Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas A to Z Letter M

Welcome Back to Christmas A to Z
M …is for Mistletoe, Merry and Mincemeat
Not many generations ago, before the advent of television and home entertainment centers, neighbors and relatives frequently visited each other for fellowship, and did so especially during the holidays. A common custom at Christmas-time was for the homemaker to place a sprig of mistletoe above a door frame, or hang it from the ceiling of the dwelling. During the frequent get-together's, any female who lingered there was fair game for a harmless kiss from nearby males.
A story written in 1920 by Washington Irving described Christmas decorations that included; "the mistletoe, with its white berries, hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids."
Mistletoe was supposed to bring luck to two people who kissed underneath it, and bad luck to those who didn't. Some say proper etiquette is to pick a berry off for every kiss, and stop when all the berries are gone.
The traditional greeting at Christmas - very commonly used on Christmas cards.
"A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" was the verse that was shown on the first commercially available Christmas card in 1843.
1843 was also the year of the publication of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol and it was around that time, in the early part of the reign of Queen Victoria, that Christmas as we now know it was largely invented,
Today there is an ongoing discussion on wishing each other Merry Christmas, but I choose to continue carrying on the tradition. So,  “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.
Mince Pies, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than a dried fruit mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes.
Mincemeat Pie Filling 2
During the 1600’s in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas! Very rich people liked to show off at their Christmas parties by having pies made is different shapes (like stars, crescents, hearts, tears, & flowers); the fancy shaped pies could often fit together a bit like a jigsaw! Having pies like this meant you were rich and could afford to employ the best, and most expensive, pastry cooks!
Now they are normally made in a round shape and are eaten hot or cold A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (6th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months!
I hope you will join me again tomorrow for more of the Christmas Celebration
Carolyn and the Bears

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