Things you might not know about Christmas

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The spirit of Christmas is fast approaching and like we all know, this season emphasizes the importance of giving. Before you indulge yourself in opening all those presents under your Christmas tree, here’s some trivia that you might not know about this season.


  1. Candy’s for the bored

Candy canes were originally white not stripes, and was made for the children got bored in the lengthy nativity services by a German choirmaster in 1670. Modeled after shepherd’s cane, this Christmas symbol made its way to America in 1847 when a German immigrant decorated the tree in his Ohio home with the iconic candy.


  1. What’s with the bright lights?

According to historians, celebrating Christmas is a natural response to the winter solstice. “If you happen to live in a region in which midwinter brings striking darkness and a cold and hunger, then the urge to have a celebration at the very heart of it to avoid going mad of falling into deep depression is very, very strong,” researcher Philip Shaw of Leicester University told Livescience.


  1. The Origin of Christmas Stockings

An old story dating back to third century Turkey suggests that St. Nicholas would throw coins down the chimneys of poor women who couldn’t afford dowries. The legend continues that the money would land in stockings that were hung over the fire to dry.


  1. It was Sinterklaas before Santa

Dutch children have long cheered the annual coming of Sinterklaas—known also as Saint Nicholas—who sports a crimson miter and rolls into town on a steam boat filled with presents in mid-November. Then, he rides around on his mighty white steed Amerigo and distributes gifts. Over time, Sinterklaas’ image was transmuted into Santa’s, and Amerigo became a sled with flying reindeer.


  1. Washington Irving popularized Santa

While there had been mention of “Santa Claus” in the American press dating back to 1773, Washington Irving is generally considered the first man to significantly transform the Dutch Sinterklaas into “Santa Claus.” In his book History of New York, he spoofed the gift-giving legend and portrayed Santa Claus as a pipe-smoking sailor in a green coat.


  1. So nope, it’s not Coca-Cola who popularized Santa

But his image has been used extensively in wintertime marketing materials since 1931, cementing both his image and persona in the public consciousness.


  1. Magellan didn’t bring Christmas to the Philippines

Some stories from the past said that the first Christmas was celebrated 200 years before Magellan discovered the country, more likely between 1280 and 1320 AD.


  1. No, not you Magellan it was Father Odoric

Franciscan Odoric Mattiussi of Podenone, Italy officiated the first Christmas mass when he arrived in the Philippines during the 12th century. He arrived in 1342 to seek shelter in the midst of a stormy weather.


  1. It’s official

On December 25 of the late part of the 12th century, Father Odoric Mattiussi showed the locals a photo of Joseph with Jesus and Mary in a manger. A tree was planted beside the black cross used during the mass. Many consider this as the first Christmas tree in the Philippines.


Later on, friar Odoric baptized several locals of Pangasinan.


  1. It’s in Pangasinan

At present, there is small market in Bolinao, Pangasinan where the first Christmas mass was said to be held.


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