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Title: Yule-Tide in Many Lands
Author: Pringle, Mary Poague, Urann, Clara A.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Yule-Tide in Many Lands" ***

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     [Illustration: CHRISTMAS IN NAPLES. An Italian _PRESIPIO._]

                       YULE-TIDE IN MANY LANDS


                           MARY P. PRINGLE

      Reference Librarian, Minnesota Public Library Commission


                            CLARA A. URANN



                            L.J. Bridgman

                         and from photographs


                      LOTHROP. LEE & SHEPARD CO.


                           Copyright, 1916

                    BY LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
    And God fulfills Himself in many ways,
    Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

                                      --_Alfred Tennyson._

       *       *       *       *       *


Thanks are due to the following publishers for permission to reprint
poems: Houghton Mifflin Company for "King Olaf's Christmas" by H. W.
Longfellow, "Night of Marvels" by Violante Do Ceo; Paul Elder &
Company for "The Christmas Tree" by H. S. Russell, "At Christmas
Time"; Edgar S. Werner & Company for "The Christmas Sheaf" by Mrs. A.
M. Tomlinson; John Lane Company for "A Palm Branch from Palestine" by
M. Y. Lermontov; _American Ecclesiastical Review_ for "The Eve of
Christmas" by Pope Leo XIII; E. P. Dutton & Company for "The Voice of
the Christ-child" by Phillips Brooks.



       *       *       *       *       *














Christmas in Naples. An Italian _Presepio_

King Olaf's Christmas

Serenaded by the Waits

Toy-Making in Germany

Decorating the Christmas Tree

On the Way to Christmas Eve Service in Norway

A Christmas Bonfire in Russia

A Christmas Tree in Paris

A Game of Loto on Christmas Evening in Naples

Christmas Festivity in Seville

Lighting the Yule-Log in Colonial Days

Children of Many Nationalities at Christmas Celebration in a New York




    "There in the Temple, carved in wood,
    The image of great Odin stood,
    And other gods, with Thor supreme among them."

As early as two thousand years before Christ Yule-tide was celebrated
by the Aryans. They were sun-worshipers and believed the sun was born
each morning, rode across the upper world, and sank into his grave at

Day after day, as the sun's power diminished, these primitive people
feared that he would eventually be overcome by darkness and forced to
remain in the under world.

When, therefore, after many months, he apparently wheeled about and
grew stronger and stronger, they felt that he had been born again. So
it came about that at _Hweolor-tid_, "the turning-time,"[1] there was
great rejoicing at the annual re-birth of the sun.

In the myths and legends of these, our Indo-European ancestors, we
find the origin of many of the Yule-tide customs now in vogue.

[Footnote 1: Yule-tide]

According to the Younger Edda, Wodin or Odin, the pioneer of the
North, a descendant of Saturn, fled out of Asia. Going through Russia
to Saxland (Germany), he conquered that country and left one of his
sons as ruler. Then he visited Frankland, Jutland, Sweden, and Norway
and established each one of his many sons on a throne.

This pioneer traveler figures under nearly two hundred different
names, and so it is difficult to follow him in his wanderings. As
Wodin, he established throughout the northern nations many of the
observances and customs common to the people of the Northland to-day.

The Edda gives an ancient account of Balder, the sun-god, who was
slain because of the jealousy of Loki (fire). Loki knew that
everything in nature except the mistletoe had promised not to injure
the great god Balder. So he searched for the mistletoe until he found
it growing on an oak-tree "on the eastern slope of Valhalla." He cut
it off and returned to the place where the gods were amusing
themselves by using Balder as a target, hurling stones and darts, and
trying to strike him with their battle-axes. But all these weapons
were harmless. Then Loki, giving the twig of mistletoe to the blind
god, Höder, directed his hand and induced him to throw it. When the
mistletoe struck Balder it pierced him through and through and he fell

    "So on the floor lay Balder dead; and round[2]
    Lay thickly strewn swords, axes, darts, and spears,
    Which all the Gods in sport had idly thrown
    At Balder, whom no weapon pierced or clove;
    But in his breast stood fixt the fatal bough
    Of mistletoe, which Lok the Accuser gave
    To Höder, and unwitting Höder threw--
    'Gainst that alone had Balder's life no charm."

[Footnote 2: From Matthew Arnold's "Balder Dead."]

Great excitement prevailed among the assembled gods and goddesses when
Balder was struck dead and sank into Hel,[3] and they would have slain
the god of darkness had it not occurred during their _peace-stead_,
which was never to be desecrated by deeds of violence. The season was
supposed to be one of peace on earth and good-will to man. This is
generally attributed to the injunction of the angels who sang at the
birth of Christ, but according to a much older story the idea of peace
and good-will at Yule-tide was taught centuries before Christ.

[Footnote 3: _Hel_ or _"his grave"_; the terms were once synonymous.]

According to the Edda, gifts from the gods and goddesses were laid on
Balder's bier and he, in turn, sent gifts back from the realm of
darkness into which he had fallen. However, it probably is from the
Roman Saturnalia that the free exchange of presents and the spirit of
revelry have been derived.

The Druids held the mistletoe in great reverence because of its
mysterious birth. When the first new growth was discovered it was
gathered by the white-robed priests, who cut it from the main bough
with a golden sickle never used for any other purpose.

The food peculiar to this season of rejoicing has retained many
features of the feasting recorded among the earlier people. The boar
made his appearance in mythological circles when one was offered as a
gift to Frey, god of rain, sunshine, and the fruits of the earth. This
boar was a remarkable animal; he could run faster than a horse,
through the air and over water. Darkness could not overtake him, for
he was symbolical of the sun, his golden bristles typifying the sun's

At one time the boar was believed to be emblematical of golden grain,
as he was the first to teach mankind the art of plowing. Because of
this service he was most revered by our mythological ancestors.

In an account of a feast given in Valhalla to the dead heroes of many
battles, Saehrimnir, a sacred boar, was served. Huge pieces were
apportioned to the deceased heroes and the meat had such a revivifying
effect that, restored to life, they called for arms and began to fight
their battles over again.

An abundance of heavenly mead made from goats' milk and honey was
provided for the feasts and on occasions ale, too, was served.

Toasts were usually drunk in honor of Bragi, god of poetry, eloquence,
and song. The gods pledged themselves to perform remarkable deeds of
courage and valor as they tossed off horn after horn of mead and ale.
Each time their mighty valor grew until there was no limit set to
their attainments. It is possible that their boastful pledges may have
given rise to the term, _to brag._

Apples were the favorite fruit, as they prevented the approach of age
and kept the gods and goddesses perpetually young and vigorous.

Certainly Yule-tide was a very merry season among the ancient people
who feasted, drank, and danced in honor of the return of the sun, the
god of light and new life.

When messengers went through the various countries bearing tidings of
a new religion and of the birth of a Son who brought light and new
life into the whole world, they endeavored to retain as many of the
established customs as possible, but gave to the old-time festivals a
finer character and significance.

As the fact of Christ's birth was not recorded and there was no
certainty as to its date, the early Christian Fathers very wisely
ascribed it to Yule-tide, changing the occasion from the birthday of
the sun to that of the Son. For a while the birth of Christ was
celebrated on dates varying from the first to the sixth of January; on
the dates of certain religious festivals such as the Jewish Passover
or the Feast of Tabernacles; but the twenty-fifth of December, the
birthday of the sun, was ever the favorite date.

Pope Julius, who reigned from 337 to 352 A. D., after a careful
investigation, considered it settled beyond doubt that Christ was born
on or about the twenty-fifth of December, and by the end of the fifth
century that date was very generally accepted by Christians. The
transition from the old to the new significance of Yule-tide was
brought about so quietly and naturally that it made no great
impression on the mind of the masses, so nothing authentic can be
learned of the early observance of Christmas.

The holly, laurel, mistletoe, and other greens used by the Druids
still served as decorations of the season, not as a shelter for
fairies, as in former days, but as emblems of resurrection and of
immortal hope.

The glorious luminary of day, whether known as Balder, Baal, Sol, or
any other of the innumerable names by which it was called by the
primitive peoples, still gladdens the hearts of mortals at Yule-tide
by "turning-back" as of old; only to-day it yields its place to a
Superior Power, in whose honor Yule-tide is observed.

       *       *       *       *       *

All Christendom owes a debt of gratitude to its pagan forbears for the
pleasant features of many of its holidays and especially for those of
Yule-tide. The Fathers of the early church showed rare wisdom in
retaining the customs of these ante-Christian festivals, imbuing them
with the spirit of the new faith and making them emblematic of a purer
love and hope.

New Year's Day as a feast day is one of the oldest, if not the oldest,
on record. It is mentioned by Tacitus in the First Century, but first
referred to as a Christian festival about the year 567.

In Rome the day was dedicated by Numa to the honor of god Janus, for
whom Julius Cæsar named the month of January. Numa ordained that it
should be observed as a day of good-humor and good-fellowship. All
grudges and hard feelings were to be forgotten. Sacrifices of cake,
wine, and incense were to be made to the two-faced god who looked
forward and backward. Men of letters, mechanics, and others were
expected to give to the god the best they had to offer of their
respective arts. It was the great occasion of the entire year, as it
is now in many countries.

The date of New Year's Day has varied among different nations. Among
the Egyptians, Chinese, Jews, and Romans it has been observed on dates
varying from March first to December twenty-fifth. It was as late as
the Sixteenth Century before the date of January first was universally
accepted as the New Year by the Romans. Nations retaining the
Gregorian calendar, such as Russia and Greece, observe it thirteen
days later than those who reckon time by the Julian calendar.

Among northern nations the love of fire and light originated the
custom of kindling bonfires to burn out the old year and destroy all
evil connected with its past. Light has long been an expression of joy
and gladness among all branches of the Aryan race.

The Greek and Latin Churches still term Christmas the "Feast of
Lights," and make it a period of brilliancy in Church and home. The
Protestant covers the Christmas tree with lighted candles and builds a
glowing fire on the hearth. The innate love of light and warmth--the
inheritance from the sun-worshipers of ages past--is always dominant
in humanity at Yule-tide festivals.

    "The King of Light, father of aged Time,
    Hath brought about that day which is the prime,
    To the slow-gliding months, when every eye
    Wears symptoms of a sober jollity,
    And every hand is ready to present
    Some service in a real compliment."


The King that gave Christianity to Norway.]


    At Drontheim, Olaf the King
    Heard the bells of Yule-tide ring,
        As he sat in his banquet-hall,
    Drinking the nut-brown ale,
    With his bearded Berserks hale
        And tall.

    Three days his Yule-tide feasts
    He held with Bishops and Priests,
        And his horn filled up to the brim;
    But the ale was never too strong,
    Nor the Saga-man's tale too long,
        For him.

    O'er his drinking-horn, the sign
    He made of the cross divine,
        As he drank, and muttered his prayers;
    But the Berserks evermore
    Made the sign of the Hammer of Thor
        Over theirs.

    The gleams of the firelight dance
    Upon helmet and haubert and lance,
        And laugh in the eyes of the King;
    And he cries to Halfred the Scald,
    Gray-bearded, wrinkled, and bald,

    "Sing me a song divine,
    With a sword in every line,
        And this shall be thy reward."
    And he loosened the belt at his waist,
    And in front of the singer placed
        His sword.

    "Quern-bitter of Hakon the Good,
    Wherewith at a stroke he hewed
        The millstone through and through,
    And Foot-breadth of Thoralf the Strong,
    Were neither so broad nor so long,
        Nor so true."

    Then the Scald took his harp and sang,
    And loud through the music rang
        The sound of that shining word;
    And the harp-strings a clangor made,
    As if they were struck with the blade
        Of a sword.

    And the Berserks round about
    Broke forth in a shout
        That made the rafters ring;
    They smote with their fists on the board,
    And shouted, "Long live the sword,
        And the King."

    But the King said, "O my son,
    I miss the bright word in one
        Of thy measures and thy rhymes."
    And Halfred the Scald replied,
    "In another 't was multiplied
        Three times."

    Then King Olaf raised the hilt
    Of iron, cross-shaped and gilt,
        And said, "Do not refuse;
    Count well the gain and the loss,
    Thor's hammer or Christ's cross:

    And Halfred the Scald said, "This
    In the name of the Lord I kiss,
        Who on it was crucified!"
    And a shout went round the board,
    "In the name of Christ the Lord,
        Who died!"

    Then over the waste of snows
    The noonday sun uprose,
        Through the driving mists revealed,
    Like the lifting of the Host,
    By incense-clouds almost

    On the shining wall a vast
    And shadowy cross was cast
        From the hilt of the lifted sword,
    And in the foaming cups of ale
    The Berserks drank "Was-hael!
        To the Lord!"

--_Henry Wadsworth Longfellow._




    "Christians in old time did rejoice
    And feast at this blest tide."

--_Old Carol._

No country has entered more heartily into Yule-tide observance than
England. From the earliest known date her people have celebrated this
festival with great ceremony. In the time of the Celts it was
principally a religious observance, but this big, broad-shouldered
race added mirth to it, too. They came to the festivities in robes
made from the skins of brindled cows, and wearing their long hair
flowing and entwined with holly.

The Druids in the temples kept the consecrated fires burning briskly.
All household fires were extinguished, and any one wishing to rekindle
the flame at any time during the twelve days preceding Yule-tide must
buy the consecrated fire. The Druids also had a rather unique custom
of sending their young men around with Yule-tide greetings and
branches of mistletoe (_quiviscum_). Each family receiving this gift
was expected in return to contribute generously to the temples.

With the coming of the Saxons, higher revelry reigned, and a Saxon
observance of Yule-tide must have been a jolly sight to see. In the
center of the hall, upon the open hearth, blazed a huge fire with its
column of smoke pouring out through an opening in the thatched roof,
or, if beaten by the wind, wandering among the beams above. The
usually large family belonging to the house gathered in this big
living-room. The table stretched along one side of the room, and up
and down its great length the guests were seated in couples. Between
them was a half-biscuit of bread to serve as a plate. Later on this
would be thrown into the alms-basket for distribution among the poor.

Soon the servers entered carrying long iron spits on which they
brought pieces of the meats, fish, and fowls that had been roasted in
_isen pannas_ (iron pans) suspended from tripods out in the yard.
Fingers were used instead of forks to handle the food, and the
half-biscuit plates received the grease and juices and protected the
handsome _bord-cloth._

There was an abundance of food, for the Saxons were great eaters.
Besides flesh, fish, and fowls their gardens furnished plenty of beans
and other vegetables, and their _ort-geards_ produced raspberries,
strawberries, plums, sweet and sour apples, and _cod-apples_, or
quinces. The cider and stronger drinks were quaffed from quaint
round-bottomed tumblers which, as they could not stand up, had to be
emptied at a draught.

The Saxons dined at about eleven o'clock and, as business was not
pressing in those days, could well afford to spend hours at the feast,
eating, drinking, and making merry.

After every one had eaten, games were played, and these games are the
same as our children play to-day--handed down to us from the old Saxon

When night came and the _ear-thyrls_ (eyeholes, or windows) no longer
admitted the light of the sun, long candlesticks dipped in wax were
lighted and fastened into sockets along the sides of the hall. Then
the _makers_, or bards as they came to be called in later days, sang
of the gods and goddesses or of marvelous deeds done by the men of
old. Out-of-doors huge bonfires burned in honor of _Mother-Night_, and
to her, also, peace offerings of Yule cakes were made.

It was the Saxon who gave to the _heal-all_ of the Celts the pretty
name of mistletoe, or mistletan,--meaning a shoot or tine of a tree.
There was jollity beneath the mistletoe then as now, only then
everybody believed in its magic powers. It was the sovereign remedy
for all diseases, but it seems to have lost its curative power, for
the scientific men of the present time fail to find that it possesses
any medical qualities.

Later on, when the good King Alfred was on the English throne, there
were greater comforts and luxuries among the Saxons. Descendants of
the settlers had built halls for their families near the original
homesteads, and the wall that formerly surrounded the home of the
settler was extended to accommodate the new homes until there was a
town within the enclosure. Yule within these homes was celebrated with
great pomp. The walls of the hall were hung with rich tapestries, the
food was served on gold and silver plates, and the tumblers, though
sometimes of wood or horn, were often of gold and silver, too.

In these days the family dressed more lavishly. Men wore long, flowing
ringlets and forked beards. Their tunics of woolen, leather, linen, or
silk, reached to the knees and were fastened at the waist by a girdle.
Usually a short cloak was worn over the tunic. They bedecked
themselves with all the jewelry they could wear; bracelets, chains,
rings, brooches, head-bands, and other ornaments of gold and precious

Women wore their best tunics made either of woolen woven in many
colors or of silk embroidered in golden flowers. Their "abundant
tresses," curled by means of hot irons, were confined by the richest
_head-rails._ The more fashionable wore cuffs and bracelets, earrings
and necklaces, and painted their cheeks a more than hectic flush.

In the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries the magnificence of the
Yule-tide observance may be said to have reached its height. In the
old baronial halls where:

    "The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
    Went roaring up the chimney wide,"

Christmas was kept with great jollity.

It was considered unlucky to have the holly brought into the house
before Christmas Eve, so throughout the week merry parties of young
people were out in the woods gathering green boughs, and on Christmas
Eve, with jest and song, they came in laden with branches to decorate
the hall.

    "Lo, now is come our joyfull'st feast!
    Let every man be jolly,
    Eache room with yvie leaves be drest.
    And every post with holly."

Later on, men rolled in the huge Yule-log, emblematic of warmth and
light. It was of oak if possible, the oak being sacred to Thor, and
was rolled into place amidst song and merriment. In one of these songs
the first stanza is:

    "Welcome be thou, heavenly King,
    Welcome born on this morning,
    Welcome for whom we shall sing,
          _Welcome Yule._"

The third stanza is addressed to the crowd:

    "Welcome be ye that are here,
    Welcome all, and make good cheer,
    Welcome all, another year;
          _Welcome Yule._"

Each member of the family, seated in turn upon the log, saluted it,
hoping to receive good luck. It was considered unlucky to consume the
entire log during Yule; if good luck was to attend that household
during the coming twelve months, a piece ought to be left over with
which to start the next year's fire.


    "Part must be kept wherewith to tende
    The Christmas log next yeare,
    And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend
    Can do no mischiefe theere."

The boar's head held the principal place of honor at the dinner. So
during September and October, when the boar's flesh was at its best,
hunters with well-trained packs of boar-hounds set out to track this
savage animal. They attacked the boar with spears, or surrounded him
and drove him into nets. He was a ferocious antagonist to both dogs
and men, and when sore pressed would wheel about, prepared to fight to
the death. Before the dogs could grip him by the ear, his one weak
point, and pin him down, his sharp teeth would often wound or even
kill both the hunter and his dogs. The pluckier the animal the louder
the praise sung in his honor when his head was brought into the hall.
The great head, properly soused, was borne in on an immense salver by
the "old blue-coated serving-man" on Christmas day. He was preceded by
the trumpeters and followed by the mummers, and thus in state the
boar's head was ushered in and assigned to its place on the table. The
father of the family or head of the household laid his hand on the
dish containing the "boar of atonement," as it was at one time called,
swearing to be faithful to his family and to fulfil all his
obligations as a man of honor. This solemn act was performed before
the carving by every man present. The carver had to be a man of
undaunted courage and untarnished reputation.

Next in honor at the feast was the peacock. It was sometimes served as
a pie with its head protruding from one side of the crust and its
wide-spread tail from the other; more often the bird was skinned,
stuffed with herbs and sweet spices, roasted, and then put into its
skin again, when with head erect and tail outspread it was borne into
the hall by a lady--as was singularly appropriate--and given the
second place on the table.

The feudal system gave scope for much magnificence at Yule-tide. At a
time when several thousand retainers[4] were fed daily at a single
castle or on a baron's estate, preparations for the Yule feast--the
great feast of the year--were necessarily on a large scale, and the
quantity of food reported to have been prepared on such occasions is
perfectly appalling to Twentieth-Century feasters.

[Footnote 4: The Earl of Warwick had some thirty thousand.]

Massinger wrote:

    "Men may talk of Country Christmasses,
    Their thirty-pound butter'd eggs, their pies of carp's tongue,
    Their pheasants drench'd with ambergris, the carcasses
    Of three fat wethers bruis'd for gravy, to
    Make sauces for a single peacock; yet their feasts
    Were fasts, compared with the City's."

In 1248 King Henry III held a feast in Westminster Hall for the poor
which lasted a week. Four years later he entertained one thousand
knights, peers, and other nobles, who came to attend the marriage of
Princess Margaret with Alexander, King of the Scots. He was generously
assisted by the Archbishop of York who gave £2700, besides six hundred
fat oxen. A truly royal Christmas present whether extorted or given of
free will!

More than a century later Richard II held Christmas at Litchfield and
two thousand oxen and two hundred tuns of wine were consumed. This
monarch was accustomed to providing for a large family, as he kept two
thousand cooks to prepare the food for the ten thousand persons who
dined every day at his expense.

Henry VIII, not to be outdone by his predecessors, kept one Yule-tide
at which the cost of the cloth of gold that was used alone amounted to
£600. Tents were erected within the spacious hall from which came the
knights to joust in tournament; beautiful artificial gardens were
arranged out of which came the fantastically dressed dancers. The
Morris (Moresque) Dance came into vogue in England during the reign of
Henry VII, and long continued to be a favorite. The dancers were
decorated from crown to toe in gay ribbon streamers, and cut all
manner of antics for the amusement of the guests. This dance held the
place at Yule that the Fool's Dance formerly held during the Roman

Henry VIII's daughter, Elizabeth, kept the season in great
magnificence at Hampton Court where plays written for the occasion
were presented. The poet Herrick favored:

    "Of Christmas sports, the wassell boule,
    That's tost up after Fox-i-th'-hole."

This feature of Yule observance, which is usually attributed to
Rowena, daughter of Vortigern, dates back to the grace-cup of the
Greeks and Romans which is also the supposed source of the _bumper._
According to good authority the word _bumper_ came from the grace-cup
which Roman Catholics drank to the Pope, _au bon Père._ The wassail
bowl of spiced ale has continued in favor ever since the Princess
Rowena bade her father's guests _Wassheil._

The offering of gifts at Yule has been observed since offerings were
first made to the god Frey for a fruitful year. In olden times one of
the favorite gifts received from tenants was an orange stuck with
cloves which the master was to hang in his wine vessels to improve the
flavor of the wine and prevent its moulding.

As lords received gifts from their tenants, so it was the custom for
kings to receive gifts from their nobles. Elizabeth received a goodly
share of her wardrobe as gifts from her courtiers, and if the quality
or quantity was not satisfactory, the givers were unceremoniously
informed of the fact. In 1561 she received at Yule a present of a pair
of black silk stockings knit by one of her maids, and never after
would she wear those made of cloth. Underclothing of all kinds,
sleeves richly embroidered and bejeweled, in fact everything she
needed to wear, were given to her and she was completely fitted out
at this season.

In 1846 Sir Henry Cole is said to have originated the idea of sending
Christmas cards to friends. They were the size of small
visiting-cards, often bearing a small colored design--a spray of
holly, a flower, or a bit of mistletoe--and the compliments of the
day. Joseph Crandall was the first publisher. Only about one thousand
were sold the first year, but by 1862 the custom of sending one of
these pretty cards in an envelope or with gifts to friends became
general and has now spread to other countries.

During the Reformation the custom of observing Christmas was looked
upon as sacrilegious. It savored of popery, and in the narrowness of
the light then dawning the festival was abolished except in the
Anglican and Lutheran Churches. Tenants and neighbors no longer
gathered in the hall on Christmas morning to partake freely of the
ale, blackjacks, cheese, toast, sugar, and nutmeg. If they sang at
all, it was one of the pious hymns considered suitable-and
sufficiently doleful--for the occasion. One wonders if the young men
ever longed for the sport they used to have on Christmas morning when
they seized any cook who had neglected to boil the _hackin_[5] and
running her round the market-place at full speed attempted to shame
her of her laziness.

[Footnote 5: Authorities differ as to whether this was a big sausage
or a plum pudding.]

_Protestants_ were _protesting_ against the observance of the day;
Puritans were working toward its abolishment; and finally, on December
24, 1652, Parliament ordered "That no observance shall be had of the
five and twentieth day of December, commonly called Christmas day;
nor any solemnity used or exercised in churches upon that day in
respect thereof."

Then Christmas became a day of work and no cheer. The love of fun
which must find vent was expended at New Year, when the celebration
was similar to that formerly observed at Christmas. But people were
obliged to bid farewell to the Christmas Prince who used to rule over
Christmas festivities at Whitehall, and whose short reign was always
one of rare pleasure and splendor. He and other rulers of pastimes
were dethroned and banished from the kingdom. Yule cakes, which the
feasters used to cut in slices, toast, and soak in spicy ale, were not
to be eaten--or certainly not on Christmas. It was not even allowable
for the pretty Yule candles to be lighted.

Christmas has never regained its former prestige in England. Year
after year it has been more observed in churches and families, but not
in the wild, boisterous, hearty style of olden times. Throughout Great
Britain Yule-tide is now a time of family reunions and social
gatherings. Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Islands each retain a
few of their own peculiar customs, but they are not observed to any
extent. In Ireland--or at least in some parts--they still indulge in
drinking what is known as _Lamb's-wool_, which is made by bruising
roasted apples and mixing the juice with ale or milk. This drink,
together with apples and nuts, is considered indispensable on
Christmas Eve.

England of all countries has probably known the merriest of
Yule-tides, certainly the merriest during those centuries when the
mummers of yore bade to each and all

    "A merry Christmas and a happy New Year,
    Your pockets full of money and your cellar full of beer."

There seems always to have been more or less anxiety felt regarding
New Year's Day in England, for "If the morning be red and dusky it
denotes a year of robberies and strife."

    "If the grass grows in Janivear
    It grows the worse for 't all the year."

And then very much depended upon the import of the chapter to which
one opened the Bible on this morning. If the first visitor chanced to
be a female, ill luck was sure to follow, although why it should is
not explained.

It was very desirable to obtain the "cream of the year" from the
nearest spring, and maidens sat up till after midnight to obtain the
first pitcherful of water, supposed to possess remarkable virtues.
Modern plumbing and city water-pipes have done away with the
observance of the "cream of the year," although the custom still
prevails of sitting up to see the Old Year out and the New Year in.

There was also keen anxiety felt as to how the wind blew on New Year's
Eve, for

    "If New Year's Eve night wind blow South,
    It betokeneth warmth and growth;
    If West, much milk, and fish in the sea;
    If North, much cold and storm there will be;
    If East, the trees will bear much fruit;
    If Northeast, flee it man and brute."


    At Christmas time the fields are white,
      And hill and valley all bedight
    With snowy splendor, while on high
    The black crows sail athwart the sky,
    Mourning for summer days gone by
            At Christmas time.

    At Christmas time the air is chill,
      And frozen lies the babbling rill:
    While sobbingly the trees make moan
    For leafy greenness once their own,
    For blossoms dead and birdlings flown
            At Christmas time.

    At Christmas time we deck the hall
      With holly branches brave and tall,
    With sturdy pine and hemlock bright,
    And in the Yule-log's dancing light
    We tell old tales of field and fight
            At Christmas time.

    At Christmas time we pile the board
      With flesh and fruit and vintage stored,
    And mid the laughter and the glow
    We tred a measure soft and slow,
    And kiss beneath the mistletoe
            At Christmas time.

    O God and Father of us all,
      List to Thy lowliest creature's call:
    Give of Thy joy to high and low,
    Comforting the sorrowing in their woe;
    Make wars to cease and love to grow
            At Christmas time.

    Let not one heart be sad to-day;
      May every child be glad and gay:
    Bless Thou Thy children great and small,
    In lowly hut or castle hall,
    And may each soul keep festival
            At Christmas time.


    "A good New Year, with many blessings in it!"
    Once more go forth the kindly wish and word.
    A good New Year! and may we all begin it
    With hearts by noble thought and purpose stirred.

    The Old Year's over, with its joy and sadness;
    The path before us is untried and dim;
    But let us take it with the step of gladness,
    For God is there, and we can trust in Him.

    What of the buried hopes that lie behind us!
    Their graves may yet grow flowers, so let them rest.
    To-day is ours, and it must find us
    Prepared to hope afresh and do our best.

    God _knows_ what finite wisdom only _guesses_;
    Not here from our dim eyes the mist will roll.
    What we call failures, He may deem successes
    Who sees in broken parts the perfect whole.

    And if we miss some dear familiar faces,
    Passed on before us to the Home above,
    Even while we count, through tears, their vacant places,
    He heals our sorrows with His balm of Love.

    No human lot is free from cares and crosses,
    Each passing year will bring both shine and shower;
    Yet, though on troubled seas life's vessel tosses,
    The storms of earth endure but for an hour.

    And should the river of our happy laughter
    Flow 'neath a sky no cloud yet overcasts,
    We will not fear the shadows coming after,
    But make the most of sunshine while it lasts.

    A good New Year! Oh, let us all begin it
    With cheerful faces turning to the light!
    A good New Year, which will have blessings in it
    If we but persevere and do aright.

--_E. Matheson._




    "Feed the wood and have a joyful minute,
    For the seeds of earthly suns are in it."


It was away back in the time of Alexander the Great that Germany was
made known to the civilized world by an adventurous sailor named
Pytheas, a man of more than ordinary talent, who was sailing
northward and discovered a land inhabited by a then unknown people. He
reported his discovery to the Romans, but the difficulty was that
Pytheas had seen so much more than any of the Greeks or Romans of
those days that they utterly refused to believe his statements. Time
has proved that the sailor was nearer right in many of his apparently
visionary statements than his countrymen dreamed, although it has
taken centuries to prove the fact in some cases.

The people whom Pytheas then introduced to the polite world were
Teutons, a branch of the great Aryan race and closely related to the
early English. The men were simple, truthful, and brave, but were
sadly addicted to drink, it was said, and consequently were often
quarrelsome. The women were much like those of to-day in their
characteristics: virtuous, proud, and dignified; very beautiful, with
golden-hued hair, blue eyes, and fresh, fair complexions. Like most of
the early peoples, the Teutons worshiped gods and goddesses, and so
have many customs and traditions in common with other branches of the

If England has enjoyed the merriest Yule-tides of the past, certainly
Germany enjoys the merriest of the present, for in no other country is
the day so fully and heartily observed. It is the great occasion of
the year and means much to the people.

For a week or more before the day, loads of evergreen trees of all
sizes may be seen coming into the cities and towns to be piled up in
squares and open places until the entire place looks like a forest of
small firs. One wonders where they all come from and for how many
years the supply will last, but it is not likely to fail at present.

The Lutherans gave Martin Luther the credit of introducing the
Christmas tree into Germany. He may have helped to make it popular,
but certainly there is abundant evidence to prove that it was known
long before the Reformer's time. It is generally supposed to have its
origin in mythological times and to be a vestige of the marvelous
tree, Yggdrasil.

Possibly Martin Luther thought of the old story of the tree and
imagined, as he traveled alone one cold night, how pretty the
snow-laden fir-trees along his path would look could they be lighted
by the twinkling stars overhead. But whether he had anything to do
with it or not, the tree is now one of the most important features of
Yule-tide among the Germans of all denominations.

Nearly ten million households require one or two trees each Christmas,
varying in height from two to twenty feet. Societies provide them for
people who are too poor to buy them, and very few are overlooked at
this happy holiday season.

The grand Yule-tide festival is opened on the eve of St. Nicholas Day,
December sixth; in fact bazaars are held from the first of the month,
which is really one prolonged season of merrymaking.

In Germany, St. Nicholas has a day set apart in his honor. He was born
in. Palara, a city of Lycia, and but very little is known of his life
except that he was made Bishop of Myra and died in the year 343. It
was once the custom to send a man around to personate St. Nicholas on
St. Nicholas Eve, and to inquire how the children had behaved through
the year, who were deserving of gifts, and who needed a touch of the
birch rods that he carried with him into every home. St. Nicholas
still goes about in some parts of the country, and in the bazaars and
shops are sold little bunches of rods, real or made of candy, such as
St. Nicholas is supposed to deal in. In some places Knight Rupert
takes the place of St. Nicholas in visiting the houses. But Kriss
Kringle has nearly usurped the place St. Nicholas once held in awe and
respect by German children.


How the rough figures are chipped from the wooden ring coming from the
cross-section of a tree.]

Because St. Nicholas Day came so near to Christmas, in some countries
the Saint became associated with that celebration, although in Germany
the eve of his birthday continues to be observed. Germans purchase
liberally of the toys and confectionery offered at the bazaars, and
nowhere are prettier toys and confectionery found than in Germany--the
country which furnishes the most beautiful toys in the world.

From the palace to the hut, Yule-tide is a season of peace, rest, joy,
and devotion. For three days, that is the day before Christmas,
Christmas, and the day after--known as Boxing-day--all business not
absolutely necessary to the welfare of the community is suspended.
Stores, markets, and bazaars present a festive appearance; the young
girl attendants are smiling and happy, and every one seems in the best
of humor.

Many of the poorer class, of Germans do not eat much meat, but at
Christmas all indulge in that extravagance, so the markets are
unusually crowded. They all like to purchase a plant or a flower for
Christmas and the flower stores are marvels of beauty and sweetness.

Every one is busy preparing for the great occasion. Grown folks become
children again in the simplicity of their enjoyment and enter into the
excitement with as much enthusiasm as do the children.

Newspapers are not generally published during the three days of
business suspension, for no one would have time or interest to read
them at such a season.

In many places churches are open during the week before Christmas, for
with all the bustle and excitement incident to the preparations, the
people, young and old, are filled with a deep spirit of devotion, and
never for an instant forget the significance of the occasion they

Churches are not trimmed nor are they made attractive with flowers,
songs, or in any special way, but the people go to listen with
devotion to the telling of the old, old story of Christ's birthday and
of the first Holy Night at Bethlehem.

The day before Christmas all are busy trimming up their homes and
preparing for the great day. Usually the mother of the household trims
the tree, not admitting any other member of the curious and expectant
family into the room. Tables are provided for holding the gifts, as
every one in the family is expected to make a gift to every other
member, and it is surprising to note the interest taken in these
simple gifts--often a soap-rose, an artificial flower, knitted lace,
even sausages, cheese, or butter--and with each and all the
ever-present Christmas cake. It is spiced and hard, cut into every
manner of device--men, women, animals, stars, hearts, etc. The
_Pfeffer Kuchen_ (pepper cakes) or some similar cakes are to be seen
everywhere at Christmas time.

The gifts are often accompanied with short verses, good, bad, or
indifferent, according to the talent of the giver, but all serve to
make the occasion merry. In some families these simple inexpensive
gifts are so carefully kept that collections may be seen of gifts
received by different members of the family since their infancy.


On Christmas Eve the guests assemble early, and by six o'clock a
signal is given for the door of the mysterious room to be opened to
admit the family to the tree:

    "O Hemlock tree! O Hemlock-tree! how faithful are thy branches!
          Green not alone in summer time,
          But in the winter's frost and rime!
    O Hemlock-tree! O Hemlock-tree! how faithful are thy branches!"

It is ablaze with tiny lighted tapers and radiant with shiny tinsel
cut in pretty devices or in thread-like strips. Bright balls, gay
toys, and paper flowers help to enhance its beauty, and sometimes
scenes from sacred history are arranged with toys at the base of the

With the distribution of the gifts the fun begins; each person is
expected to kiss every other person present and help make the occasion
a merry one.

Holy Night, or, as the Germans term it, _Weihnacht_--the Night of
Dedication--is the time of family reunions, fun, and frolic. Not alone
in homes, hospitals, prisons, barracks, and elsewhere is the pretty
betinseled tree to be seen on Christmas, but in burying-grounds, on
the resting-places of the dead, stand these fresh green trees in
evidence of keeping the loved one's memory green.

While the custom of having a tree is universal throughout Germany, and
from thence has been introduced into other countries, there are many
customs peculiar to certain sections. In some of the little
out-of-the-way places in the Tyrolese Alps the old-time Miracle Plays
are enacted in a most primitive manner. As the peasants rarely, if
ever, attend the theatre or have any opportunity to see a modern play,
this occasion attracts them from far and near. Where is the theatre,
who are the actors, do you ask? The theatre is the largest place
available, sometimes a large room, sometimes a barn, anything that
will accommodate the crowd that is sure to come. In one description of
a play given on Christmas Day it is stated that the people assembled
in a barn belonging to the vicarage to witness the Paradise Play. The
top of a huge pottery stove at least five feet high served for the
throne of God the Father, the stove being hidden by screens painted
to represent clouds. The play "began at the beginning,"--at Chaos. A
large paper screen bedecked with a profusion of suns, moons, stars,
and comets formed a background, while in front sprawled a number of
boys in tights with board wings fastened to their shoulders to
represent angels. The language was as simple and primitive as the
scenery, yet for the credulous, devout peasants "no distance is too
great, no passes too steep or rough, no march on dusty highroads too
fatiguing, if a Miracle or Passion Play is their goal."

Does it seem sacrilegious? Not to those who attend it in the spirit of
humility and devotion, as do these Tyrolese peasants. In some places
plays are given in churches on Christmas as they were formerly in
England, but these are not common, and are only found in remote
places. Throughout this country there is always a church service in
the morning which is very generally attended, Protestants and
Catholics alike making Christmas the day of all the year in which they
attend church.

The name Christmas probably originated from the order that was given
for saying mass (called Christ-mass) for the sins of the people on the
day that commemorates the Saviour's Birth.

One beautiful feature of a German Christmas is the wide-spread thought
for the poor and the interest taken in them. Many wealthy families
have charge of a certain number of poor families, and on Christmas Day
invite them to their own luxurious homes to receive gifts and enjoy
the tree prepared for them. An address, prayer, and song as they stand
around the tree precedes the distribution of gifts, usually of
clothing and food, with which the guests fill the bags and baskets
they bring with them. And for all there is an abundance of _Pfeffer
Kuchen_, or some other Christmas cake.

In the midst of all the excitement of lighted tree and pretty gifts,
German children seldom forget to return thanks for what they receive.
They are taught that all these gifts come through the Christ-child,
and that the occasion is not for selfish enjoyment but to give
pleasure to others, and that no one is too poor to give kindly thought
and pleasant words to those around them.

In some parts of Germany--Lorraine is one--the people burn the
Yule-log; sometimes a huge log that will last through the three days'
festivity, sometimes one so small that the family sit before it until
it is all consumed. Sometimes a part of the log is suspended from the
ceiling of the room and each person present blows at it hoping to make
a spark fall on some watching face; then again some carry a piece of
the log to bed with them to protect them from lightning. But the
Yule-log is not very generally known in this land of great pottery
stoves and closed fireplaces, and that may be one reason why
post-wagons go rumbling about at Christmas time, carrying parcels from
place to place and from door to door, blowing their post-horns
continuously, instead of the parcels being dropped down chimneys by
Santa Claus.

It is customary, also, in some parts of the country, for the people
and their animals to fast the day before Christmas. At midnight the
people attend church and it is _said_ that the _cattle kneel_; then
both man and beast partake of a hearty meal. There are places in the
German Alps where it is believed that the cattle are blessed with the
gift of language for a while on Christmas Eve, but as it is a very
great sin to listen, no one has yet reported any conversation among
them. In another part of the country it is thought that the Virgin
Mary with a company of angels passes over the land on Holy Night, and
so tables are spread with the best the larders afford and candles are
lighted and left burning that the angelic visitors may find abundant
food should they chance to stop on their way.

Boxing-day, when boxes prepared for the poor are distributed, follows
the Holy Day and after that business is resumed, although festivities
do not cease.

Sylvester, or New Year's Eve, is the next occasion to be observed
during Yule-tide. The former name was given in honor of the first
pope of that name, and still retained by many. After the usual church
service in the early evening, the intervening hours before midnight
are spent in the most boisterous merriment. Fun of all sorts within
the limit of law and decency prevails. Any one venturing forth wearing
a silk hat is in danger of having his hat, if not his head, smashed.
"Hat off," cries the one who spies one of these head-coverings, and if
the order is not instantly obeyed, woe betide the luckless wearer. At
midnight all Germany, or at least all in the cities and the larger
towns, may be seen out-of-doors or leaning from windows, waiting for
the bells to ring out the Old Year and welcome in the New. At first
stroke of the bells there arises one universal salute of _Prosit
Neujahr_ (Happy New Year). It is all good-natured fun, a wild,
exuberant farewell to the Old Year--the closing scene of the joyous


    The oak is a strong and stalwart tree,
      And it lifts its branches up,
    And catches the dew right gallantly
      In many a dainty cup:
    And the world is brighter and better made
      Because of the woodman's stroke,
    Descending in sun, or falling in shade,
      On the sturdy form of the oak.
    But stronger, I ween, in apparel green,
      And trappings so fair to see,
    With its precious freight for small and great,
      Is the beautiful Christmas tree.

    The elm is a kind and goodly tree,
      With its branches bending low:
    The heart is glad when its form we see,
      And we list to the river's flow.
    Ay, the heart is glad and the pulses bound,
      And joy illumes the face,
    Whenever a goodly elm is found
      Because of its beauty and grace.
    But kinder, I ween, more goodly in mien,
    With branches more drooping and free,
    The tint of whose leaves fidelity weaves,
    Is the beautiful Christmas tree.

--_Hattie S. Russell._




    The horn was blown for silence, come was the votive hour;
    To Frey's high feast devoted they carry in the boar.

--_Frithof's "Saga," Trans. Bayard Taylor._

"To Norroway, to Norroway," the most northern limit of Scandinavia,
one turns for the first observance of Christmas in Scandinavia, for
the keeping of Yule-tide in the land of Odin, of the Vikings, Sagas,
midnight sun, and the gorgeous Aurora Borealis. This one of the twin
countries stretching far to the north with habitations within nineteen
degrees of the North Pole, and the several countries which formed
ancient Scandinavia, are one in spirit regarding Christmas although
not in many other respects.

In the far north among the vast tribe of Lapps, in their cold,
benighted country, as Christmas approaches each wandering tribe heads
its reindeer toward the nearest settlement containing a church, that
it may listen to the story of the first Christmas morn which is told
year after year by the pastor, and yet is ever new and interesting to
the people who come from great distances, drawn over the fields of
crisp snow by their fleet-footed reindeer.

The Lapp is apparently a joyless individual. Men, women, and children
seem bereft of all power of amusement beyond what tends to keep them
alive, such as fishing, hunting, and traveling about to feed their
herds of reindeer. They have no games, no gift for music, they never
dance nor play cards, but year after year drag out an existence,
living within low earth-covered huts or in tents. Even the best homes
are low and poorly ventilated. For windows are not needed where
darkness reigns for months together, where the sun is not seen at all
during six or seven weeks of the year, and where people live
out-of-doors during the long summer day of sunlight that follows.

In their low, stuffy homes which at Christmas are filled with guests
from the wandering Lapps, there is no room for the pretty tree and
decorative evergreens. The joy afforded these people at Yule-tide is
in the reunion of friends, in attending church services, in the
uniting of couples in marriage, and, alas, in the abundance of liquor
freely distributed during this season. The children are made happy by
being able to attend school, for at Christmas they are brought into
the settlements with friends for this purpose. They have only a few
weeks' schooling during the year, from Christmas to Easter, and while
the schoolmasters are stationed at the little towns, the children work
hard to gain the knowledge of books and religion which they crave.

In this terrible winter night of existence, amidst an appalling
darkness of Nature and Mind, the one great occasion of the year is
Christmas. Not the merry, bright, festive occasion of their more
favored brothers and sisters, but what to them is the happiest in the

Christmas Eve passes unnoticed. The aurora may be even more beautiful
than usual, its waving draperies more fantastic, more gorgeous-hued,
but it is unnoticed by the Lapps who have seen it from childhood. Men,
women, children, servants, guests, and animals, crowd into the small,
low homes, without a thought of Santa Claus coming to visit them.
Children have no stockings to hang up, and there are no chimneys for
Santa to descend. In fact, he and his reindeer, with their loads of
treasured gifts, probably left this region with the sun, bound for
more congenial places.

The church bells break the terrible silence of the sunless towns on
Christmas morning, and as the fur-encased natives wend their way to
church, greeting one another as they meet, there is a faint approach
to joyousness. Of course there must be real sorrow and joy wherever
there is life and love, although among the Lapps it is hard to

During Yule-tide the Lapps visit one another, attend to what
governmental business there may be, give in marriage, christen the
children, and bury the dead, whose bodies have lain beneath their
covering of snow awaiting this annual visit of the Norwegian clergyman
for their final interment.

Think of Christmas without a tree, without wreaths and flowers,
without stockings full of gifts, with a dinner of reindeer meat and no
plum pudding! And imagine what would be his sensation could a Lapp
child be put into a home in England, America, Germany, or even in
other parts of Scandinavia! What would he say could he receive such
gifts as were given you last Christmas!

But Lapps are only a small part of the population of Norway. Norwegian
children have many jolly times around the Christmas trees and enjoy
hunting for their little gifts which are often tucked away in various
places for them to find. Then there are all sorts of pretty games for
them to play and quantities of appetizing food prepared for their
pleasure. The young folks earn their feast, for all day long before
Christmas they are busy tying bunches of oats and corn on the trees,
the fences, the tops of houses and of barns, and on high poles which
they erect in the yards, until

    "From gable, barn and stable
    Protrudes the birdies' table
    Spread with a sheaf of corn."

The Norwegians begin their Christmas with divine services, after which
they meet together for a repast which is an appetizer for the feast
to follow. A pipe of tobacco is given to each man and boy present,
then they smoke while the feast, the great feature of the day, is
being made ready. Fish, poultry, meats, and every variety of food
known to the Norwegian housewife is served in courses, between which
toasts are given, healths drunk, and the songs of Norway rendered.
Among the latter "Old Norway" is always included, for the people never
forget the past history of their beloved country.

One of the pretty customs of these occasions is that each guest on
arising turns to the host and hostess, who remain seated at either end
of the table, and, bowing to each, expresses his thanks for the meal.


Sometimes after the serving of tea at seven o'clock, little boys in
white mantles, with star-shaped lanterns and dolls to represent the
Virgin and the Holy Babe, enter the room and sing sweet carols. Often
strolling musicians arrive, such as go from place to place at
Christmas. After a large supper the guests depart on sledges for their
homes, which are often miles distant.

Do you suppose on Christmas Eve, as they look toward the fading light
in the West, the children of Norway ever think of their Scandinavian
cousins, the little Icelanders, in their peat houses, on that isolated
island in the sea, where the shortest day is four hours long, and
where at Christmas time the sun does not rise above the horizon for a
week, and wonder how they are celebrating Yule-tide?

Christmas is a great day with them also, for they cling to the old
songs and customs, and could the west wind convey the sound of glad
voices across the wide expanse of water separating the island from
the mainland, Norwegian children might hear the Icelandic children
singing one of their sweet old songs.

    "When I do good and think aright
    At peace with man, resigned to God,
    Thou look'st on me with eyes of light,
    Tasting new joys in joy's abode."

In Sweden there is a general house-cleaning before Christmas;
everything must be polished, scrubbed, beaten, and made clean, and all
rubbish burned, for dirt, like sinful thoughts, cannot be tolerated
during the holy festival.

As early as the first of December each housewife starts her
preparations for the great day. Many have worked all the year making
gifts for the occasion, but now the carpets must come up and be
beaten, the paint must be cleaned, and the house set in order. The
silver which has been handed down from generation to generation,
together with that received on holidays and birthdays, has to be
cleaned and polished, so must the brasses--the tall fire-dogs, the
stately andirons, and the great kettles--all must be made to reflect
every changing ray of light.

Then the baking for a well-ordered household is a matter of great
moment, and requires ample time. It is usual to begin at least two
weeks before Christmas. Bread is made of wheat and rye flour, raised
over night, then rolled very thin and cut into discs twelve or
fourteen inches in diameter, with a hole in the center. After having
been baked, these are strung on a stick and left to dry under the
beams of the baking-room. As they will keep a long while, large
quantities are made at this season in each household.

Then follows the making of sweetened, soft, rye, wheat, and other
breads, as well as the baking of the light yellow (saffron), the
chocolate-brown, and thin gray-colored cakes, and those that are
filled with custard.

The preparing of Christmas drinks always requires the close attention
of good dames, for there must be an inexhaustible supply of Christmas
beer, made of malt, water, molasses, and yeast, and wine with almonds
and spices, and various other decoctions.

Then the cheese must be made ready, not only the usual sour kind, but
the more delicious sweet cheese that is made of sweet milk boiled
slowly for hours and prettily moulded.

The Swedish wife is relieved of the burden of making pies, as her
people know nothing about that indigestible mixture so acceptable to
American palates.

The festivities begin with the dressing of the tree the day before
Christmas. In this the older members of the family, with friends and
relatives, join with great gusto, preparing paper flowers with which
to bedeck the tall evergreen tree which reaches from floor to ceiling.

They cut long ribbons of colored paper for streamers, and make yards
of paper fringe to wind with the tinsel among the boughs, from which
are hung bright colored boxes of sweetmeats, fruit, and fancy balls.

The children are, of course, excluded from the room and obliged to
content themselves with repeating the tales of Santa Claus, as told by
their elders. When a gift is offered in person, or, as is more
generally the case, is thrown in the door suddenly by an unseen hand,
there rings a merry _Glad Frill_ (Good Yule) meaning "Merry
Christmas," for that is the wish of the preceding day or days, rather
than of Christmas itself.

On Christmas Eve at early nightfall, when the colored candles are
ablaze over the entire tree, and the great red ball of light shines
from its topmost branches, the children are admitted to the room
amidst a babel of shouts and screams of delight, which are increased
upon the arrival of a veritable Santa Claus bestrewn with wool-snow
and laden with baskets of gifts. On the huge sled are one or more
baskets according to the number of bundles to be distributed in the
family. Each bundle bears the name of the owner on its wrapper,
together with funny rhymes and mottoes, which are read aloud for the
amusement of all. Santa Claus always gives an abundance of valuable
counsel and advice to the young folks as he bestows upon them his
pretty gifts.

After the distribution of gifts and the disappearance of Santa Claus,
all join in dancing and singing around the tree simple, childish
jingles such as the following:

    "Now is Christmas here again,
    Now is Christmas here again,
    After Christmas then comes Easter,
    Cheese and bread and Christmas beer,
    Fish and rice and Christmas cheer!

One of the prettiest dances is that of "Cutting the Oats," in which
girls and boys--there must be an extra boy--dance in a circle,

    "Cut the oats, cut the oats,
    Who is going to bind them?
    That my dearest will have to do,
    But where will I find him?

    "I saw him last eve in the moonlight,
    In the moonlight clear and bright,
    So you take one and I'll take one,
    And he will be left without one."

The boys represent the cutters and the girls the oats, and great
merriment prevails as the cutters' arms encircle the waists of the
pretty oats, leaving the unfortunate cutter, whom they all dance
around, bowing scoffingly as they shout:

    "No one did want you,
       Poor sprite, no one wants you,
    You are left alone,
       You are left alone."

Many of their games are similar to "Blind Man's Buff," "Hunt the Key,"
and "Hot and Cold," or "Hunt to the Music," the latter being one which
by its modulations from pianissimo to forte indicate the hunters'
nearness to the object sought for. The game of "Blind Feeding the
Blind" causes much amusement among the juveniles; two players sit
opposite each other blindfolded and endeavor to feed one another with
spoonfuls of milk, and their mishaps are very entertaining to the

Between the hours of ten and eleven comes the grand Christmas supper,
when all adjourn to the dining-room to partake of the annual feast for
which the housewives have long been preparing. The table is usually
tastefully and often elaborately trimmed with flowers and green
leaves. The corners of the long snow-white homespun cloth are caught
up into rosettes surrounded with long calla or other leaves; possibly
the entire edge of the table is bedecked with leaves and flowers. The
butter is moulded into a huge yellow rose resting on bright green
leaves, and the napkins assume marvelous forms under the deft fingers
of the artistic housewives.

The Christmas mush holds the first place in importance among the
choice viands of the occasion; it is rice boiled a long while in milk
and seasoned with salt, cinnamon, and sugar, and is eaten with cream.
Several blanched almonds are boiled in the mush and it is confidently
believed that whoever finds the first almond will be the first to be
married. While eating the mush, each one is expected to make rhymes
about the rice and the good luck it is to bring them, and the most
remarkable poetical effusions are in order on these occasions.

The Christmas fish is to the Swede what the Christmas roast-beef is to
the Englishman, an indispensable adjunct of the festival. The fish
used resembles a cod; it is buried for days in wood ashes or else it
is soaked in soda water, then boiled and served with milk gravy.
Bread, cheese, and a few vegetables follow, together with a pudding
made of salt herrings, skinned, boned, and cut in thin slices, which
are laid in a dish with slices of cold boiled potatoes and hard-boiled
eggs, covered with a dressing of cream, butter, and eggs-then baked
and served hot.

The fish, rice, and a fat goose are said to be served at every table
on Christmas from that of the king to that of the commonest of his

Christmas morning opens with an early service in church, to which the
older members of the family go in sled parties of from forty to fifty
sleds, each drawn by one, two, or even three horses, over whose backs
jingle rows of silver-toned bells. The sled parties are an especial
feature of Christmas time. They start out while the stars are still
twinkling in the sky, and the lighted trees are illuminating the homes
they pass.

The day itself is observed with less hilarity than other days during
the season; the "Second Christmas," or day following, being far gayer.
Then begin the family parties, with the looking forward to the great
Twelfth-Night ball, after which the children and young folks end their
evening parties by untrimming the tree of their entertainer amidst
peals of laughter, songs, and shouts.

The tree, of course, has been supplied anew with candles, fruit, and
candy. The first are blown out and the last two struggled for while
the tree is drawn slowly toward the door out of which it is finally
pitched by the merry crowd.

The Swedes have four legal holidays at Yule, beginning the day
previous to Christmas, and they make merry while they last. Besides
having the _Jul-gran_ or Christmas tree, each family places in the
yard a pole with a sheaf of grain on top for the birds' Christmas
dinner, a pretty custom common to many countries.

Business is very generally suspended during Christmas, the day
following, Twelfth Day, and the twentieth day.

"Do as your forefathers have done, and you can't do wrong," is said to
be the motto of the Swedes. So the customs of their forefathers are
strictly observed at Yule-tide.

_Svea_, the feminine name of Sweden, the "Queen of the North,"
contains what is popularly believed to be the burial-places of Wodin,
Thor, and Freya. The mounds are about one mile from Upsala and are
visited by travelers from all parts of the world. Antiquarian
researchers, however, have recently had a word to say in doubt whether
these mounds contain the remains of the renowned beings, those ancient
travelers. The Swedes, however, still cling to the belief that the
bones of Wodin, the Alexander of the North, rest beneath the sod at
Upsala. In these mounds have been found the bones of a woman and of a
dog, a bracelet of filigree work, and a curious pin shaped like a
bird, but no sign of Wodin's presence. Yet peasants believe that Wodin
passes by on dark nights, and his horse's shoe, with eight nail-holes,
is exhibited in the museum at Utwagustorp.

New Year's Day is of comparatively little importance; the Christmas
trees are usually relighted for the enjoyment of the poorer children
and gifts are made to the needy. The Yule festivities are prolonged
for two weeks in many places, during which the people visit from home
to home and enjoy many social pleasures. The devout attend church
services each day, abandon all work so far as possible, and on
January thirteenth generally finish up the joyous season with a ball.

The Swedes do not trim their churches with evergreen at Yule-tide as
that is an emblem of mourning with them, and is used instead of crape
on the door and often strewn before the hearse and also upon the floor
in the saddened homes, so of course at Christmas they would not think
of using it for decorations. But where they can afford it or can
procure them, they use flowers to decorate their homes.

In Denmark, Christmas is a time of unusual merriment and rejoicing. No
one who can possibly avoid it works at all from the day before
Christmas until after New Year, but spends the time in visiting,
eating, and drinking. "May God bless your Christmas; may it last till
Easter," is the usual salutation of the season.

With the people of Denmark the favorite dish for Christmas dinner is a
goose; every one, even the cattle, the dog, and the birds, receive the
best the larder affords on this occasion. There is a peculiar kind of
cake that is made for each member of every family, and, for some
reason not explained, the saltcellar remains on the table throughout

Those who own fruit-trees feel it incumbent upon them to go at
midnight on Christmas Eve and with a stick in hand strike each tree
three times saying as they do so, "Rejoice, O Tree,--rejoice and be

In Denmark it is believed by many that the cattle rise on their knees
at midnight on Christmas Eve, but no one ever seems to have proved
this saying to be true.

In this country also the children delight in listening to stories of
trolls who have been driven to the island of Bornhern by the parsons
although they once ran riot through Zealand, and the little folks sing
pretty songs of Balder, the sun god, which are a special feature of
the season.

It is customary to usher in the New Year with a noise of firearms of
every description.


    Far over in Norway's distant realm,
      That land of ice and snow,
    Where the winter nights are long and drear,
      And the north winds fiercely blow,
    From many a low-thatched cottage roof,
      On Christmas eve, 'tis said,
    A sheaf of grain is hung on high,
      To feed the birds o'erhead.

    In years gone by, on Christmas eve,
      When the day was nearly o'er,
    Two desolate, starving birds flew past
      A humble peasant's door.
    "Look! Look!" cried one, with joyful voice
      And a piping tone of glee:
    "In that sheaf there is plenteous food and cheer,
      And the peasant had but three.
    One he hath given to us for food,
      And he hath but two for bread,
    But he gave it with smiles and blessings,
      'For the Christ-child's sake,' he said."

    "Come, come," cried the shivering little mate,
      "For the light is growing dim;
    'Tis time, ere we rest in that cosy nest,
      To sing our evening hymn."
    And this was the anthem they sweetly sang,
      Over and over again:
    "The Christ-child came on earth to bless
      The birds as well as men."

    Then safe in the safe, snug, warm sheaf they dwelt,
      Till the long, cold night was gone,
    And softly and clear the sweet church bells
      Rang out on the Christmas dawn,
    When down from their covert, with fluttering wings,
      They flew to a resting-place,
    As the humble peasant passed slowly by,
      With a sorrowful, downcast face.
    "Homeless and friendless, alas! am I,"
      They heard him sadly say,
    "For the sheriff," (he wept and wrung his hands)
      "Will come on New Year's day."

    The birdlings listened with mute surprise.
    "'Tis hard," they gently said;
    "He gave us a sheaf of grain for food,
      When he had but three for bread.
    We will pray to God, He will surely help
      This good man in distress;"
    And they lifted their voices on high, to crave
      His mercy and tenderness.
    Then again to the Christmas sheaf they flew,
      In the sunlight, clear and cold:
    "Joy! joy! each grain of wheat," they sang,
      "Is a shining coin of gold."

    "A thousand ducats of yellow gold,
      A thousand, if there be one;
    O master! the wonderful sight behold
      In the radiant light of the sun."
    The peasant lifted his tear-dimmed eyes
      To the shining sheaf o'erhead;
    "'Tis a gift from the loving hand of God,
      And a miracle wrought," he said.
    "For the Father of all, who reigneth o'er,
      His children will ne'er forsake,
    When they feed the birds from their scanty store,
      For the blessed Christ-child's sake."

    "The fields of kindness bear golden grain,"
      Is a proverb true and tried;
    Then scatter thine alms, with lavish hand,
      To the waiting poor outside;
    And remember the birds, and the song they sang,
      When the year rolls round again:
    "The Christ-child came on earth to bless
      The birds as well as men."

--_Mrs. A.M. Tomlinson._




    "Light--in the heavens high,
    And snow flashing bright;--
    Sledge in the distance
    In its lonely flight."


In this enormous kingdom which covers one-sixth of the land surface of
the globe, and where upwards of fifteen million human beings
celebrate in various ways the great winter festival of Yule-tide, it
will be found that the people retain many traditions of the
sun-worshipers, which shows that the season was once observed in honor
of the renewal of the sun's power. With them, however, the sun was
supposed to be a _female_, who, when the days began to lengthen,
entered her sledge, adorned in her best robes and gorgeous head-dress,
and speeded her horses summerward.

Russian myths indicate a connection with the Aryans in the remote
past; their songs of the wheel, the log, the pig or boar, all show a
common origin in centuries long gone by.

Russia to most minds is a country of cold, darkness, oppression, and
suffering, and this is true to an altogether lamentable extent. But it
is also a country of warmth, brightness, freedom, and happiness. In
fact, there are so many phases of life among its vast population that
descriptions of Russian life result about as satisfactorily as did
those of Saxe's "Three blind men of Hindustan," who went to see the
elephant. Each traveler describes the part he sees, just as each blind
man described the part he felt, and each believes he knows the whole.

There are certain general features of the Yule-tide observance that
are typical of the country. One is the singing of their ancient
_Kolyada_ songs, composed centuries ago by writers who are unknown.
They may have been sacrificial songs in heathen days, but are now sung
with fervor and devotion at Christmas time.

In some places a maiden dressed in white and drawn on a sledge from
house to house represents the goddess of the Sun, while her retinue
of maidens sing the _Kolyada_, or carols. Here again appears the
ancient custom of gift-making, for the maidens who attend the goddess
expect to receive gifts in appreciation of their songs.

The word _Kolyada_ is of doubtful origin. It may refer to the sun, a
wheel, or a sacrifice; there is no telling how, when, or where it
originated, but the singing of these songs has been a custom of the
people from time immemorial, and after the introduction of
Christianity it became a part of the Christmas festivities.

Ralston in his "Songs of the Russian People" gives the following
translation of one of these peculiar songs:

      "Kolyada! Kolyada!
      Kolyada has arrived.
    On the Eve of the Nativity,
      Holy Kolyada.
    Through all the courts, in all the alleys,
          We found Kolyada
          In Peter's Court.
    Round Peter's Court there is an iron fence,
    In the midst of the Court there are three rooms,
    In the first room is the bright Moon,
    In the second room the red Sun,
    And in the third room, the many Stars."

Strangely enough the Russians make the Moon the _master_ of the
mansion above, and the Sun the _mistress_, a twist about in the
conception of these luminaries worthy of the Chinese, and possibly
derived from some of Russia's Eastern invaders. In the above song, the
Stars, like dutiful children, all wish their luminous parents good

    "For many years, for many years."

In parts of Russia, the Virgin Mary and birds take the place of the
Sun and Stars in these songs, which are sung throughout the Yule
season by groups of young folks at social gatherings, or from house
to house, and form the leading feature of the Christmas festivities.

It is hard to realize that the stolid, fur-clad Russian is a child of
song, for such seem to belong to sunny climes, but throughout his life
from the cradle to the grave he is accompanied with song. Not modern
compositions, for they are quite inferior as a rule, but those
melodies composed ages ago and sung repeatedly through generation
after generation, usually accompanied with dancing in circles.

The _Kolyadki_ cover a variety of themes relating to the gods,
goddesses, and other celestial beings, to all of whom Christian
characteristics have been given until they now form the sacred songs
of Yule-tide.

On Christmas Eve it is customary for the people to fast until after
the first service in church. They pray before their respective icons,
or sacred pictures, recite psalms, and then all start for the church,
where the service is, in most respects, the same as in the Roman
Catholic Church. There are many denominations besides the established
church of the country that hold services on Christmas Eve; but to
whichever one goes, it is wise to hasten home and to get to bed in
season to have a pleasant Christmas Eve dream, as such is sure to come
true, according to Russian authority.

On _Welikikdenj_--Christmas--the people partake of an early meal. In
some parts of the country it is customary to send extremely formal
invitations in the name of the host to the guests who are expected to
arrive that day. These are delivered by a special messenger and read
somewhat as follows:

"My master and mistress beg you to consider, Father Artanon
Triphonowitsch, and you, Mother Agaphia Nelidowna, that for thousands
of years it has been thus; with us it has not commenced, with us it
will not end. Do not, therefore, disturb the festival; do not bring
the good people to despair. Without you there will be no pleasure at
Philimon Spicidonowitsch's, without you there will be no maiden
festival at Anna Karpowna's."


Who could absent himself after such an invitation as this? The place
of meeting has been decided upon weeks earlier, for it must be with a
well-to-do family possessing a large home to accommodate the guests
that usually assemble at Christmas. The "fair maidens," each with her
mother and retinue, arrive first on the scene, bringing cake and
sweetmeats and gifts for the servants. They would sooner freeze in
their sledges before the gate than be guilty of alighting without
first receiving the greeting of their host and hostess. Having been
welcomed, they next pray before the icon, and then are ready for the
pleasures arranged for them.

One peculiar phase of these house-parties is the selecting of partners
for the maidens, which is done by the hostess, the "elected" sometimes
proving satisfactory and sometimes not. They feast, play games, go
snowballing, and guess riddles, always having a jolly good time.
Reciters of _builinas_ (poems) are often present to sing and recite
the whole night through, for of song and poetry the Russian never

A pretty custom very generally observed is the blessing of the house
and household. The priest visits each home in his district,
accompanied by boys bearing a vessel of holy water; the priest
sprinkles each room with the water, each person present kissing the
cross he carries and receiving his benediction as he proceeds from
room to room. Thus each home is sanctified for the ensuing year.

The familiar greeting of "Merry Christmas" is not heard in Russia
unless among foreigners, the usual salutation on this day being
"Greetings for the Lord's birth," to which the one addressed replies,
"God be with you."

The observance of New Year on January first, according to the
Gregorian Calendar, was instituted by Peter the Great in 1700. The
previous evening is known as St. Sylvester's Eve, and is the time of
great fun and enjoyment. According to the poet, Vasili Andreivich

    "St. Sylvester's evening hour,
    Calls the maidens round;
    Shoes to throw behind the door,
    Delve the snowy ground.
    Peep behind the window there,
    Burning wax to pour;
    And the corn for chanticleer,
    Reckon three times o'er.
    In the water-fountain fling
    Solemnly the golden ring
    Earrings, too, of gold;
    Kerchief white must cover them
    While we're chanting over them
    Magic songs of old."

Ovsen, a mythological being peculiar to the season, is supposed to
make his entry about this time, riding a boar (another indication of
Aryan descent), and no Christmas or New Year's dinner is considered
complete without pork served in some form. The name of Ovsen, being so
like the French word for oats, suggests the possibility of this
ancient god's supposed influence over the harvests, and the honor paid
him at the ingathering feasts in Roman times. He is the god of
fruitfulness, and on New Year's Eve Russian boys go from house to
house scattering oats and other grain while they sing:

    "In the forest, in the pine forest,
    There stood a pine tree,
    Green and shaggy.
    O Ovsen! Ovsen!
    The Boyars came,
    Cut down the pine,
    Sawed it into planks,
    Built a bridge,
    Covered it with cloth,
    Fastened it with nails,
    O Ovsen! O Ovsen!
    Who, who will go
    Along that bridge?
    Ovsen will go there,
    And the New Year,
    O Ovsen! O Ovsen!"

With this song the young folks endeavor to encourage the people who
are about to cross the gulf between the known and the unknown, the
Past and the Future Year; at the same time they scatter good seed for
them to reap a bountiful harvest. Often the boys sing the following

    "Afield, afield, out in the open field!
    There a golden plough goes ploughing,
    And behind that plough is the Lord Himself.
    Holy Peter helps Him to drive,
    And the Mother of God carries the seed corn,
    Carries the seed corn, prays to the Lord God,
    Make, O Lord, the strong wheat to grow,
    The strong wheat and the vigorous corn!
    The stalks there shall be like reeds!
    The ears shall be (plentiful) as blades of grass!
    The sheaves shall be (in number) like the stars!
    The stacks shall be like hills,
    The loads shall be gathered together like black clouds."

How singularly appropriate it seems that boys, hungry at all times,
should be the ones to implore the god of fruitfulness to bestow upon
their people an abundant harvest during the coming year!

In Petrograd the New Year is ushered in with a cannonade of one
hundred shots fired at midnight. The Czar formally receives the good
wishes of his subjects, and the streets, which are prettily decorated
with flags and lanterns, are alive with people.

On New Year's Day the Winter Palace is opened to society, as is nearly
every home in the city, for at this season, at least, hospitality and
charity are freely dispensed from palace and cottage.

On Sotjelnik, the last of the holidays, the solemn service of Blessing
the Water of the Neva is observed. At two o'clock in the afternoon the
people who have gathered in crowds at various points along the river
witness the ceremony which closes the festivities of Yule-tide. At
Petrograd a dome is erected in front of the Winter Palace, where in
the presence of a vast concourse of people the Czar and the high
church officials in a grand and impressive manner perform the
ceremony. In other places it is customary for the district priest to
officiate. Clothed in vestments he leads a procession of clergy and
villagers, who carry icons and banners and chant as they proceed to
the river. They usually leave an open space in their ranks through
which all the bad spirits likely to feel antagonistic to the ruler of
Winter--the Frost King--may flee. For water sprites, fairies, gnomes,
and other invisibilities, who delight in sunshine and warmth, are
forced, through the power of the priest's prayers, and the showering
of holy water, to take refuge in a hole that is cut in the ice beside
a tall cross, and disappear beneath the cold water of the blessed


    Branch of palm from Palestine,
    Tell me of thy native place:
    What fair vale, what steep incline,
    First thy stately growth did grace?

    Has the sun at dawn caressed thee,
    That on Jordan's waters shone,
    Have the rough night-winds distressed thee
    As they swept o'er Lebanon?

    And while Solym's sons, brought low,
    Plaited thee for humble wages,
    Was it prayer they chanted slow,
    Or some song of ancient ages?

    As in childhood's first awaking
    Does thy parent-tree still stand,
    With its full-leaved branches making
    Shadows on the burning sand?

    Or when thou from it wert riven,
    Did it straightway droop and die,
    Till the desert dust was driven
    On its yellowing leaves to die?

    Say, what pilgrim's pious hand
    Cherished thee in hours of pain,
    When he to this northern land
    Brought thee, fed with tears like rain?

    Or perchance on some good knight,
    Pure in heart and calm of vision,
    Men bestowed thy garland bright--
    Fit as he for realms Elysian!

    Now preserved with reverent care,
    At the _Ikon's_ gilded shrine,
    Faithful watch thou keepest there,
    Holy Palm of Palestine.

    Where the lamp burns faint and dim,
    Folded in a mystic calm,
    Near the Cross--the sign of Him--
    Rest in safety, sacred Palm.

--_Michael Yourievich Lermontov._

(_Translated by Mrs. Rosa Newmarch._)




        "I hear along our street
        Pass the minstrel throngs;
        Hark! they play so sweet,
    On their hautboys, Christmas songs!"


One would naturally imagine that such a pleasure-loving people as the
French would make much of Christmas, but instead of this we find that
with them, excepting in a few provinces and places remote from
cities, it is the least observed of all the holidays.

It was once a very gay season, but now Paris scarcely recognizes the
day excepting in churches. The shops, as in most large cities, display
elegant goods, pretty toys, a great variety of sweetmeats, and
tastefully trimmed Christmas trees, for that wonderful tree is fast
spreading over Europe, especially wherever the Anglo-Saxon and
Teutonic races have settled.

Confectioners offer a tempting supply of _naulets_--little delicate
cakes--with a sugar figure of Christ on top, pretty boxes made of
chocolate containing candy in the form of fruits, vegetables, musical
instruments, and even boots and shoes, and all manner of quaint,
artistic sugared devices, to be used as gifts or table decorations.

Early in December, wooden booths and open-air stands are erected
throughout the shopping districts for the sale of Christmas goods. At
night they are lighted, and through the day and evening they are gay
with shoppers. Many of the booths contain evergreens and fresh green
boughs for making the _arbre de Nau._ This is a hoop tied with bunches
of green, interspersed with rosy apples, nuts, and highly colored,
gaily ornamented eggshells that have been carefully blown for the
purpose. The hoops are hung in sitting-rooms or kitchens, but are used
more in the country than in the cities.

Although the cities are filled with Yule-tide shoppers and lovely
wares, in order to enjoy a veritable Merry Christmas one must seek
some retired town and if possible gain access to a home of ancient
date, where the family keep the customs of their ancestors. There he
will find the day devoutly and solemnly observed, and legend and
superstitions concerning every observance of the day. He will find
that great anxiety is evinced regarding the weather during the twelve
days preceding Christmas, as that portends the state of the weather
for the ensuing twelve months.

He will notice that unlike the Yule-logs of other countries, those of
France are _not to be sat on_, for if by any chance a person sits on a
Yule-log he will experience such pain as will prevent his partaking of
the Christmas dinner. He will also find that the log has benevolent
powers, and if his shoe is left beside it during the night it will be
filled with peppermints or candy. The ashes of the log are believed to
be a protection against lightning and bad luck, so some will be stored
away beneath the bed of the master of the house as a means of
procuring good-fortune and other blessings during the coming year, and
if he chance to fall sick, some of the ashes will probably be infused
into his medicine and given to him.

If the log, the _cosse de Nau_, is of oak and felled at midnight, it
is supposed to be much more efficacious, therefore all who can do so
procure an oaken log, at least. In some families where the Yule-log is
lighted, it is the custom to have it brought into the room by the
oldest and youngest members of the family. The oldest member is
expected to pour three libations of wine upon the log while voicing an
invocation in behalf of wealth, health, and general good-fortune for
the household, after which the youngest member, be he a few days or a
few months old, drinks to the newly lighted fire,--the emblem of the
new light of another year. Each member present follows the example
set by the youngest, and drinks to the new light.

Yule-tide in France begins on St. Barbar's Day, December fourth, when
it is customary to plant grain in little dishes of earth for this
saint's use as a means of informing her devotees what manner of crops
to expect during the forthcoming year. If the grain comes up and is
flourishing at Christmas, the crops will be abundant. Each dish of
fresh, green grain is used for a centerpiece on the dinner-table.

For several days previous to Christmas, children go into the woods and
fields to gather laurel, holly, bright berries, and pretty lichens
with which to build the _crèche_, their tribute in commemoration of
the birth of Christ. It is a representation of the Holy Manger, which
the little folks build on a table in the corner of the living-room.
With bits of stones they form a hill, partly covering the rocky
surface with green and sometimes sprinkling it with flour to produce
the effect of snow. On and about the hill they arrange tiny figures of
men and beasts, and above the summit they suspend a bright star, a
white dove, or a gilded figure of Jehovah.


After the ceremony of lighting the Yule-log on Christmas Eve, the
children light up the _crèche_ with small candles, often tri-colored
in honor of the Trinity. Throughout the work of gathering the material
and making and lighting the _crèche_, they sing carols in praise of
the Little Jesus. In fact young and old accompany their Yule-tide
labors with carols, such as their parents and grandparents sang before
them,--the famous Noëls of the country.

The children continue to light their _crèche_ each night until
Epiphany, the family gathering around and joining in singing one or
more of the well-known Noëls, for

        "Shepherds at the grange,
        Where the Babe was born,
        Sang, with many a change,
    Christmas carols until morn.
        Let us by the fire
        Ever higher
    Sing them till the night expires."

On the eve of Epiphany the children all march forth to meet the Magi,
who are yearly expected, but who yearly disappoint the waiting ones.

The custom of hanging sheaves of wheat to the eaves of the houses for
the birds' Christmas, so commonly observed throughout the cooler
countries, is also observed by the children of France, and the animals
are given especial care and attention at this joyous season. Each
house-cat is given all it can eat on Christmas Eve for if, by any
chance, it mews, bad luck is sure to follow. Of course a great deal is
done for the poorer class at Christmas; food, clothing, and useful
gifts are liberally bestowed, and so far as it is possible, the season
is one of good will and good cheer for all.

If the French still hold to many of the Christmas customs bequeathed
them by their Aryan ancestors, New Year's Day shows the influence of
their Roman conquerors, for a combination of Northern and Southern
customs is noticeable on that occasion. Each public official takes his
seat of office on that day, after the manner of the Romans. Family
feasting, exchanging of gifts among friends, and merrymaking are
features of New Year's Day rather than of Christmas in France,
although children delight in placing their _sabots_, or shoes, on the
hearth for the Christ-child to fill with gifts on Christmas Eve.

In early times New Year's Day was the occasion of the Festival of
Fools, when the wildest hilarity prevailed, and for upward of two
hundred and forty years that custom continued in favor. Now Christmas
is essentially the church festival; New Year's Day is the social
festival, and Epiphany is the oldest festival observed during
Yule-tide in France.

The latter festival is derived from the Roman Saturnalia, the main
feature of the celebration being lawlessness and wild fun. Many of the
features of former times are no longer in vogue, but the Twelfth-Night
supper still continues in favor, when songs, toasts, and a general
good time finishes the holiday season.

December is really the month of song in France. From the first to the
last every one who can utter a sound is singing, singing, singing.
Strolling musicians go from house to house playing and singing Noëls,
and old and young of all classes in society, at home and abroad, on
their way to church or to market, at work or at play, may be heard
singing these fascinating carols.

Noël signifies "good news," and it has been the greeting of the season
since the earliest observance of Christmas. The word is on every
tongue; salutations, invocations, and songs begin and end with it.
Carols peculiarly adapted to the day or season in time came to be
known as Noëls, and these songs are to be heard everywhere in France
during the holidays of Yule-tide.


    "Our Psalm of joy to God ascending
    Filleth our souls with Holy fame.
    This day the Saviour Child was born,
    Dark was the night that now is ending,
    But on the dawn were angels tending.
    Hail! Christmas, Hail! Christmas morn.

    "In faith we see thee, Virgin Mother,
    Still clasp thy Son, and in His eyes
    Seek Heaven's own light that in them lies.
    Though narrow shed His might confineth,
    Though low in manger He reclineth,
    Bright on His brow a glory shineth.

    "Oh, Saviour King! Hear when we call Thee,
    Oh, Lord of Angels, glorious the song,
    The song Thy ransom'd people raise,
    Would that our hearts from sin and sorrow
    And earthly bondage now might sever.
    With Thee, Lord, reign forever and




    "O'er mournful lands and bare, without a sound,
    Gently, in broadening flakes, descends the snow
    In velvet layers. Beneath its pallid glow,
    Silent, immaculate, all earth is bound."

-_Edmondo de Amicis._

Italy! the land of Dante, Petrarch, Bocaccio, Raphael, Michelangelo,
and a host of other shining lights in literature and art!

Can we imagine any one of them as a boy watching eagerly for Christmas
to arrive; saving up money for weeks to purchase some coveted dainty
of the season; rushing through crowded streets on Christmas Eve to
view the Bambino, and possibly have an opportunity to kiss its pretty
bare toe? How strange it all seems! Yet boys to-day probably do many
of the same things they did in the long ago during the observance of
this holy season in historic, artistic Italy.

In November, while flowers are yet in bloom, preparations are begun
for the coming festivities. City streets and shops are crowded with
Christmas shoppers, for beside all the gifts that are purchased by the
Italians, there are those bought by travelers and foreign residents to
be sent to loved ones at home, or to be used in their own observance
of the day, which is usually after the manner of their respective
countries. So shopping is lively from about the first of November
until after the New Year.

The principal streets are full of carriages, the shops are full of the
choicest wares, and it is to be hoped that the pocketbooks are full of
money wherewith to purchase the beautiful articles displayed.

During the _Novena_, or eight days preceding Christmas, in some
provinces shepherds go from house to house inquiring if Christmas is
to be kept there. If it is, they leave a wooden spoon to mark the
place, and later bring their bagpipes or other musical instruments and
play before it, singing one of the sweet Nativity songs, of which the
following is a favorite.

    "For ever hallow'd be
      The night when Christ was born,
    For then the saints did see
      The holy star of morn.
    So Anastasius and St. Joseph old
      They did that blessed sight behold."

        _Chorus_: (in which all present join)

    "When Father, Son and Holy Ghost unite
      That man may saved be."

It is expected that those who have a _presepio_ are ready by this time
to receive guests to pray before it and strolling musicians to sing
before it, for the _presepio_ is the principal feature of an Italian
Christmas. It is made as expensive as its owner can afford, and
sometimes much more so. It is a miniature representation of the
birthplace of Christ, showing the Holy Family--Joseph, Mary, and the
infant Jesus in the manger--or, more frequently, the manger awaiting
the infant. This is a doll that is brought in later, around that each
person in the room may pray before it, and is then solemnly deposited
in the manger. There are angels, and other figures several inches
high, carved in wood--usually sycamore,--prettily colored and
introduced to please the owner's taste; the whole is artistically
arranged to represent the scene at Bethlehem which the season
commemorates. When the festivities cease the _presepio_ is taken apart
and carefully stored away for use another year.

During the Novena, children go about reciting Christmas pieces,
receiving money from those who gather around them to listen, and later
they spend their earnings in buying eels or some other substantial
delicacy of the season.

The _Céppo_, or Yule-log, is lighted at two o'clock the day previous
to Christmas, on the kitchen hearth in provinces where it is
sufficiently cold to have a hearth, and fires are lighted in other
rooms, for here as elsewhere fire and light are necessary adjuncts of
Christmas. During the twenty-four hours preceding Christmas Eve a
rigid fast is observed, and there is an absence of Christmas cheer in
the atmosphere, for the season is strictly a religious one rather than
of a social nature like that of Northern countries. At early twilight
candles are lighted around the _presepio_, and the little folks recite
before it some poem suitable for the occasion. Then follows the
banquet, made as elaborate as possible. The menu varies in different
parts of the country, but in every part fish forms an important item
of food. In many places a capon stuffed with chestnuts is considered
indispensable, and the family purse is often stretched to its utmost
to provide this luxury, yet rich and poor deem this one article of
food absolutely necessary on this occasion. Macaroni is of course the
ever-present dish on all occasions throughout the country, and various
sweetmeats are abundantly provided.

Then comes the drawing of presents from the _Urn of Fate_, a custom
common to many countries. As the parcels are interspersed with blanks,
the drawing from the urn creates much excitement and no little
disappointment among the children, who do not always understand that
there will be a gift for each one notwithstanding the blanks.

There is no evergreen used in either church or home trimmings, but
flowers, natural or artificial, are used instead. Soon after nine
o'clock the people, young and old, leave their homes for some
church in which the Christmas Eve services begin by ten o'clock.


Bright holly-berries, sweet violets, stately chrysanthemums, and
pretty olive-trees bedecked with oranges,--such as are bought by those
accustomed to having a Christmas tree,--are displayed in shops and
along the streets, nearly all of which are hung with bright lanterns.
The people carry flaming torches to add to the general brightness of
the evening, and in some cities fireworks are set off. From their
sun-worshiping Aryan ancestors Italy derives the custom of burning the
_céppo_, the love of light and fire, and many other customs. A few of
these may be traced to Roman influence. Unfortunately many, very many,
of the old customs, once so generally observed throughout Italy, are
now passing out of use.

During the past few years several benevolent societies have
distributed presents among the poor and needy at Christmas time, an
event that is known as the _Albero di Natale_--The Tree of
Nativity,--but little boys and girls of Italy do not yet know the
delight of having a real Christmas tree hung with lovely gifts, such
as we have in America.

At sunset on Christmas Eve the booming of cannon from the Castle of
St. Angelo announces the beginning of the Holy Season. Papal banners
are displayed from the castle, and crowds wend their way toward St.
Peter's, the object of every one's desire who is so fortunate as to be
in Rome at this season, for there the service is the most magnificent
in the world. Every Roman Catholic Church is crowded on Holy Night
with men, women, and children, anxious to see the procession of
church officials in their beautiful robes, who carry the _Bambino_
about the church for the worshipers to behold and kiss its robes or
its toe. The larger the church the more beautiful the sight generally,
although to a Protestant beholder the smaller churches with their
enforced simplicity often prove more satisfactory to the spirit of

But whether the officials are clothed in scarlet robes, ermine capes,
and purple cassocks, and the walls covered with silken hangings of
gold and crimson, with thousands of wax tapers lighted, and real
flowers adorning the altar and organ pipes; whether the Madonna on the
left of the altar is attired in satin and gleaming with precious
jewels, and the _presepio_ on the right is a marvel of elegance, with
the Bambino wrapped in gold and silver tissue studded with jewels; or
whether all is of an humble, simple character; the devout watch
eagerly for the appearance of the Babe to be laid in the manger when
the midnight bells peal forth the glad tidings of its birth. In each
church the organ sounds its joyous accompaniment to the sweet voices
of the choir which sings the Magnificat. The music is in itself a rare
treat to listeners as it is always the best, the very best that can be
procured. At two o'clock on Christmas morning the Shepherds' Hymn is
chanted, and at five o'clock the first High Mass is held. In some of
the larger churches solemn vespers are held Christmas afternoon, when
the Holy Cradle is carried around among the audience.

At St. Peter's it is required that all the men present shall wear
dress-suits and that the women be clothed in black, which offsets the
brilliancy of the robes worn by the church officials, for even the
guards on duty are in elegant red and white uniforms. About ten
o'clock in the evening a procession of monks, priests, bishops, and
cardinals, walking two and two, enters the vast building just as the
great choir of male voices with organ accompaniment sounds forth the
Magnificat. The procession is long, glowing in color, and very
attractive to the eye, but the object of each Romanist's desire is to
see the Pope, who, in magnificent robes, and seated in his crimson
chair, is borne aloft on the shoulders of four men clothed in violet.
On the Pope's head gleams his richly gemmed tiara and his heavy robes
sparkle with costly jewels. Waving in front of His Eminence are two
huge fans of white ostrich feathers set with eyes of peacock feathers,
to signify the purity and watchfulness of this highest of church
functionaries. Before His Holiness march the sixty Roman noblemen, his
Guard of Honor, who form his escort at all church festivals, while
Cardinals, Bishops, and others, according to their rank, march beside
him, or near at hand.

With his thumb and two fingers extended in recognition of the Trinity,
and at the same time showing the ring of St. Peter which he always
wears, the Pope, followed by the ecclesiastic procession, passes down
the nave between the files of soldiers, blessing the people as he

Upon reaching the altar the Pope is escorted to an elevated seat while
the choir sings the Psalm of Entrance. Later, at the elevation of the
Host, the cannon of St. Angelo (the citadel of Rome, which was built
in the time of the Emperor Hadrian) booms forth and every Roman
Catholic bows his head in prayer, wheresoever he may be. At the close
of the service the gorgeous procession is again formed and the Pope is
carried out of the church, blessing the multitude as he passes.

New Year is the great Social feature of Yule-tide in Italy. Visits and
some presents are exchanged among friends, dinner parties, receptions,
and fêtes of all kinds are in order, but all interest centers in the
church observances until Epiphany, or _Bafana_, as Italians term it,
when children hang up their stockings, _céppo_ boxes are exchanged,
and people indulge in home pleasures to some extent. The wild hilarity
of the Saturnalian festivities of former times is fast dying out, for
the growth of cities and towns has not proved conducive to such
observances, and only in the smaller places is anything of the sort

Yule-tide in Italy at the present day is principally a church



    Cometh the yearly Feast, the wonderous Holy Night,
    Worthy of sacred hymn and solemn rite.

    No harbingers of joy the olden message sing,
    Nor gifts of Peace to waiting mortals bring.

    Alone the thronging hosts of evil men I hear,
    And see the anxious brow and falling tear.

    The Age will bear no yoke; forgets the God above,
    Nor duteous payment yields to parents' love.

    Suspicious Discord rends the peaceful State in twain,
    And busy Murder follows in her train.

    Gone are the loyal faith, the rights revered of old--
    Reigns but a blind and cruel lust of Gold!

    O come, Thou holy Child! Pity the fallen world,
    Lest it should perish, into darkness hurled.

    Out of the laboring Night grant it a newer birth,
    And a New Age to bloom o'er all the earth.

    Circle with splendors old the brow of Faith divine;
    Let her full glory on the nations shine.

    Nerve her to battlings new; palsy her foes with dread;
    Place the victorious laurel on her head.

    Be Error's mist dissolved, and ancient feuds repressed,
    Till Earth at last find quietude and rest.

    O gentle Peace, return nor evermore depart;
    And link us hand in hand and heart to heart!

--_Pope Leo XIII._

_(Translated by H. T. Henry.)_




    "With antics and with fooleries, with shouting and with laughter,
    They fill the streets of Burgos--and the Devil he comes after."

In Spain, the land of romance and song, of frost and flowers, where at
Yule-tide the mountains wear a mantle of pure white snow while flowers
bloom gaily in field and garden, the season's observance approaches
more nearly than in any other country to the old Roman Saturnalia.

The Celts who taught the Spaniards the love of ballads and song left
some traces of the sun-worshipers' traditions, but they are few in
comparison with those of other European countries. Spain is a land
apparently out of the line of Wodin's travel and influence, where one
looks in vain for the mysterious mistletoe, the pretty holly, and the
joyful Christmas tree.

The season is rigidly observed in churches, but otherwise it loses its
spirit of devotion in that of wild revelry. Music, mirth, and hilarity
are the leading features of the occasion, and home and family
pleasures are secondary affairs.

Of course the customs vary in different provinces, some of which still
cling to primitive forms of observance while others are fast adopting
those of foreign residents and becoming Continental in style. But
everywhere throughout the land Christmas is the day of days,--the
great church festival observed by all.

The _Noche-buena_ or Good Night, preceding Christmas, finds the shops
gay with sweets and fancy goods suitable for holiday wear, but not
with the pretty gifts such as circulate from home to home in northern
countries, for here gifts are not generally exchanged.

Doctors, ministers, and landlords receive their yearly gifts of
turkeys, cakes, and produce from their dependents, but the love of
presenting dainty Christmas gifts has not reached the land of the
three C's--the Cid, Cervantes, and Columbus.


Do you know what you would probably do if you were a dark-cheeked
Spanish lad named Miguel, or a bright-eyed, light-hearted Spanish
maiden named Dolores?

If you were Miguel you would don your black jacket and brown trousers,
knot your gayest kerchief around your neck, and with your guitar in
hand you would hasten forth to enjoy the fun that prevails in every
street of every town in Spain on Christmas Eve, or, as it is known
there, the _Noche-buena._

If you were pretty Dolores you would surely wear your red or yellow
skirt, or else of striped red and yellow, your best embroidered velvet
jacket,--handed down from mother to daughter, and a wonderful sample
of the handiwork that once made the country famous,--your numerous
necklaces and other ornaments. You would carefully braid your heavy
dark tresses and bedeck your shapely head with bright flowers, then
with your _panderetta_ or tambourine in hand, you too would join the
merry throng that fill the air with mirthful songs and music on
_Noche-buena_; for remember,

    "This is the eve of Christmas,
    No sleep from now till morn."

The air is full of the spirit of unrest, castanets click joyously,
tambourines jingle their silvery strains, while guitars and other
musical instruments help to swell the babel of sound preceding the
hour of the midnight mass:

    "At twelve will the child be born,"

and if you have not already done some especially good deed to some
fellow mortal, you will hasten to clear your conscience by such an act
before the bells announce the hour of its birth. As the stars appear
in the heavens, tiny oil lamps are lighted in every house, and among
all devout Roman Catholics the image of the Virgin is illuminated
with a taper.

The streets, which in many cities are brilliantly lighted with
electricity, are crowded with turkeys awaiting purchasers. They are
great fat birds that have been brought in from the country and
together with quacking ducks and cooing pigeons help to swell the
sounds that fill the clear, balmy air. Streets and market-places are
crowded with live stock, while every other available spot is piled
high with delicious fruit;--golden oranges, sober-hued dates, and
indispensable olives; and scattered among these are cheeses of all
shapes and kinds, sweetmeats of all sorts, the choice candies that are
brought from various provinces, and quaint pigskins of wine. No wonder
every one who can do so hurries forth into the street on

If you are not tempted to stop and gaze at these appetizing exhibits,
you will pass quickly on to the brightly lighted booths devoted to
toys. Oh, what a feast for young eyes! Here yours will surely light on
some coveted treasure. It may be an ordinary toy, a drum, a horn, or
it may be a Holy Manger, Shepherds, The Wise Men, or even a Star of
the East.

It is hard to keep one's purse closed among such a surfeit of tempting
articles, and everywhere money flows freely from hand to hand,
although the Spanish are usually very frugal.

As the bells clang out the hour of midnight, you will hurry to join
the throng wending its way to the nearest church, where priests in
their gorgeous robes,--some of them worn only on this occasion and
precious with rare embroidery and valuable jewels,--perform the
midnight or cock-crow mass, and where the choir and the priests chant
a sweet Christmas hymn together. What if it is late when the service
ends? Christmas Eve without dancing is not to be thought of in Spain.
So you go forth to find a group of Gipsy dancers who are always on
hand to participate in this great festival; or you watch the graceful
Spanish maiden in her fluffy skirts of lace, with her deep pointed
bodice, a bright flower in her coal-black hair beside the tall comb,
and her exquisitely shaped arms adorned with heavy bracelets. "Oh,
what magnificent eyes! What exquisite long lashes!" you exclaim to
yourself. See her poise an instant with the grace of a sylph, one
slippered foot just touching the floor, then click, click, sound the
castanets, as they have sounded for upwards of two thousand years and
are likely to do for two thousand more, for their inspiriting click
seems necessary to move Spanish feet and give grace to the uplifted
arms. At first she may favor you with the energetic _fandango_, or the
butterfly-like _bolero_, but on Christmas Eve the _Jota_ is the
universal favorite. It is danced and sung to music which has been
brought down to the present time unwritten, and which was passed from
mouth to mouth through many generations. Translated the words read:

    "Of Jesus the Nativity is celebrated everywhere,
    Everywhere reigns contentment, everywhere reigns pleasure,"

the audience joining in the refrain:

    "Long live merrymaking, for this is a day of rejoicing,
    And may the perfume of pleasure sweeten our existence."

It will probably be late into the morning before the singing,
dancing, thought-less crowd turns homeward to rest, and although it is
certainly a crowd intoxicated with pleasure, it is never in that
condition from liquor.

There are three masses on Christmas Day, and all devout Catholics
attend one of them at least, if not all. In some places Nativity plays
are given on Christmas Eve or else on Christmas Day. They are long
performances, but never tedious to the audiences, because the scenes
appeal to them with the force of absolute realism. On Christmas
morning the postmen, telegraph boys, and employees of various
vocations, present to their employers and others little leaflets
containing a verse appropriate to the day, or the single sentence "A
Happy Christmas," expecting to receive in return a Christmas box
filled with goodies of some kind.

While Spanish children do not have the Christmas tree to gather
around they do have the pretty _Nacimiento_, made of plaster and
representing the place of Christ's nativity, with the manger, tiny men
and women, trees, and animals, such as are supposed to have existed at
the time and place of the Nativity.

The _Nacimiento_ (meaning being born) is lighted with candles, and
little folks dance gayly around it to the music of tambourines and
their own sweet voices, joyously singing one of the pretty Nativity
songs. Groups of children go about the streets singing these songs of
which there are many.

In this pleasing custom of the _Nacimiento_ one sees a vestige of the
Saturnalia, for during that festival small earthenware figures used to
be for sale for the pleasure of children. Although the Spanish race is
a mixed one and various peoples have been in power from time to time,
at one period the country was, with the exception of Basque, entirely
Romanized. It is interesting to note the lingering influence of this
mighty Roman nation and find in this century that some of the main
features of the great Roman feast are retained in the great Christian
feast at Yule-tide.

Southern races were always firm believers in Fate. The Mohammedans
reverenced the Tree of Fate, but the Romans held sacred the _urn_
containing the messages of Fate. So the Spaniards cling to the urn,
from which at Christmas gatherings of friends it is the custom to draw
the names of the men and women whom Fate ordains shall be devoted
friends during the year,--the men performing all the duties of lovers.
This drawing of one's Fate for the coming year creates great
merriment and often no little disappointment. But Fate is inexorable
and what is to be must be, so the Spanish maiden accepts graciously
the one Fate thus assigns her.

After the midday breakfast on Christmas morning the people usually
seek out-of-door pleasures. Among many of the old families only blood
relations are expected to eat and drink together on this holy day.

Ordinarily the Spaniard "may find perfect entertainment in a crust of
bread and a bit of garlic" as the proverb claims, but at Yule-tide his
stomach demands many delicacies peculiar to the season. The _Puchero
Olla_, the national dish for dinner, must have a few extra ingredients
added on this occasion. The usual compound of chickens, capons, bacon,
mutton, beef, pig's feet, lard, garlic, and everything else the
larder affords, is quite insufficient to be boiled together on this
occasion. However, if one has no relatives to invite him to a feast,
it is an easy matter to secure a Christmas dinner on the streets,
where men are ready to cook for him over their _braseros_ of charcoal
and venders are near at hand to offer preserved fruits, the famous
almond rock, almond soup, truffled turkey, or the most desirable of
the season's delicacies,--sea-bream, which is brought from Cadiz
especially for Christmas use, and which is eaten at Christmas in
accordance with the old-time custom. Nuts of all kinds are abundant.
By the side of the streets, venders of chestnuts--the finest in the
world--lean against their clumsy two-wheeled carts, picturesque in
costumes that are ragged and soiled from long service. Rich
layer-cakes of preserves, having almond icing with fruits and
liquor-filled ornaments of sugar on top, are frequently sent from
friend to friend for dinner.

In Seville, and possibly in other places, the people hurry to the
cathedral early in the afternoon in order to secure good places before
the high altar from which to view the _Siexes_, or dances. Yes,
dances! This ceremony takes place about five o'clock just as the
daylight fades and night draws near. Ten choristers and dancers,
indiscriminately termed _Siexes_, appear before the altar clad in the
costume of Seventeenth-Century pages, and reverently and with great
earnestness sing and dance an old-time minuet, with castanet
accompaniment, of course. The opening song is in honor of the Virgin,

    "Hail, O Virgin, most pure and beautiful."

Among the ancients dancing was a part of religious services, but it is
now seldom seen in churches. This Christmas dance, given in a
beautiful cathedral just at the close of day, is a very impressive
ceremony and forms a fitting close to the Spanish Christmas, which is
so largely made up of customs peculiar to ancient and modern races.

In every part of Spain song and dance form an important part of the
festivities of Yule-tide, which lasts two weeks, although the laboring
class observe but two days of pleasure. At the palace the King holds a
reception on New Year's, not for the public generally, but for the
diplomats and grandees.

The higher circles of society observe New Year as a time of exchanging
calls and visiting, feasting and merrymaking. At the banquets of the
wealthy every possible delicacy in the way of food is temptingly
displayed, and great elegance in dress indulged in by the ladies, who
wear their finest gowns and adorn themselves in priceless jewels and
rare laces. But there is so much etiquette to be observed among this
class of Spaniards that one looks for the real enjoyment of the season
among the common classes.

In some parts of Spain bull-fights are given as late as December, but
cold weather has a softening effect on the poor bulls and makes them
less ferocious, so unless the season proves unusually warm that
favorite entertainment has to be abandoned for a time. Meanwhile in
the streets and homes one may often see a father on all fours enacting
the infuriated bull for his little sons to attack; in this way he
teaches them the envied art of bull-fighting. The Yule-tide
festivities end at Twelfth Day,--Epiphany,--when crowds of young
folks go from gate to gate in the cities to meet the Magi, and after
much merriment they come to the conclusion that the Magi will not
appear until the following year.


    In such a marvelous night; so fair
      And full of wonder, strange and new,
    Ye shepherds of the vale, declare--
      Who saw the greatest wonder?

        (_First Shepherd_)

    I saw the trembling fire look wan;

        (_Second Shepherd_)

      I saw the sun shed tears of blood;

        (_Third Shepherd_)

    I saw a God become a man;

        (_Fourth Shepherd_)

      I saw a man become a God.

    O, wondrous marvels! at the thought,
      The bosom's awe and reverence move;
    But who such prodigies hath wrought?
      What gave such wondrous birth?
                'Twas love!

    What called from heaven the flame divine,
      Which streams in glory far above,
    And bid it o'er earth's bosom shine,
      And bless us with its brightness?

    Who bid the glorious sun arrest
      His course, and o'er heaven's concave move
    In tears,--the saddest, loneliest,
      Of the celestial orbs?
                'Twas love!

    Who raised the human race so high,
      E'en to the starry seats above,
    That, for our mortal progeny,
      A man became a God?
                'Twas love!

    Who humbled from the seats of light
      Their Lord, all human woes to prove,
    Led the great Source of day to night,
      And made of God a man?
                'Twas love!

    Yes! love has wrought, and love alone,
      The victories all,--beneath, above:
    And heaven and earth shall shout as one,
      The all-triumphant song
                Of love.

    The song through all heaven's arches ran,
      And told the wondrous tales aloud,
    The trembling fire that looked so wan,
      The weeping sun behind the cloud,
    A God, a God become a man!
    A mortal man become a God.

--_Violante Do Ceo._




    "And they who do their souls no wrong,
    But keep, at eve, the faith of morn.
    Shall daily hear the angel-song,
    'To-day the Prince of Peace is born.'"

--_James Russell Lowell._

To people who go into a new country to live, Christmas, which is so
generally a family day, must of necessity be a lonely, homesick one.
They carry with them the memory of happy customs, of loved ones far
away, and of observances which can never be held again. So many of the
earliest Christmasses in America were peculiarly sad ones to the
various groups of settlers; most especially was this the case with the
first Christmas ever spent by Europeans in the New World.

The intrepid mariner, Christopher Columbus, entered the port of Bohio,
in the Island of Hayti, on St. Nicholas Day, December 6, 1492, and in
honor of the day named that port Saint Nicholas. The _Pinta_ with her
crew had parted from the others and gone her own way, so the _Santa
Maria_ and the _Niña_ sailed on together, occasionally stopping where
the port seemed inviting. While in one of these, Columbus heard of
rich mines not far distant and started for them. The Admiral and his
men were tired from continued watching, and as the sea was smooth and
the wind favorable, they went to sleep leaving the ship in care of a
boy. Who he was no one knows, but he was evidently the first Christian
boy to pass a Christmas Eve on this continent,--and a sad one it was
for him. The ship struck a sand-bank and settled, a complete wreck, in
the waters of the New World. Fortunately no lives were lost, and the
wreckage furnished material for the building of a fortress which
occupied the men's time during the remainder of the Yule-tide.

The _Niña_ was too small to accommodate two crews, therefore on
Christmas Day many of the men were wondering who were to stay on that
far-away island among the strange looking natives of whom they knew

The Chief of Guarico (Petit Anse), whom Columbus was on his way to
visit at the time of the disaster, sent a fleet of canoes to the
assistance of the strangers, and did what he could to make them happy
during the day. The Spaniards and the natives worked until dawn on
Christmas morning, bringing ashore what they could secure from the
wreck, and storing it away on the island for future use. Strange to
relate, they succeeded in saving all of their provisions, the spars,
and even many of the nails of the wrecked _Santa Maria._ But what a
Christmas morning for Columbus and his men, stranded on an island far,
far from home, among a strange people! There were no festivities to be
observed by that sad, care-worn company of three hundred men on that
day, but the following morning Chief Guacanagari visited the _Niña_
and took Columbus ashore, where a banquet was prepared in his honor,
the first public function attended by Columbus in America. It can be
pictured only in imagination. There on that beautiful island which
seemed to them a paradise on earth, with tall trees waving their long
fronds in the warm breeze, with myriads of birds such as they had
never seen filling the air with song, Columbus stood, attired in his
gorgeous uniform and dignified, as it befitted him to be, beside his
host who was elegantly dressed in a _shirt_ and _a pair of gloves_
which Columbus had given him, with a coronet of gold on his head. The
visiting chieftains with gold coronets moved about in nature's garb,
among the "thousand,"--more or less,--who were present as guests. The
feast consisted of shrimps, cassavi,--the same as the native bread of
to-day,--and some of their nutritive roots.

It was not a sumptuous repast although it may have been a bountiful
one, yet they probably enjoyed it.

The work of building a fortress began at once. Within ten days the
Fortress of Navidad was completed. It stood on a hill and was
surrounded with a broad, deep ditch for protection against natives and
animals, and was to be the home of those of the company who remained
in the New World, for the _Niña_ was too small to convey all hands
across the ocean to Spain, and nothing had been heard of the _Pinta._
Leaving biscuits sufficient for a year's supply, wine, and such
provisions as could be spared, Columbus bade farewell to the forty men
whom he was never to see again, and sailed for the Old World on
January 4, 1493.

So far as recorded, Columbus was the only one among the Spaniards who
received gifts during this first Yule-tide in America. But what seemed
a cruel fate to him was the means of bestowing a valuable gift upon
the world. Had the _Santa Maria_ continued her course in safety that
Christmas Eve there might never have been a fortress or any European
settlement founded. So, although it was a sad, troubled Yule-tide to
the Spanish adventurers, it proved a memorable one in the annals of

Four hundred years later the anchor of the _Santa Maria_ was
discovered and brought to the United States to be one of its treasured
exhibits at the great Columbian Exposition, where a descendant of
Columbus was the honored guest of the Government.

One hundred and fifty years after the building of the Fortress of
Navidad, after many ineffectual attempts, a settlement was effected in
the New World by a colony from England. They sailed from Blackwell, on
the Thames, on December 19, 1606, and for six weeks were "knocking
about in sight of England." Their first Christmas was spent within
sight of their old homes. According to Captain John Smith's account,
"It was, indeed, but a sorry Christmas that we spent on board," as
many of them were very sick, yet Smith adds, "We made the best cheer
we could." The colonists landed and solemnly founded Jamestown on May
13, 1607. That year Yule-tide was spent by Captain Smith among the
Powhatan Indians, by whom he was taken captive. This colony consisted
of men only; no genuine Christmas observance could take place without
women and children, and no women arrived until 1609, and then only
twenty came. But after the ninety young women arrived in 1619,
supplied to planters for one hundred pounds of tobacco each, and a
cargo of twenty negroes had landed to help with the work, there may
have been an attempt at keeping Christmas although there is no record
of the fact.

At this season there was usually a raid made upon the Indians. Smith's
last expedition against them was at Christmastime, when, as he records
in his journal, "The extreme winde, rayne, frost, and snow caused us
to keep Christmas among the salvages where we weere never more merry,
nor fed on more plenty of good Oysters, Fish, Flesh, Wild Fowl and
good bread, nor never had better fires in England."

In after years prosperity smiled on the land of the Jamestown
settlers. Amidst the peace and plenty that followed the earlier years
of strife and poverty, the Virginians became noted for their
hospitality and lavish observance of Yule-tide. It was the happy
home-coming for daughters, sons, uncles, aunts, and cousins of the
first, second, and even the third degree. For whosoever was of the
name and lineage, whether rich or poor, was welcomed at this annual
ingathering of the family. Every house was filled to overflowing;
great hickory fires were lighted on the open hearths; the rooms were
brilliantly lighted with candles, and profusely trimmed with greens.
From doors and ceilings were hung sprigs of the mysterious mistletoe,

                  "O'er the lover
    I'll shake the berry'd mistletoe; that he
    May long remember Christmas,"

was the thought of merry maidens as they decorated their homes.

Christmas brought carriage-loads of guests to these old-time homes, to
partake of the good cheer and enjoy weeks of fun and frolic, indoors
and out. For many days before Christmas arrived, colored cooks, the
regular, and extra ones, were busy cooking from morning till evening,
preparing for the occasion. The storerooms were replete with every
variety of tempting food the ingenious minds of the cooks could
devise, for Christmas dinner was the one great test of their ability
and woe to Auntie whose fire was too hot, or whose judgment was at
fault on this occasion.


To the whites and blacks Christmas was a season of peace, plenty, and
merriment. In the "Great House" and in the cabin there were music,
dancing, and games until New Year. This was "Hiring Day," and among
the blacks joy was turned to sadness as husbands, fathers, brothers,
and lovers were taken away to work on distant plantations, for those
who hired extra help through the year were often extremely cruel in
their treatment of the slaves.

The gladsome Virginia Christmas in time became the typical one of the
South, where it was the red-letter day of the year, the most joyous of
all holidays. The churches were lovingly and tastefully decorated with
boughs of green and flowers by the ladies themselves and
conscientiously attended by both old and young. In the South there was
never any of the somberness that attended church services in the North
among descendants of the Plymouth Colony who came to America later.

The Puritans of England early discountenanced the observance of
Christmas. But among the Pilgrims who reached the American coast in
December, 1620, were mothers who had lived so long in Holland they
loved the old-time custom of making merry on that day. To these dear
women, and to the kind-hearted, child-loving Elder Brewster, we are
indebted for the first observance of the day held by the Plymouth

According to the Journal of William Bradford, kept for so many years,
the Pilgrims went ashore, "and ye 25 day (Dec.) begane to erecte ye
first house for comone use to receive them and their goods." Bradford
conscientiously refrains from alluding to the day as Christmas, but
descendants of these godly Puritans are glad to learn that home-making
in New England was begun on Christmas Day.

Many very interesting stories have been written about this first
Christmas. One writer even pictures the more lenient Elder Brewster as
going ashore that morning and inviting the Indian Chief Massasoit to
go aboard the _Mayflower_ with him. According to the story, the good
man endeavored to impress the chief with the solemnity and
significance of the occasion, and then with Massasoit, two squaws, and
six boys and girls, becomingly attired in paint and feathers, he
returned to the ship.

The women and children from over the sea met their new neighbors and
guests, received from them little baskets of nuts and wintergreen
berries, and in exchange gave their guests beads, toys, raisins, and
such simple gifts, to which Elder Brewster added a blessing bestowed
upon each child.

The story reads well. But the truth, according to history, makes the
first visit of Massasoit occur some three months later, on March
twenty-second. The Puritans had a happy Christmas dinner together on
board the ship which was the only home they possessed as yet, and it
is to be presumed that the exceedingly conscientious non-observers of
the day partook quite as freely of the salt fish, bacon, Brussels
sprouts, gooseberry tarts, and English plum pudding, as did those
homesick, tear-choked women who prepared the dinner.

It is certainly to be regretted that vessels are no longer built with
the wonderful storage capacity of the _Mayflower_! Beside bringing
over the innumerable _family relics_ that are treasured throughout
this country, it is stated that this ship brought a barrel full of
ivy, holly, laurel, and immortelles, with which the table was
decorated, and wreaths woven for the children to wear. Bless those
dear, brave women who dared to bring "green stuff" for "heathenish
decorations" way across the ocean! Let us add a few extra sprays of
green each Christmas in memory of them. The greens, plum puddings, and
other good things had such a happy effect that, according to Bradford,
"at night the master caused us to have some Beere." This was an event
worthy of a capital B, as the men had worked all day in the biting
cold at house-building, with only a scanty supply of water to drink.

Alas! That Christmas on the _Mayflower_ was the last the Pilgrims were
to enjoy for many a long year. Other ship-loads of people arrived
during the year and in 1621, "One ye day called Christmas Day, ye Gov.
called them out to worke (as was used), but ye most of this new
company excused themselves and said it wente against their consciences
to work on yt day. So ye Gov. tould them that if they made it mater of
conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed. So he
led away ye rest and left them, but when they came home at noone from
their worke, he found them in ye streete at play, openly, some
pitching ye bair, and some at stoole-ball, and shuch-like sports. So
he went to them and tooke away their implements, and tould them that
was against his conscience, that they should play and others worke. If
they made ye keeping of it mater of devotion, let them kepe their
houses, but ther should be no gameing or revelling in ye streets.
Since which time nothing had been attempted that way, at least
openly." And thus ended the last attempt at Christmas observance
during Governor Bradford's many terms of office.

The Massachusetts Colony that arrived in 1630, and settled in and
around Boston, believed that Christ's mission on earth as the Saviour
of man was too serious a one to be celebrated by the fallen race. He
came to save; they considered it absolutely wicked for any one to be
lively and joyous when he could not know whether or no he was doomed
to everlasting punishment. Beside that, jollity often led to serious
results. Were not the jails of Old England full to repletion the day
after Christmas? It was wisest, they thought, to let the day pass
unnoticed. And so only occasionally did any one venture to remember
the fact of its occurrence. Among the men and women who came across
the ocean during succeeding years there must have been many who
differed from the first colony in regard to Christmas, for in May,
1659, the General Court of Massachusetts deemed it necessary to enact
a law: "That whosoever shall be found observing any such day as
Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labour, feasting, or
any other way, upon any such accounts as aforesaid, shall be subjected
to a fine of five shillings."

For upward of twenty-two years it remained unlawful in Massachusetts
to have a merry Christmas. There were no pretty gifts on that day to
make happy little God-be-thanked, Search-the-scriptures, Seek-wisdom,
Prudence, Hope, or Charity. However, Santa Claus had emissaries abroad
in the land. In December, 1686, Governor Andros, an Episcopalian, and
a representative of the King, brought about the first concession in
favor of the day. He believed in celebrating Christmas and intended
to hold appropriate services. The law enacted by Parliament in June,
1647, abolishing the observance of the day, had been repealed in 1659,
and Gov. Andros knew he had the law in his favor. But every
meeting-house was conscientiously (or stubbornly) closed to him. So he
was forced to hold service in the Town House, going with an armed
soldier on each side to protect him from the "good will" exhibited by
his fellow townsmen. He held services that day, and it is believed to
be the first observance of Christmas held under legal sanction in

The great concession was made by the Old South Congregation in 1753
when it offered its sanctuary to the worshipers in King's Chapel,
after that edifice was burned, for them to hold their Christmas
services. It was with the implicit understanding that there was to be
no spruce, holly, or other greens used on that occasion to desecrate
their meeting-house.

Little by little the day was brought into favor as a holiday, but it
was as late as the year 1856, while Nathaniel P. Banks was Governor,
that the day was made a legal holiday in Massachusetts.

The good Dutch Fathers, true to the teachings of their forefathers,
sailed for the New World with the image of St. Nicholas for a
figurehead on their vessel. They named the first church they built for
the much-loved St. Nicholas and made him patron saint of the new city
on Manhattan Island. Thanks, many many thanks, to these sturdy old
Dutchmen with unpronounceable names who preserved to posterity so many
delightful customs of Christmas observance. What should we have done
without them? They were quite a worthy people notwithstanding they
believed in enjoying life and meeting together for gossip and
merrymaking. Christmas was a joyful season with them. The churches and
quaint gabled houses were trimmed with evergreens, great preparations
were made for the family feasts, and business was generally suspended.
The jolly old City Fathers took a prolonged rest from cares of office,
even ordering on December 14, 1654, that, "As the winter and the
holidays are at hand, there shall be no more ordinary meetings of this
board (the City Corporation) between this date and three weeks after
Christmas. The Court messenger is ordered not to summon any one in the

Sensible old souls! They were not going to allow business to usurp
their time and thought during this joyful season! The children must
have their trees, hung with gifts; the needy must be especially cared
for, and visits must be exchanged; so the City was left to take care
of itself, while each household was busy making ready for the day of
days, the season of seasons.

What a time those _hausfraus_ had polishing up their silver, pewter,
brass, and copper treasures, in opening up best rooms, and newly
sanding the floors in devious intricate designs! What a pile of wood
was burned to bake the huge turkeys, pies, and puddings! What pains
the fathers took to select the rosiest apples and the choicest nuts to
put in each child's stocking on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, children
obeyed the injunction of Scripture in those days, and despised not the
day of small things.

How fortunate it was that there were no trains or other rapid modes
of conveyance to bring visitors from the Puritan Colonies at this
season. There was no possibility of any of their strict neighbors
dropping in unexpectedly to furnish a free lecture, while the Dutch
families were merrily dancing. The Puritans were located less than two
hundred and eighty-five miles distant, yet they were more distantly
separated by ideas than by space. But a little leaven was eventually
to penetrate the entire country, and the customs that are now observed
each Christmas throughout the Eastern, Middle, and Western States, are
mainly such as were brought to this country by the Dutch. Americans
have none of their own. In fact, they possess but little that is
distinctively their own because they are a conglomerate nation,
speaking a conglomerate language.

According to the late Lawrence Hutton, "Our Christmas carols appear to
have come from the Holy Land itself; our Christmas trees from the East
by way of Germany; our Santa Claus from Holland; our stockings hung in
the chimney, from France or Belgium; and our Christmas cards and
verbal Christmas greetings, our Yule-logs, our boars' heads, our plum
puddings and our mince pies from England. Our turkey is, seemingly,
our only contribution." Let us add the squash-pie!


Chinese, Italians, Swedes, Irish, English, German, French, Russian,

These customs which have become general throughout the United States,
varying of course in different localities, are being rapidly
introduced into the new possessions where they are engrafted on some
of the prettiest customs observed by the people in former years. In
Porto Rico on Christmas Day they have a church procession of
children in beautiful costumes, which is a very attractive feature.
The people feast, dance, attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve, then
dance and feast until Christmas morning. In fact they dance and feast
most of the time from December twenty-fourth until January seventh,
when not at church services. On Twelfth Night gifts are exchanged, for
as yet Santa Claus has not ventured to visit such a warm climate, so
the children continue to receive their gifts from the Holy Kings.
However, under the shelter of the American Flag, the Christmas tree is
growing in favor. In Hawaii, so far as possible, the so-called New
England customs prevail.

In the Philippines even beggars in the streets expect a "Christmas
present," which they solicit in good English.

So from Alaska to the Island of Tutuila, the smallest of America's
possessions, Yule-tide is observed in a similar manner.

Yule-tide has been singularly connected with important events in the
history of the United States.

In the year 1776 Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas night to
capture nearly one thousand Hessians after their Christmas revelries.
A few days later, December 30th, Congress resolved to send
Commissioners to the courts of Vienna, Spain, France, and Tuscany; and
as victory followed the American leader, the achievements of this
Yule-tide were declared by Frederick the Great of Prussia to be "the
most brilliant of any recorded in the annals of military action." The
year following, 1777, was probably one of the gloomiest Yule-tides in
the experience of the American forces. They lay encamped at Valley
Forge, sick and discouraged, destitute of food, clothing, and most of
the necessities of life.

It was on Christmas Eve, 1783, that Washington laid aside forever his
military clothes and assumed those of a civilian, feeling, as he
expressed it, "relieved of a load of public care." After Congress
removed to Philadelphia, Martha Washington held her first public
reception in the Executive Mansion on Christmas Eve, when, it is
stated, there was gathered "the most brilliant assemblage ever seen in

At Yule-tide a few years later, 1799, the country was mourning the
death of the beloved Father of his Country.

In later years, the season continued prominent in the history of great
events. The most notable of these were the two Proclamations of
President Lincoln, the one freeing the slaves, January 1, 1863, and
the other proclaiming the "unconditional pardon and amnesty to all
concerned in the late insurrection," on December 25, 1868. And may the
peace then declared remain with this people forevermore!


    The earth has grown cold with its burden of care,
      But at Christmas it always is young,
    The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair,
    And its soul full of music breaks forth on the air,
      When the song of the Angels is sung.

    It is coming, old earth, it is coming to-night!
      On snowflakes which covered thy sod,
    The feet of the Christ-child fall gently and white,
    And the voice of the Christ-child tells out with delight
      That mankind are the children of God.

    On the sad and the lonely, the wretched and poor,
      The voice of the Christ-child shall fall;
    And to every blind wanderer opens the door
    Of a hope which he dared not to dream of before,
      With a sunshine of welcome for all.

    The feet of the humblest may walk in the field
      Where the feet of the holiest have trod,
    This, this is the marvel to mortals revealed,
    When the silvery trumpets of Christmas have pealed,
      That mankind are the children of God.

--_Phillips Brooks._


Alaska, 193

Alexander the Great, 55

Alexander, King of the Scots, 42

Alfred, King, 35

American Flag, The, 193

Andros, Governor, 187

Archbishop of York, 42

Aryans, 13, 57, 104

Asia, 15

Baal, 22

Bambino, The, 133, 141

Balder, 15, 16, 17, 22, 99

Banks, N. P., 188

Berserks, The, 26, 27, 29

Bethlehem, 63

Boar's Head, The, 39, 40

Bocaccio, 132

_Bolero_, The, 156

Bornhern, Island of, 99

Boston, 185

Boxing-day, 61

Bradford, William, 180,183,185

Bragi, 19

Brewster, Elder, 180, 181

Brooks, Phillips, 197

Bull-fights, 164

Cadiz, 161

Cæsar, Julius, 23

_Céppo_, 136, 139

Cervantes, 150

Christ, 13, 17, 21, 28, 63, 135, 185

Christ-child, 100, 101, 102, 129, 196

Christian Fathers, The, 21

Cid, The, 150

Cole, Sir Henry, 46

Columbus, 150, 169, 171, 172

Congress, 194, 195

"Cream of the Year," The, 50, 51

Czar, The, 116

Dante, 132

Druids, 17, 22, 31

Easter, 89, 97

Edda, The Younger, 14, 15, 17

Elizabeth (Daughter of Henri VII), 44

Epiphany, 127, 129, 145, 165

Executive Mansion, The, 195

_Fandango_, 156

Father of His Country, 195

Feast of Tabernacles, The, 21

Festival of Fools, 129

Fool's Dance, The, 44

Frankland, 15

Frederick the Great, 194

Frey (Freya), 18, 45, 75, 95

Frost King, The, 117

Gregorian calendar, The, 24, 112

_Hackin_, The, 47

Hadrian, Emperor, 145

Hakon the Good, 27

Hampton Court, 44

Hawaii, 193

Hayti, 169

Hel, 17

Henry III, 42

Henry VII, 43, 44

Henry VIII, 43

"Hiring Day," 179

Höder, 16

Holy Family, The, 135

Holy Kings, The, 193

Holy Land, The, 192

Holy Manger, The, 125, 154

Holy Night, 63, 65, 71, 140

Holy Season, The, 140

_Hweolor-tid_, 14

Icons, 109

Indo-European ancestors, 14

Jamestown, 175, 177

Janus, 23

Jehovah, 126

Jesus, The Little, 126

_Jota_, 156

Julian calendar, The, 25

Jutland, 15

King's Chapel, 187

Knight Rupert, 60

_Kolyada_, 105, 106, 107

_Kolyadki_, 108, 115

Kriss Kringle, 60

_Lamb's-wool_, 49

Lapps, The, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81

Lincoln, President, 195

Litchfield, 42

Loki, 15, 16

Lorraine, 69

Luther, Martin, 58

Lycia, 59

Magi, The, 127, 165

Magnificat, The, 142

Margaret, Princess, 42

Massachusetts Colony, 185

Massasoit, 181, 182

_Mayflower_, The, 181, 182, 183

"Merry Christmas," 112

Michelangelo, 132

Miracle Plays, 66, 67

Mistletoe, 31, 177

Mohammedans, The, 159

Morris Dance, The, 43

Myra, Bishop of, 59

Nativity, The, 156, 157, 158

_Naulets_, 121

Navidad, Fortress of, 173, 175

_Niña_, The, 169, 170, 171, 173

_Noche-buena_, 151, 152, 153

Noël, 130

North Pole, The, 76

Norway, 15

_Novena_, The, 134, 136

Numa, 23, 24

Odin, 13, 14, 76

Olaf, King, 26, 28

Ovsen, 113, 114

Palara, 59

Paradise Play, 66

Parliament, 47, 187

Passover, The Jewish, 21

Petit Anse, 171

Petrarch, 132

Petrograd, 115, 116

_Pfeffer Kuchen_, 63, 69

Philadelphia, 195

Philippines, The, 193

Pilgrims, The, 180

_Pinta_, The, 169, 173

Plymouth Colony, 179, 180

Pope, 143, 144, 145

Pope Julius, 21

Pope Leo XIII, 146

Porto Rico, 192

_Presepio_, The, 136, 137

Prince of Peace, The, 168

_Puchero Olla_, The, 160

Puritans, The, 47, 180, 191

Pytheas, 55, 56

"Queen of the North" (Sweden), 95

Raphael, 132

Reformation, The, 46

Richard II, 42

Ring of St. Peter, The, 144

Rome, 23

Rowena, 44

Saehrimnir, 19

Sagas, 76

St. Angelo, Castle of, 140, 144

St. Barbar's Day, 125

St. Nicholas, 59, 60, 188

St. Peter's, 140, 142

St. Sylvester's Eve, 112

Santa Claus, 70, 79, 87, 88, 89, 192, 193

_Santa Maria_, The, 169, 171, 174

Saturn, 15

Saturnalia, Roman, 17, 129, 149, 158

Saul, 22

Saxons, The, 31, 33, 34, 35

Seville, 162

Shepherds' Hymn, The, 142

Smith, Captain John, 175, 176

Sotjelnik, 116

Star of the East, The, 154

_Svea_, 95

Sweden, 15

Sylvester, 71

Tacitus, 23

Thames, The, 175

Thor, 13, 26, 28, 38, 95

Tree of Fate, The, 159

Tree of Nativity, The, 140

Trinity, The, 126, 144

Twelfth Night, 193

Twelfth-Night Ball, The, 94

Twelfth-Night Supper, The, 129

Tyrolese Alps, 66

Tyrolese peasants, 67

Upsala, 95, 96

_Urn of Fate_, The, 138, 159

Utwagustorp, 96

Valhalla, 16, 19

Valley Forge, 195

Vienna, 194

Vikings, 76

Virgin Mary, The, 71, 83, 107, 162

Vortigern, 44

Warwick, Earl of, 41

Washington, 194, 195

Washington, Martha, 195

Wassail bowl, The, 44

Westminster Hall, 42

Whitehall, 48

Winter Palace, The, 116

Wise Men, The, 154

Wodin, 13, 14, 95, 96, 149

Yggdrasil, 58

Yule-log, The, 37, 123, 124, 136, 192

Zealand, 99

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Yule-Tide in Many Lands" ***

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Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.