Regardless whether you are from Sao Paulo or Stockholm, on the street are +40°C or -20°C, during this festive time all of us enjoy the happy traditions brought to us from long ago.
When you think of Christmas you definitely remember the gifts or dinner with family on christmas eve and all the other good things that this time has to offer. But like it or not, there is another important part of the traditions that we never forget – Santa Claus. We all visualize that white-bearded man dressed in red, riding a sleigh driven by reindeers, because this is the image that most of us have grown to see during all this years. But the story that started all Santa Claus or Father Christmas tradition is much more distant that you have ever imagined.
It all started in Mira, a city in Turkey, where lived a bishop named Nicholas. The story that marks the first acknowledgement of his good deeds was the story of a poor widowed father with three grown daughters who could not marry because they had no dowry. One night, Nicholas decided to down a purse of gold through the poor father’s fireplace and this way helping the first daughter to marry. So it followed with the second child as well until the father was too curious to know who was helping him so he waited several nights to see. On the third time, Nicholas was caught off guard by the man, who expressed his gratitude for all he had done for his daughters. The bishop, however, was not happy with what happened and asked the man never to share that story. But the bishop’s wish was not granted and past few months the whole town knew about Nicholas. Obviously there were many who praised all the good that has been done and there was hope of goodness in the air. However, during the reign of Emperor Diocletian his actions were condemed and Nicholas was sentenced to prison where he died on 6 December 352. Stil alive Nicholas was beatified and since then, all year on December 6 in many countries of eastern and northern Europe Saint Nicholas secretly distributes gifts to those who deserved them.
The curiosity of this story is that our current Santa Claus is inspired precisely in St.Nicholas that, unlike the urban myth that has been created over the past years, weares red clothes not because it is the same color of Coca Cola brand, but comes still from the early first millennium when the traditional color of bishops robes was precisely red as St.Nicholas used to wear.
When it comes to Christmas tree, long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people. Just as today we decorate our homes during the festive season with pine trees, ancient peoples hung evergreens over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreen plants would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and disease. In the northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year coincides with the 21st or 22nd of December and it is called of winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god was sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to feel better and green branches were part of the celebrations because they ressambled all green plants that would grow again when the sun stayed strong again.
But it is to Germany that is credited the first Christmas tree tradition as we know it today. It is a widespread belief that it was Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer from sixteenth century, that on his way home on a winter night was impressed by the shining stars twinkling amidst the pinetrees. To recreate the scene for his family, he located a tree in the main room and decorated its branches with a string of lighted candles. This tradition has become increasingly popularized and in the late nineteenth century the decorations for the Christmas tree were already sold internationally.
And have you ever wondered why the New Year starts on 1st of January and not, for example, on March 1st or December 1st or on June 22nd? Well, here you have the answer. The very first celebrations of the end and the beginning of new year started in Mesopotamia, present Iraq, where the concept of celebrating the new year was introduced still in 2000 BC. But it were the Romans who by dedicating the first day of new year to Janus, the pagan god of doors and new beginnings and to which the first month of the year, January, was so dedicated. The pagan deity was described as a being with two faces: one looking forward and the other facing the rear, suggesting that the New Year celebrations are still a pagan tradition. Some indications suggest that the tradition is followed since 153 BC and the beginning of the year coincides precisely with January because it was so defined by Julio Cesar, who was the first to create a logical calendar. As an evidence to this is the current difference between some celebrations of international holidays such as Christmas, Easter and many others, which compared the latest Georgian calendar, which is currently followed by most of catholic countries including Portugal, the Julian calendar, still existing and followed in Eastern Europe, Asia, Balkans and also in Spain, has a two-week difference.
We hope that the small things we describe here about the situations we face daily will glad you day. Both Sincerely, Eco as our partners the online shop Ecoced and pest control company CED wish you to redo your dreams that have not been realized yet in this one and believe that you can achieve anything. Greet this year with a smile for it to be charming and prosperous for you.
Keep on Eco.