An Old Christmas Tradition: Yule Logs

An Old Christmas Tradition: Yule Logs

Did you know … by Sandra Merville Hart The Vikings brought the practice of burning Yule Logs to England during the Dark Ages. Although it didn’t begin as a Christian tradition, it later took on a special meaning for Christians as part of a Christmas celebration for centuries. The family selects a huge log. Each family would cut down a tree early in the year to save for Christmas. They wanted a log large enough to burn for the twelve days of Christmas, which began on December 25th. The fireplaces were the main source of heat in those days and were large enough to hold the Yule Log. During the year, spices were often rubbed on the log so that the aroma would fill the home as it burned. As they applied the spices, it reminded them of the gifts of incense and...

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A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

by Sandra Merville Hart A surprising way those living in the country celebrated Christmas and New Years in the early 1800s was with Shooting and Raffling Matches. A generous person bought gifts Someone in the community bought generous amounts of coffee, tea, and other goods and wrapped them in many small packages. These goods would then be raffled off at a specific price per chance. Shooting at a target took place during the day with a rifle. Raffles happened in the evening. Raffle winners found by coins in a hat To find raffle winners, copper cents were tossed into a hat, shaken up, and thrown on the table by a chance holder. The most number of heads in a certain number of throws decided the winner of the prize. Shooting New Year Shooting New Year was another...

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A Christmas Tradition: Christmas Trees

A Christmas Tradition: Christmas Trees

Did you know …?   A small fir tree, set on a table in a home in Latvia, a country in northern Europe, was called a Christmas tree in 1510. According to legend, Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) saw starlight peeking through the branches of fir trees on a cold December evening as he walked home through the woods. The first lighted Christmas tree After he went home, Martin wanted to capture the look of the starlight through the branches. He tied a candle holder onto a branch of the evergreen Christmas tree in his house. He liked how the flame of the candle looked and tied more candleholders onto the tree. It impressed his family and friends, who did the same to the trees in their homes. The meaning of the Christmas tree Martin saw meaning in the Christmas...

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A Christmas Tradition: Nativity Scenes

A Christmas Tradition: Nativity Scenes

Did you know …? Nativity scenes show Joseph, Mary, and the shepherds gathered around baby Jesus as He lies in a manger. This wonderful Christmas tradition we love began almost 800 years ago. In the country of Italy, in 1223, St. Francis of Assisi built a nativity scene outside his church. Children inside the first nativity scene The children at the church stared at the manger scene in wonder. They went inside to take a closer look. They sang songs and thought about the gift of God’s Son, Jesus. Nativity scenes grow more popular These nativity scenes became more popular. Outdoor nativity plays were acted out in parks. In some cities in Europe, the plays would take place on the streets. The Christmas plays were performed in schools and theaters. Nativity...

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A Christmas Tradition: Candy Canes

A Christmas Tradition: Candy Canes

Did you know … According to church history, a choirmaster came up with a sweet idea in 1670, to keep the children in the choir from fidgeting during the church services. He went to see the candy maker, who had some white stick candy. He asked the candy maker to bend the sticks to look like a shepherd’s staff, which he did. The candy canes had a special meaning. The choirmaster gave the children the candy, explaining that the pure white color represented that Jesus never sinned. The shape of the candy reminded the children that shepherds visited the baby Jesus. Candy canes decorated the Christmas trees. A hundred years later, white candy canes decorated family Christmas trees in Germany. The hook on the candy cane made them easy to hang. Children ate the...

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Tuskegee Airmen: Amazing American Heroes

The following article was submitted by Jordan Bryson, who interviewed Joseph Gomer, a Tuskegee Airman, as part of a history project. Who were the Tuskegee Airmen? The Tuskegee Airmen, an Army Air Corps program, trained blacks to fly and maintain combat planes during World War II. It included pilots, navigators, maintenance, instructors, and all the people who kept the planes in the air. A 1925 War College Study said that blacks could not fly or maintain complicated machinery like a military airplane. In the 1940s, black men came to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to prove the 1925 study wrong. They were very good, which opened the door for the military to be integrated (units open to everyone, regardless of race or religion). The black press spread the word about...

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