Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas A to Z Letter R

Welcome Back to Christmas A to Z
R …is for Ribbon Candy, Robin Redbreast, and RedRibbon Candy
I have enjoyed Ribbon Candy since childhood. The wonderful colors and shape of the candy is so beautiful and the taste is pretty sweet!
ribbon candy(3)
Ribbon candy is a type of hard candy which in North America most often appears for sale around the Christmas holiday season. It acquires its shape by first being fashioned as warm sugar into flat strips. A strip is then folded back and forth over itself to form a hardened ribbon shaped stick. The sugar is often colored to appear festive, and the candy often has a glossy sheen. It is commonly made with extracts, often of different mint or citrus flavors.
Ribbon candy is a traditional Christmas candy that goes back for centuries in Europe, though it is unclear exactly where the candy was first created.
Confectioners developed the candy as a Christmas decoration for their shops, modeling the wavy form around the candy maker’s thumb. In the 1800s mechanical crimpers were invented to shape the ribbons
Mechanical crimpers worked well, but the process was slow and very labor-intensive. Until the 1940s ribbon candy was never made on a large scale, because more sophisticated equipment was needed.
What slowed the process was having to cut the candy with scissors. An air activated automatic cutter was invented by Sevigny Candy and is still in use today by F.B. Washburn Candy, which purchased Sevigny Candy in June 1986. The Brockton, Massachusetts-based F.B. Washburn Candy company is now the primary source for ribbon candy in the US and Canada.
Robin Redbreast
I have not heard of the Christmas Robin legend before, but it is quite interesting Christmas Robin is mainly popular among children as its story teaches children a lot about good deeds and the importance of selfless acts. Although there have been many versions to this cheerful little bird's legend, the most popular one is the one where robin helps Mary. This story came to be considered as a legend only in the mid-19th century and has gained immense popularity since then. Here is how the story goes.
The Legend of Robin Redbreast
The night when Jesus was born was so cold and chilly that Mary was unable to keep infant Jesus warm in the stable. The wind blew constantly into the stable and the fire was about to go out. Mary was worried and asked the animals in her stable for help. First she asked the ox to blow on the embers so that the fire continues. But the ox was fast asleep and couldn't hear Mary's cry for help. Next, she asked the donkey, horse and the sheep, but in vain.
Mary had lost hope, but she was surprised when she heard the continuous flapping of a bird's wings. A little brown bird saw Mary's helplessness, and decided to help her keep the stable warm. So, he flapped his wings rigorously at the dying embers and fetched some dry sticks for the fire. This stopped the fire from going out completely, but the flame that rose suddenly, burnt the little bird's breast and turned it red. Despite getting hurt, the bird continued his efforts to keep the fire going, just to keep the stable warm for infant Jesus.
Vintage Robin card
Mary was so moved by the kind gesture of this little bird that she blessed the bird in the morning, saying that "From now on, let your red breast be a reminder of your good deed". .This story of robin gained such immense popularity towards 19th century that its pictures began to appear on Christmas greeting cards and postage stamps. Artificial feathers of this sacred bird are still used to decorate Christmas cards and even artificial robins can be found on Christmas trees as decorations; robin-shaped Christmas cakes are also becoming popular.
When we think of Christmas the colors red and green come to mind. I wondered why those two colors became a tradition at Christmas. I understand the holly, green of the trees and poinsettia plants but there had to be a deeper meaning behind those two colors. After doing a little research I found that the most likely  root of the red and green tradition dates back to the 1300’s when Adam and Eve’s Day was celebrated on December 24th.  Each year on this day churches traditionally presented a Paradise Play depicting the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.
Now you can’t have a story about Adam and Eve without an apple tree but since it wasn’t easy to find a real tree full of ripe, red apples during the winter apples someone came up with the idea of fastening apples to the branches of a pine tree.  This decorated pine tree represented the Tree of Good and Evil.  But the tree wasn’t only seen in the play.  Churches began adding a tree donning red apples into their Christmas displays.
The decorated tree that began as a prop for the Paradise play was so popular especially in Germany, that people began to put pine trees up in their homes during the holiday, decorating them with red apples, as the church folks had done and the tradition of having a Christmas tree was born.
The idea spread and both Christmas trees and the color combination of red and green were well on its way to becoming official symbols of the Christmas holiday.
Shabby Art Boutique sharpie plate_thumb[2]
I hope you will join me again tomorrow
for more of the Christmas Celebration
Carolyn and the Bears

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