Christmas Explained
The festival known today as Christmas or “the Festive Season” predates Christianity and has gone by many names some of which are still in use today. Yule or Yuletide and Noel are the best know. Yule was a Germanic festival celebrated by the Saxons and the Norse or Vikings. Noel is of French origin and may come from the old French nael and may be a reference to birth.


Christmas comes just after the winter solstice and has always been a celebration of the return of the sun as the days start to get longer. The Romans had a festival of Saturnalia which occurred from 17th to 23rd of December, involved the giving of gifts and general merry making. This festival covered the run up to the solstice but was otherwise very much the same as our modern Christmas in many respects.


The Christmas Tree is of German origin and was brought to Britain in the early C19th by the Royal family and became popular in the 1840’s – it does not get a mention in A Christmas Carol but nor does Santa. Before that there was a long standing tradition of bringing evergreen foliage into the home where it was placed over the door way to ward off evil spirits. It is likely that this tradition dates back many hundreds or even thousands of years.

Christmas Trees

Christmas pudding is a very British Tradition and is probably medieval in origin. Sometime referred to as plum pudding despite it not having any plums in it, due to the Victorians calling raisins plums.

Chritmas pudding

The humble mince pie has been with us since the C13th and was brought back from the east by crusaders. Originally they were a savoury mixture of minced meat with fruit and were at one time referred to as Christmas Pies. They have over the years become sweeter and lost the meat from the recipe.

Mince pies

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