2011. The event was organized in order to raise money for a charity helping the aged, one of the group’s key functions, and it was also a seasonal celebration for the city of Carrara. Fulfilling the guideline that the stocking had to be filled with presents, the volunteers filled the stocking with balloons containing sweets inside.

 

Reindeer

 

Santa Claus’s reindeer form an imaginary team of flying reindeer traditionally held to pull the sleigh of Santa Claus and help him deliver Christmas gifts. The commonly cited names of the reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. They are based on those used in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (commonly called “The Night Before Christmas”), which is arguably the basis of reindeer’s popularity as Christmas symbols, and in which Donner and Blitzen were originally called Dunder and Blixem respectively.
The enduring popularity of the Christmas song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has led to Rudolph often joining the list.
The names of Donder and Blitzen derive from Germanic words for thunder and lightning, respectively.

The 1823 poem by Clement C. Moore “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas” or “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) is largely credited for the contemporary Christmas lore that includes the eight flying reindeer and their names.

The relevant segment of the poem reads:
“When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!
“On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!

“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,”

Christmas Tree

Search for the roots of today’s Christmas traditions and you will find your way back to the ancient Celtic festival of Alban Arthuan, held during the Winter Solstice on December 21. One of the principle reasons for the rapid propagation of Christianity throughout Europe during the first millennium was the willingness of Christian leaders to incorporate the rituals, beliefs and customs of other religions. Few of the ancient displaced religions were more assimilated than the Druids, Wiccans and Pagans.

The custom of burning the Yule Log, the Yule-associated tradition that is most familiar to people today, was performed to honor the Great Mother Goddess. The log would be lit on the eve of the solstice, using the remains of the log from the previous year, and would be burned for twelve hours for good luck.

Decorating the Yule tree was also originally a Pagan custom; brightly colored decorations would be hung on the tree, usually a pine, to symbolize the various stellar objects which were of significance to the Pagans – the sun, moon, and stars – and also to represent the souls of those who had died in the previous year. The modern practice of gift giving evolved from the Pagan tradition of hanging gifts on the Yule tree as offerings to the various Pagan Gods and Goddesses.

The Christmas tree is said to have originated in Germany with the decoration of pine trees with fancy ornaments.

However, there are alternate theories that suggest otherwise. In fact, there are many legends about the Christmas tree that led to the widespread belief that the Christmas tree is an essential part of the Christmas season and its celebration. There is the legend of St. Boniface, an English monk, who is said to have saved a child from being sacrificed by pagans. When they were gathered around an oak tree to sacrifice the child, the Saint flattened the tree with one blow of his fist. A small fir sprang up in its place and St. Boniface told the pagans that it was the “tree of life,” and represented the life of Christ.

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The Nordic pagans and the Celtic Druids revered the evergreen tree as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. While other plants and trees died, the evergreen trees remained alive continually; hence, they were revered as manifestations of deity. As a symbol of prosperity, the Druids decorated the evergreen outdoors. It was the Scandinavian pagans who were the pioneers in bringing the decorated trees indoors; and the Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, who were the first to use candles to illuminate the tree. In addition to these pagan rituals, the tree is also linked to the celebration of the Winter Solstice. Pagans would celebrate the Winter Solstice, and as a part of that celebration, they would decorate trees. This celebration represented the end of the long, dark winter days and the beginning of the spring and its connection to life. The triumph over the winter darkness was the reason for the celebration. There are many other theories about the origin of the Christmas tree. Researchers have failed to accurately pinpoint a single origin, but it is correct to state that it evolved from pagan traditions. Understanding how the tree was used in the past will shed light on its meaning in the Christmas celebration. Many Christians unwittingly partake in tree decorating without knowing the cryptic meanings behind the adoration/decorating of a tree. The fact that the evergreen tree was considered in pagan religions to symbolize everlasting life, robs us of the reality of Jesus’ supreme sacrifice that enables us to have true eternal life. The evergreen tree is believed by some pagans to hold continual life, and as such, is commonly used in pagan worship and celebrations.

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, fir or an artificial tree of similiar appearance.

varieties-of-christmas-trees

 

The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the invention of electrification. Today there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, garlands, tinsel and candy canes. An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree normally represents the archangel Gabriel or the star of Bethlehem (from the Nativity).

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The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of it’s folklore.

Although the tradition of decorating the home with evergreens was long established, the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III’s German wife, Charlotte, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. The custom didn’t spread much beyond the royal family to begin with.
Queen Victoria was familiar with them and even as a child had one in her bedroom. after she married Prince Albert (her German cousin) the custom became more widespread as wealthier families began to follow the tradition.

JOHANS~1

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Their use at public entertainments, charity bazaars and in hospitals made them increasingly familiar however, and in 1906 a charity was set up specifically to ensure even poor children in London slums ‘who had never seen a Christmas tree’ would enjoy one that year. In 1933 a restriction on the importation of foreign trees led to Britain growing their own Christmas trees.

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By 2013 the number of trees grown in Britain for the Christmas market was approximately 8 million.

I mean, that’s a lot!!

In some cities, a  festival of trees is organised around the decoration and display of multiple trees as charity events. 

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Pilgrims Progress – Steven Payne – Mid 14th century pilgrimage

What this guy is doing is amazing.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/14thcenturypilgrimsprogress/
Everything is traditional mid 14th century. ALL his clothing, provisions and food.
All of Steven Payne’s clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365.
This is going to be a hard journey but an amazing experience for him.

All of Steven Payne's clothes are made in the same way they would have been in 1365

His aim is to be the first in 500 years to walk the Pilgrims way from Southampton, to the shrine of Becket at Canterbury. He has a letter from the Pope in case anyone objects to him sleeping in their churchyard or porch way.

He has done everything from scratch, crafting what he can himself and sourcing what he can’t make and having it done as close to authentic as possible.
We know he is taking a jar of honey, a box of block salt, an apple shaped box (which he made himself) full of apple and cinnamon leaf ‘tea’. A walnut box of aromatic herbs for bathing, some bags of coin to donate to people in need, a needle case and a case for thread in case the kit needs repair and a round walnut box of beeswax. He even made his own bowls! A larger one made of chestnut which should serve for main meals and a smaller one is just right for using as a maser (drinking bowl).

He received a lot of information on medieval food ‘on the go’ and is planning on taking items such as a heavy fruit loaf almonds, cheese, dried fruit, bread, boiled eggs, salt, cinnamon, dried apple slices, oat cakes and a pork and venison pie. He is also taking some Rochester dark ginger wine which is non-alcoholic.
He is taking a wash kit that will help with hygiene, he really did his research and found so much good and interesting articles and information. His wash kit includes home made olive oil soap, salt for the teeth, a block of deodorising alum, cloves, a boxwood comb and some liquorice root sticks, all on a woollen ‘towel’.
He also made his own  Staff.
The staff is of a particular design, shown in numerous carvings and paintings…….roughly 5′ 6″ to 6′ 6″ tall it had a double ball carved into the shaft. This meant that when carried over the shoulder, a bag of possessions could be tied to the end where the balls would prevent it from slipping off, but equally importantly the double ball acted like a pommel and cross guard, allowing the staff to be used much like a double-handed waster (practice sword) if the Pilgrim should come under attack by robbers or wolves along the way.

On his travels he will be taking a copy of a 14th century Paternoster that he made for a friend in the USA, he will have it blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the practice of carrying an object on behalf of someone who could not make the journey themselves was common in the middle ages, and was endorsed by the Church.

 

12 Days of Christmas

twelve-days-of-christmas

 

The Meanings as said by religion.

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God’s name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of power. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

 

 

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“Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol thought to be French in origin. It is a cumulative song, each verse building on top of the previous verses, enumerating a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. The carol was published in England in 1780 without music. An arrangement for the chant was composed by English composer Frederic Austin in 1909, who first introduced the now familiar prolongation of the verse “five gold rings”.

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree

1

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

2

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

3

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

4

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

5

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

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On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

7

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

8

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

9

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

10

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

11

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

12

The Scottish Crannog Centre

http://www.crannog.co.uk/
1742015 Opening times:
The Centre is open daily from 1st April to 30th October from 10am to 5:30pm; 31st Oct from 10am – 4pm.
In all cases, last full tours are one hour before closing.
Admissions 2015: Adults £8.75; Seniors £8.00; Children £6.50; Families (2+1) from £23.

General Info: The average visiting time is about one and one-half hours. Please allow longer if you are in a group. Car/coach parking is available adjacent to the Centre.
Ours is an outdoor Centre, featuring an ancient timber house. In the interests of comfort and safety, we ask that you wear or bring flat shoes.
Access: Ramps provide disabled access with assistance at the visitor centre but not out to the Crannog. Please contact us to discuss any special needs.

162159171169164

The Scottish Crannog Centre
Kenmore, Loch Tay, Aberfeldy,
Perthshire, PH15 2HY, Scotland.
Tel : 01887 830583
Email : info@crannog.co.uk

Reconstructing a Crannog

How did the ancient people build their crannogs in the water? Our team of underwater archaeologists carried out a unique experiment to find out and re-discovered the secrets of ancient technology.
A crannog is a type of ancient loch-dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland dating from 2,500 years ago. An important part of our heritage, many crannogs were built out in the water as defensive homesteads and represented symbols of power and wealth.

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The Scottish Crannog Centre features a unique reconstruction of an early Iron Age loch-dwelling, built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology (STUA), registered charity no. SCO18418. This authentic recreation is based on the excavation evidence from the 2,500 year old site of ‘Oakbank Crannog’, one of the 18 crannogs preserved in Loch Tay, Scotland. The STUA continues to explore other underwater sites in Loch Tay and further afield, regularly adding new discoveries to its award-winning centre at Kenmore, Perthshire.
Crannogs are a type of ancient loch-dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland, while one has been discovered in Wales in Llangorse Lake. Most are circular structures that seem to have been built as individual homes to accommodate extended families. Other types of loch settlements are also found in Scandinavian countries and throughout Europe.
Crannogs are also known as artificial or modified natural islands and they were as much a product of their environment as the period in which they were constructed.
The authentic crannog reconstruction which forms the focal part of the Scottish Crannog Centre was built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology or STUA. The Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology is a registered charity (number SCO18418) and was formed to promote the research, recording, and preservation of Scotland’s underwater heritage.
The earliest loch-dwelling in Scotland is some 5,000 years old but people built, modified, and re-used crannogs in Scotland up until the 17th century AD. Throughout their long history crannogs served as farmers’ homesteads, status symbols, refuges in times of trouble, hunting and fishing stations, and even holiday residences. Here in Highland Perthshire, the prehistoric crannogs were originally timber-built roundhouses supported on piles or stilts driven into the lochbed.
In more barren environments and in later periods tons of rock were piled onto the lochbed to make an island on which to build a stone house. Today the crannogs appear as tree-covered islands or remain hidden as submerged stony mounds. Several hundred have been discovered so far in Scotland although only a few have been investigated. For a guide book providing more information about Scottish crannogs, contact us at info@crannog.co.uk.

You can look at some of the underwater discoveries in the exhibition which are fascinating; walk over water into the Iron Age on your crannog tour; and test your skills at ancient crafts and technology. In the Spring and Summer, you can also hire one of our dugout canoes, weather permitting. Special events run regularly featuring artists, musicians, skilled craft workers and other specialists who, together with our own team of Iron Age guides, actively bring the past to life for adults and children alike from ages 4+.

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AWARD WINNING In recognition of our dedication to quality, authenticity, and environmental responsibility, the Scottish Crannog Centre’s range of awards includes:

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12 Days of Christmas?

12daysxmassong

 

The popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children with secular origins. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction, perhaps dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Christian Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.

It is certainly possible that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of “substantive evidence,” we probably should not take rigid positions on either side. So, for historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge the likelihood that the song had secular origins.

However, on another level, this should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation.

Whatever you believe there is no denying the popularity of the song or it’s common use in todays society. Over the following days I’ll share a little of the information about the lyrics that I’ve been able to source.

Her Highlander’s Promise – B. J. Scott

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00O2IROIC?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

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Having loved the Fraser brothers, I just HAD to have the book when I saw that B.J.Scott had blessed us with another.
Her Highlander’s Promise is such a sweet tale of love conquers all with just enough excitement, violence, passion and action to maintain another fabulous and loved book.
Now I’ll be honest here, I purchased the book simply because of the author, I didn’t think to like it from the description considering the idea too simple and to ‘tame’.
I hold my hands up and admit I was wrong.
The story starts with a ten year old Laurel burying her father and facing the prospect of life with her controlling aunt, uncle and cousin. A handsome 13 year old that she has not met before gives her a ring and promises to return to wed her.
It continues when Laurel is close to her 18th birthday. We find how she has suffered at the hands of a viscious, highly controlling aunt and a completely uninterested uncle who merely allows his wife to do as she pleases.
Gaining a small amount of freedom, laurel is permitted a quick trip to the village to purchase provisions. There she is startled by a handsome man, it seems that Blair has returned for her!
I don’t want to describe to much as I want you to have the pleasure of the tale unfolding as you read but it’s enough to assure you that their love is not easy and obstacles must be faced and defeated to allow the young couple to come together.
With well developed characters and introductions of many secondary characters that you will just love, B.J.Scott again captivates us.
(I love and am intrigued by the uncle! The returning one as opposed to the weak willed one.)
I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend this author!