Saturday, December 23, 2006
YE OLDE TRADITIONS
Holly with its thorns was revered as a Christmas decoration for its supposed protection against witches and the forces of evil. Ivy and mistletoe were also thought to have protective powers. Folklore has it that a cutting of mistletoe hung in a baby's cradle would keep a child safe from Fairies.
Plum pudding came in for the protective powers too. Sitrring the pudding is supposed to make peace between squabbling children and adults.
The Yule log is the least followed of the old traditions. It was supposed to burn for the 12 days of Christmas and deter any witches who were abroad on Christmas Eve. Another Yule log tradition was to sprinkle it with brandy before it was lit, a libation for the old Gods who slept in the log. In the Victorian era, a chocolate cake made in the form of a log and sprinkled with sugar to represent snow was placed on the Christmas table in lieu of the burning log.
The Robin is always associated with the Yule log as it was believed to have first carried fire to the Earth. In the process the Robin singed its breast and it remains red to this day. To counter the old legend, religion stuck its nose in and the Robin was said to have plucked a thorn from Christ's crown accidentally pricking its breast and staining it forever. To the Victorians the Christmas tree wasn't complete without ornaments of Robins.
The Christmas Angel was supposed to wander the World on Christmas Eve searching for cold hearts to melt with love. In a room where the Christmas tree stood, a window was always left open a little for the angel to look in and see the angel ornament on the tree.
I'm not religious about Christmas but I love the old myths and traditions even if they have been incorporated into the "Child's" birthday. I hope they're never rejected for political correctness as we've lost too much of the old ways already. This year though we have a chance to check out a tradition I found last December. Link, it's up to you to check Ipod and see if he kneels at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve to celebrate the "Child's" birth.
It looks like a pretty busy Christmas Eve, witches roaming the countryside, Angels snooping, reindeers flying and cows dropping everywhere.