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  1. Read More From TIME
  2. Even the modern Christmas season is a time of tradition in Finland - thisisFINLAND
  3. The history behind Christmas traditions: Saint Nicholas, mistletoe and crackers

Read More From TIME

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Even the modern Christmas season is a time of tradition in Finland - thisisFINLAND

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Walmart Services. Get to Know Us. Customer Service. In The Spotlight. What about the Dutch? Although it is almost universally believed that the Dutch brought St. Colonial Germans in Pennsylvania kept the feast of St.


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Nicholas, and several later accounts have St. Nicholas 1 , primarily as a non-British symbol to counter the English St. George societies, rather than to honor St. This society was similar to the Sons of St. Tammany in Philadelphia.

Hanging stockings was popularized by a beloved Christmas poem.

Not exactly St. John Pintard, the influential patriot and antiquarian who founded the New York Historical Society in , promoted St. Nicholas as patron saint of both society and city. In January , Washington Irving joined the society and on St. Nicholas character. This was not the saintly bishop, rather an elfin Dutch burgher with a clay pipe. These delightful flights of imagination are the source of the New Amsterdam St.

Nicholas legends: that the first Dutch emigrant ship had a figurehead of St. Nicholas; that St. Nicholas Day was observed in the colony; that the first church was dedicated to him; and that St.

Rudolf/Frosty/Old St. Nic/Rockin Around the Christmas Tree

Nicholas comes down chimneys to bring gifts. Nicholas anniversary dinner on December 6, John Pintard commissioned artist Alexander Anderson to create the first American image of Nicholas for the occasion. The 19th century was a time of cultural transition. New York writers, and others, wanted to domesticate the Christmas holiday. After Puritans and other Calvinists had eliminated Christmas as a holy season, popular celebrations became riotous, featuring drunken men and public disorder.

Christmas of old was not the images we imagine of families gathered cozily around hearth and tree exchanging pretty gifts and singing carols while smiling benevolently at children.

The history behind Christmas traditions: Saint Nicholas, mistletoe and crackers

Rather, it was characterized by raucous, drunken mobs roaming streets, damaging property, threatening and frightening the upper classes. The holiday season, coming after harvest when work was eased and more leisure possible, was a time when workers and servants took the upper hand, demanding largess and more.

Through the first half of the 19th century, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers and other Protestants continued to regard December 25th as a day without religious significance, a day for normal business. This was not a neutral stance, rather Christmas observance was seen as inconsistent with gospel worship. All of this began to change as a new understanding of family life and the place of children was emerging.