Answer Christmas quiz today!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so warm and inspiring, so beautiful and full of hopes! Zadavaka was mesmerized by the shining of fairy lights and festive decorations in red, green and gold! He decided that this amazing holiday deserves a separate Christmas quiz. He could not do without a bunch of trivia, too, so he prepared an article about the origins and symbols of Christmas. You can start playing now or read the article first – it may contain useful tips for the quiz!
Celebration of Christmas dates back to A.D. 350, when Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25 the official date for the birthday of Christ. The name ‘Christmas’ appeared as a contraction of ‘Christ’s Mass.’ In the Greek language letter ‘X’ is the first letter of Christ’s name, hence the abbreviation Xmas, which has been used since the mid-1500s.
The U.S. adopted the holiday gradually, with Alabama being the first state to recognize it (in 1836) and Oklahoma the last (in 1907). June, 26, 1870 was the day of official recognition of Christmas as a holiday by the U.S.
The central figure of the holiday is Santa Claus. Did you know that Santa was once a real person who lived in the 4 century in Patara (modern-day Turkey)? Better known by the name of St. Nikolas of Myra, he is the most popular non-Biblical saint in the world, portrayed more often than any other saint except Mary. St. Nikolas is the patron saint of banking, butchery, orphans, pirating, royalty, sailing, thievery, and New York City.
The image of modern Santa is a jolly chubby fellow, but early illustrations depict a stern, commanding St. Nikolas with a birch rod to symbolize discipline and punishment.
Each year approximately 20,000 Santas work across the U.S. They are trained to maintain a jolly attitude under the pressure from public. Their training also includes ethical aspects like not taking money from parents when their children can see it and practical one like abstaining from garlic, onions or beans at lunch before their performance.
Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) was reportedly the first person to decorate a Christmas tree. He was so impressed by the beauty of the stars that could be seen between the branches, that he brought the fir tree home and decorated it to share the image with his children. The earliest Christmas tree decorations we have record about were apples. Medieval actors used them to decorate paradise trees (usually fir trees) for the “Paradise Plays” they showed at Christmastime.
It takes an average Christmas tree 15 years to grow.
Approximately 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
The tallest Christmas tree ever cut was 221-foot tall; it was displayed in 1950 in Seattle, Washington.
Those who think it’s inappropriate to cut down a tree just to toss it out a few weeks later buy artificial fir trees for their homes. And did you know that Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of goose feathers dyed green?
Random Christmas trivia:
Traditional colors of Christmas are red, green, and gold, symbolizing the blood of Christ, life and rebirth, and wealth and royalty respectively.
Mistletoe was considered sacred by ancient peoples, because it bears fruit in winter and stays green through the colds. It was believed to have power to cure nervous diseases and infertility.
Poinsettia comes from Mexico and dates back to Aztec times. Its red leaves symbolized purity for the Aztecs and were used to reduce fever. Many people believe poinsettia is poisonous, but in fact it is harmless.
In Poland, one can often see spider and spider web Christmas decorations. For the Polish, spiders symbolize goodness and prosperity; moreover, they are believed to have woven Baby Jesus’ blanket.
People of Bolivia observe “Mass of the Rooster” on Christmas Eve. Some people even bring roosters to the midnight mass, because they believe that a rooster was the first to announce the birth of baby Jesus.
Germans call Christmas Eve ‘Heiligabend’ (Holy Evening) and believe that it is a magical time when those who are pure in heart can understand animals’ speech.
P.S. Norwegian scientists offered a theory according to which Rudolph’s red nose is the result of a respiratory infection.