Is Christmas for being a better person or buying a bigger flat screen?
For the next three weeks we'll look at Christmas from all aspects: historical, cultural, religious and commercial. Here are some bits of history about the holiday season we call Christmas taken from the History web site. Although the First Amendment prohibits laws establishing or proscribing any religion in the US, December 25th (a Christian holiday) is the only religious date designated a federal holiday, which happened in 1870.
These desert travelers were probably not Christians.
Thanks to Pope Julius I, we now know that Jesus was born on December 25th, which was known as the Feast of the Nativity in the early 4th century. Many historians believe the date was picked to tie in with the pagan winter solstice celebrations. Christmas started in Rome, but by the end of the 8th century had expanded to Scandinavia. Today, Greek and Russian Orthodox celebrate Epiphany or Three Kings Day 13 days after the 25th of December, which is when they believed the kings found infant Jesus.
Boston's ordinance, 1659
During the civil war between the Puritans and King Charles I in England in the 17th century, Parliament outlawed traditional religious observance of Christmas. This lasted until the monarchy was re-established in 1660. That affected our ancestors in the New World - the Puritans in Massachusetts did not celebrate Christmas and in Boston Christmas was outlawed from 1659 to 1681; anyone violating the law was fined 5 shillings. However in Jamestown settlement, Christmas was celebrated. The reason religious conservatives didn't like Christmas was that the celebration combined observance of Jesus' birth with having a really good time, which was a carryover from the pagan parties. In fact, New York City established its police force in 1828 after a Christmas riot.
New York Christmas party, 1828.
Two people responsible for shifting the US and English emphasis from naughty to nice were Washington Irving and Charles Dickens. Irving wrote a series of stories that promoted Christmas as a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing all people together. Dickens wrote 'Christmas Carol' that promoted charity and good will striking a strong note in America.
Since the United States is a nation of immigrants, our Christmas evolved from traditions from many countries and versions of the Christian religion. We don't celebrate Christmas quite like anyone else in the world.
What a difference a week without precipitation makes....
All or part of 33 of the 93 counties are now abnormally dry - an increase of almost 20% of the land area in 7 days. All the affected counties are primarily agricultural. Some climatologists are predicting a repeat of 2012 and 2013 drought conditions for 2015.
And other parts of the US are in much worse shape than Nebraska.
Sunset time starts to get later.......
|Days until Alvo's Party||Date||Sunrise||Sunset||Sun hours||Days until Winter|
|185||Wednesday, December 03, 2014||07:33 AM||04:58 PM||9:25||18|
|184||Thursday, December 04, 2014||07:34 AM||04:58 PM||9:24||17|
|183||Friday, December 05, 2014||07:35 AM||04:58 PM||9:23||16|
|182||Saturday, December 06, 2014||07:36 AM||04:58 PM||9:22||15|
|181||Sunday, December 07, 2014||07:36 AM||04:57 PM||9:21||14|
|180||Monday, December 08, 2014||07:37 AM||04:57 PM||9:20||13|
|179||Tuesday, December 09, 2014||07:38 AM||04:58 PM||9:20||12|
Full moon December 6th at 06:37 AM CST
Supported in part by Cass County Tourism
Next week we'll explore Santa Claus and Christmas Trees......