4. Putting a wreath on the door
During the Roman rule, the emperor persecuted people who practiced other religions and celebrations, including Christmas. In this season, the Romans celebrated the Festival of Saturnia, their own religious holiday. During this festival of the Roman god Saturn, traditionally a holly wreath was given as a gift. As a hidden message to other Christians in the region, Christians would hang these wreaths on doors to signal that Christmas was being celebrated in their homes.
5. Christmas Carols were meant to ward off evil
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
Christmas carols are an essential part of Christmas today, whether you play it on a device or sing a symphony to bring in the Christmas cheer. However, caroling, known as wassailing in the past, were originally meant to scare away ghosts and evil spirits. Wassailing meant on the 12th day of Christmas, a procession would visit the orchard and sing happy songs to the trees to protect them from ghosts and evil spirits and ensure a good harvest.
6. Gingerbread Houses
Making gingerbread houses have become a tradition since the publication of Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm. So despite how cute these tiny houses decorated with candies may appear now, they are not made for a happy gingerbread family. The original gingerbread house was made by a witch who just wanted to cook and eat children.
7. Mistletoe doesn’t mean what you think
Mistletoes are hung above doorways for kissing and sharing the love. The tradition started during the times of the ancient Druids and it is supposed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. According to Norse mythology, it is a sign of friendship and love and this has resulted in the tradition of kissing under the Mistletoe.
However, the term Mistletoe was derived from the Anglo Saxon words “Mistel” and “Tan”. Mistel means dung and Tan means stick or twig. So roughly translated, Mistletoe means “poo on a stick”. Isn’t that romantic?
8. Gryla and the Yule Cat
According to Icelandic Christmas folklore, Gryla is a giant ogre who comes out of her cave during Christmas time. She hunts for children, kidnaps them, takes them back to her cave and cooks them in a stew. She has a number of minions, namely her 13 reckless troll children called Yule Lads and the Yule Cat monster called Jólakötturinn.
The Yule Cat is a terrifying mythical creature who roams in the dark lanes of towns and peers into the windows of children to abduct them if they didn’t receive any new clothes for Christmas.
Celebrate a traditional Christmas
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” Bill Vaughan
Christmas is a time for embracing traditions, no matter how weird or creepy they might be. Despite these scary backstories, Christmas remains the most favorite holiday of the year across the globe. It can be a wonderful time filled with joy and happiness when you spend the holidays with your loved ones sharing the Christmas spirit of love, faith and cheer with everyone.