Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas A to Z Letter F

Welcome Back to Christmas A to Z
F …is for Fudge, Frankincense and Father Christmas
I remember having fudge every Christmas as a child. The creaminess of the candy was so delicious. My Mother made many different varieties from year to year, depending on the recipe she wanted to try. We had dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter…you name it, we probably tried it. Do you enjoy your fudge with or without nuts? I love the nuts inside.
We hear the story of the Kings bringing baby Jesus Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. But, just what are Frankincense and Myrrh? After some research I discovered that both frankincense and myrrh start as a resinous sap inside a special family of trees that grow almost exclusively in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.
At certain times of year the trees are cut with special knives, and the sap oozes out. Once the sap has dried in the sun, it is ready to be used. Harvested frankincense and myrrh are burned as incense because of their pleasing aromas, but historically they have a number of other uses as well:
Frankincense, which was often burned, symbolized prayer rising to the heavens like smoke, while myrrh, which was often used for burials, symbolized death. Accordingly, a mixture of wine and myrrh would be offered to Jesus during his crucifixion.

Father Christmas
I have always wondered about the various names of the jolly old fellow named Santa. Depending on what country you are in, his name changes.
Father Christmas
Great Britain
Father Christmas is the traditional British name for a figure associated with Christmas, a forerunner of Santa Claus.
Father Christmas was originally part of an old English midwinter festival, normally dressed in green, a sign of the returning spring. He was known as ‘Sir Christmas’, ‘Old Father Christmas’ or ‘Old Winter’.
In this earliest form, Father Christmas was not the bringer of gifts for small children, nor did he come down the chimney. He simply wandered around from home to home, knocking on doors and feasting with families before moving on to the next house. The Ghost of Christmas Present in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 1843, is based on Father Christmas. He is described as a large man with a red beard and fur- lined green robe. Images of Father Christmas dressed in red started appearing on Christmas cards in the late Victorian times.
Germany santa

Santa Claus or Father Christmas (der Weihnachtsmann) brings the presents on December 24th. You might also write a letter to Weihnachtsmann in other parts of Germany. December 6th is St. Nicholas' Day and "der Nikolaus" brings some small gifts, such as sweets and chocolate, to the children.
Père Noël  "Father Christmas", sometimes called Papa Noël ("Daddy Christmas"), is a legendary gift-bringer at Christmas in France and other French-speaking areas. On Christmas Eve, children leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Pere Noel. In the morning they also find that sweets, fruit, nuts and small toys have been hung on the tree
Babbo Natale
Babbo Natale, Italy’s version of Santa Claus, is becoming more popular and gift giving on Christmas day is becoming more common. La Befana, the old woman who delivers gifts on Epiphany, January 6, is still the more popular Italian Christmas figure.  Babbo Natale, or Father Christmas is gaining popularity in Italy.
I hope you will join me again tomorrow for more of the Christmas Celebration
Carolyn and the Bears

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