Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance

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Origin, evolution, significance of religious, secular practices. Caroling, gifts, yule logs, much more. Full, scholarly, yet fascinating. Nonsectarian.
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Overview

Origin, evolution, significance of religious, secular practices. Caroling, gifts, yule logs, much more. Full, scholarly, yet fascinating. Nonsectarian.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486233543
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 11/2/2011
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.41 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

PREFACE
CHAPTER I
  INTRODUCTION
    The Origin and Purpose of Festivals
    Ideas suggested by Christmas
    Pagan and Christian Elements
    The Names of the Festival
    Foundation of the Feast of the Nativity
    It's Relation to the Epiphany
    December 25 and the Natalis Invicti
    The Kalends of January
    Yule and Teutonic Festivals
    The Church and Pagan Survivals
    Two Conflicting Types of Festival
    Their Interaction
    Plan of the Book
PART I THE CHRISTIAN FEAST
  CHAPTER II
    CHRISTMAS POETRY (I)
      "Ancient Latin Hymns, their Dogmatic, Theological Character"
      Humanizing Influence of Franciscanism
      Jacopone da Todi's Vernacular Verse
      German Catholic Poetry
      Mediaeval English Carols
  CHAPTER III
    CHRISTMAS POETRY (II)
      The French Noël
      Latin Hymnody in Eighteenth-century France
      Spanish Christmas Verse
      Traditional Carols of Many Countries
      Christmas Poetry in Protestant Germany
      Post-Reformation Verse in England
      Modern English Carols
  CHAPTER IV
    CHRISTMAS IN LITURGY AND POPULAR DEVOTION
      Advent and Christmas Offices of the Roman Church
      "The Trhee Masses of Christmas, their Origin and their Celebration in Rome"
      The Midnight Mass in Many Lands
      Protestant Survivals of the Night Services Christmas in the Greek Church
      The Eastern Epiphany and the Blessing of the Waters
      "The Presepio or Crib, its Supposed Institution by St. Francis"
      Early Traces of the Crib
      "The Crib in Germany, Tyrol, &c."
      Cradle-rocking in Mediaeval Germany
      Christmas Minstrels in Italy and Sicily
      The Presepio in Italy
      Ceremonies with the Culla and the Bambino in Rome
      Christmas in Italian London
      The Spanish Christmas
      Possible Survivals of the Crib in England
  CHAPTER V
    CHRISTMAS DRAMA
      Origins of the Mediaeval Drama
      Dramatic Tendencies in the Liturgy
      Latin Liturgical Plays
      The Drama becomes Laicized
      Characteristics of the Popular Drama
      The Nativity in the English Miracle Cycles
      Christmas Mysteries in France
      Later French Survivals of Christmas Drama
      German Christmas Plays
      Mediaeval Italian Plays and Pageants
      Spanish Nativity Plays
      Modern Survivals in Various Countries
      "The Star Singers, &c."
    POSTSCRIPT
PART II PAGAN SURVIVALS
  CHAPTER VI
    PRE-CHRISTIAN WINTER FESTIVALS
      The Church and Superstition
      Nature of Pagan Survivals
      Racial Origins
      Roman Festivals of the Saturnalia and Kalends
      Was there a Teutonic Midwinter Festival?
      "The Teutonic, Celtic, and Slav New Year"
      Customs Attracted to Christmas or January I
      The Winter Cycle of Festivals
      Rationale of Festival Ritual:
      (a) Sacrifice and Sacrament
      (b) The Cult of the Dead
      (c) Omens and Charms for the New Year
      Compromise in the Later Middle Ages
      The Puritans and Christmas
      Decay of Old Traditions
  CHAPTER VII
    ALL HALLOW TIDE TO MARTINMAS
      "All Saints' and All Souls' Days, their Relation to a New Year Festival"
      All Souls' Eve and Tendance of the Departed
      Soul Cakes in England and on the Continent
      Pagan Parallels of All Souls'
      Hallowe'en Charms and Omens
      Hallowe'en Fires
      Guy Fawkes Day
      "Old Hob," the Schimmelreiter, and other Animal Masks"
      Martinmas and its Slaughter
      Martinmas Drinking
      St. Martin's Fires in Germany
      Winter Visitors in the Low Countries and Germany
      St. Martin as Gift-bringer
      St. Martin's Rod
  CHAPTER VIII
    ST. CLEMENT TO ST. THOMAS
      St. Clement's Day Quests and Processions
      St. Catherine's Day as Spinsters' Festival
      St. Andrew's Eve Auguries
      The Klöpfelnächte
      "St. Nicholas's Day, the Saint as Gift-bringer, and his Attendants"
      Election of the Boy Biship
      St. Nicholas's Day at Bari
      "St. Lucia's Day in Sweden, Sicily, and Central Europe"
      St. Thomas's Day as School Festival
      Its Uncanny Eve
      "Going a-Thomassin'."
  CHAPTER IX
    CHRISTMAS EVE AND THE TWELVE DAYS
      "Christkind, Santa Klaus, and Knecht Ruprecht"
      Talking Animals and other Wonders of Christmas Eve
      Scandinavian Beliefs about Trolls and the Return of the Dead
      Traditional Christmas Songs in Eastern Europe
      "The Twelve Days, their Christian Origin and Pagan Superstitions"
      The Raging Host
      Hints of Supernatural Visitors in England
      The German Frauen
      The Greek Kallikantzaroi
  CHAPTER X
    THE YULE LOG
      The Log as Centre of the Domestic Christmas
      Customs of the Southern Slavs
      The Polaznik
      Origin of the Yule Log
      Probable Commection with Vegetation-cults or Ancestor-worship
      The Souche de Noël in France
      Italian and German Christmas Logs
      English Customs
      The Yule Candle in England and Scandinavia
  CHAPTER XI
    "THE CHRISTMAS-TREE, DECORATIONS, AND GIFTS"
      The Christmas-tree a German Creation
      Charm of the German Christmas
      Early Christmas-trees
      The Christmas Pyramid
      Spread of
      Hogmanay and Aguillanneuf
      "New Year Processions in Macedonia, Roumania, Greece, and Rome"
      Methods of Augury
      Sundry New Year Charms
  CHAPTER XVI
    EPIPHANY TO CANDLEMAS
      "The Twelfth Cake and the "King of the Bean"
      French Twelfth Night Customs
      St. Basil's Cake in Macedonia
      Epiphany and the Expulsion of Evils
      The Befana in Italy
      The Magi as Present-bringers
      Greek Epiphany Customs
      Wassailing Fruit-trees
      Herefordshire and Irish Twelfth Night Practices
      "The "Haxey Hood" and Christmas Football"
      St. Knut's Day in Sweden
      Rock Day
      Plough Monday
      "Candlemas, its Ecclesiastical and Folk Ceremonies"
      Farewells to Christmas
CONCLUSION
NOTES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
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