Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas A to Z Letter L

Welcome Back to Christmas A to Z
L …is for Lights, Little Drummer Boy, Lebkuchen
Christmas is known as the "feast of light", as Jesus, the Light of the World .
The history of placing a candle in the window is very interesting. When religion was suppressed through Ireland during the English persecution, the people had no churches. Priests secretly visited the farms and homes to say Mass during the night. Irish families hoped the priests would come to their homes, so when Christmas came, they left their doors unlocked and placed burning candles in the windows so that any priest who happened to be in the vicinity could be welcomed and guided to their home.
To explain this practice to the English soldiers, the Irish people stated: “We burn the candles and keep the doors unlocked, that Mary and Joseph, looking for a place to stay, will find their way to our home and be welcomed with open doors and open hearts."
The customs of placing lighted candles in the windows at Christmas was brought to America by the Irish in the early 19th century, and is still practiced today. Candle light often evokes the warmth of home and family. The fireplace was center of family life in days gone by, and thus the candle was generally lit from that fire.
The candle was often placed in the window when a member of the family was away. The lit candle was also placed in the window as a sign of good news or as a beacon to weary travelers. Candles also represented friendship and were seen as a sign of welcome to others.

In early America, homes were often miles apart. The sight of a candle in a window from a distance was a sign of "welcome" to those wishing to visit. Many people today only associate candles in the window as a Christmas tradition. Yet, you will see electric candles placed in the windows of more and more homes during all seasons of the year. 
Little Drummer Boy
I can remember watching the Little Drummer Boy Christmas Special each year. The show made its debut in 1968.
"Little Drummer Boy" was originally titled "Carol of the Drums" because of the repeating line "pa rum pum pum pum" which imitates the sound of a drum.
The song "Little Drummer Boy" is believed to have been written by Katherine K. Davis in 1941 based on an old Czech carol.
"The Little Drummer Boy" (originally known as "Carol of the Drum") is a popular Christmas song written by the American classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. The song is based on an old Czech carol.
Von Trapp
It was recorded in 1955 by the Trapp Family Singers and further popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale. Here is a recording of the Trapp Family Singers version:
Lebkuchen (or Pfefferkuchen) is a traditional German sweet baked for Christmas, somewhat resembling soft gingerbread. Traditional Lebkuchen is said to have been invented by Medieval monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century.
Depending on the ingredients, Lebkuchen is also known as honey cake or pepper cake. Traditionally, the cookies are usually quite large and may be four and a half inches in diameter if round, and larger if rectangular.
Sometimes Lebkuchen is packaged in richly decorated tins, chests, and boxes which have become nostalgic collector items. Lebkuchen come in a variety of shapes with round being the most common. The ingredients usually include honey; spices such as aniseed, coriander, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and allspice’ nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts; or candied fruit.
I hope you will join me again tomorrow for more of the Christmas Celebration
Carolyn and the Bears

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