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Old 12-03-2005, 10:01 PM   #1
swamptoad
 
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Default *part 2* Holiday Facts and even odd facts: long list *ack*

The poinsettia, a traditional Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico, where it is also known as the 'Flower of the Holy Night'. Joel Poinsett first brought it to America in 1829.


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When visiting Finland, Santa leaves his sleigh behind and rides on a goat named Ukko. Finnish folklore has it that Ukko is made of straw, but is strong enough to carry Santa Claus anyway.


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When distributing gifts in Holland, St. Nicholas is accompanied his servant, Black , who is responsible for actually dropping the presents down their recipients' chimneys He also punishes bad children by putting them in a bag and carrying them away to Spain.


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The day after Christmas, December 26, is known as Boxing Day. It is also the holy day of St. Stephen.


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In Syria, Christmas gifts are distributed by one of the Wise Men's camels. The gift-giving camel is said to have been the smallest one in the Wise Men's caravan.


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One town in Indiana is called Santa Claus. There is also a Santa, Idaho.


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The popular Christmas song "Jingle Bells" was actually written for Thanksgiving. The song was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont, and was originally called "One Horse Open Sleigh".


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There are 364 gifts mentioned in "The Twelve Days of Christmas".


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The Puritans forbade the singing of Christmas carols.


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George Frederick Handel's great Christmas oratorio, "The Messiah", was first performed in 1742, in Dublin.


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America's official national Christmas tree is located in King's Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the "General Grant Tree", is over 90 meters (300 feet) high, and was made the official Christmas tree in 1925.

The first Christmas was celebrated on December 25, AD 336 in Rome.


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Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.


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St. Nicholas was bishop of the Turkish town of Myra in the early 4th century. The Dutch first made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name eventually became the familiar Santa Claus.


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In Armenia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of fried fish, lettuce and spinach.


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Christmas has different meanings around the world; Christmas Eve in Japan is a good day to eat fried chicken and strawberry shortcake.


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Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday, and the tradition began in 1836.


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Many of the traditions associated with Christmas (giving gifts, lighting a Yule log, singing carols, decorating an evergreen) date back to older religions.


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Shakespeare's tombstone in Stratford's Holy Trinity Church bears this inscription, said to have been written by him: Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear to dig the dust enclosed here. Blest be the man that spares these stones, and curst be he that moves my bones".


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In 1647, the English parliament passed a law made Christmas illegal. The Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry on what was supposed to be a holy day to be immoral, banned the Christmas festivities. The ban was lifted only when Cromwell lost power in 1660.


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Michigan has no official state song, but one, 'Michigan, My Michigan,' is frequently used. The words were written in 1863, and the melody used is that of the Christmas song "O Tannenbaum".


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Franklin Pierce was the first president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree.


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Christmas Crackers were invented around 1846 by Tom Smith who developed them for Christmas from the French habit of wrapping sugared almonds in twists of paper as gifts.


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J.S.Bach inscribed most of his musical scores with the note 'In dem Namen Jesus', or in English 'In the name of Jesus'.


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The Canadian province of Nova Scotia leads the world in exporting lobster, wild blueberries, and Christmas trees.


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Roast turkey did not appear consistently on royal Christmas Day menus until 1851 when it replaced roast swan. The medieval dish of Boar's head remained popular with Royals for much longer.


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Electric Christmas lights were first used in 1854.


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Once in England, because of a water spout, it rained frogs!
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