Hello!How are you? Here we’re super-busy right now! Only 12 days to Christmas! We’re getting all excited, preparing the house with decorations, thinking something original for Christmas cards, and so on .. anyway, I really don’t like too much consumerism, it seems to overshadow Christmas true meaning in the last years .. I still remember when i was a kid, when the Christmas lights warmed the atmosphere, and I felt safe and sound, with my family and friends. I love to see happy people around me. I love to donate, much more of receive. (sure, receiving from the persons I care is fantastic, but i love to see the “effect” of my gifts on the others, because i always choose them carefully)
We work hard last Saturday and the result in our tiny, confortable home is the following ..et VOILA’!
I was thinking today to say something about Christian Christmas symbols, cause not all the symbols you know are strictly related to Christianity and to Holy Bible. As you surely know, the most famous symbols are the Christmas Tree and the Presepe (or Presepio), that is the “Nativity” Scene of Jesus. A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine or fir. The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts or dates. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which with electrification could also be replaced by Christmas lights. (i’m really happy to live in this era!) Today, there are a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star may be placed at the top of the tree to represent the host of Angels or the Star of Bethlehem that guides the Three Wise Men to the cave Jesus was born.The custom of the Christmas tree developed in early modern Germany with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly the 15th century, in which “devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes”. It acquired popularity beyond Germany during the second half of the 19th century. The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of its folkloristic origins.
A nativity scene (also known as a manger scene) is the special exhibition, particularly during the Christmas season, of art objects representing the scene of the birth of Jesus. While the term “nativity scene” may be used of any representation of the very common subject of the Nativity of Jesus in art, it has a more specialized sense referring to seasonal displays, either using model figures in a setting or enactments called “living nativity scenes” in which real humans and animals participate. (in Southern Italy there are many Nativity representations) Nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother Mary, and Joseph. Other characters from the nativity story such as shepherds and sheep, and angels may be displayed near the manger. A donkey and an ox are typically depicted in the scene, as well as the Magi and camels (that we put near the cave only on the night of the 5th January, cause of their travel time to Bethlehem ). Several cultures add other characters and objects that may be Biblical or not. (I really don’t like it, it has nothing to do with Christmas meaning)
Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 (a “living”one) intending thereby to cultivate the worship of Christ, having been inspired by his recent visit to the Holy Land where he had been shown Jesus’s traditional birthplace. The scene’s popularity inspired communities throughout Catholic countries to stage similar pantomimes. The figures may be made of any material, and arranged in a stable or grotto. (nowadays there are any sort of presepe, with materials like paper, sugar paste, porcelain, wood, cork, ecc..)
The third symbol is Babbo Natale (Santa Klaus): he’s not properly a Christian symbol nowadays: at the very beginning, he was referrred at Saint Nicholas of Myra: he was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular with three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In continental Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Germany) he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes. The tradition wants him living at the North Pole or in other places in northern Europe, but the real Sant Claus is located in Italy. In 1087, the Italian city of Bari, mounted an expedition to locate the tomb of the Christian Saint and procure his remains. The reliquary of St. Nicholas was conquered by Italian sailors and the spoils, including his relics, taken to Bari where they are kept to this day. A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout. Sailors from Bari collected just half of Nicholas’ skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave. These were collected by Venetian sailors during the first crusade and brought to Venice, where a church to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the San Nicolò al Lido. This tradition was confirmed in two important scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which revealed that the relics in the two Italian cities belong to the same skeleton. Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers, sailors, and children to pawnbrokers.He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Moscow. (I must say that for this part I’ve helped myself refreshing my memory with Wikipedia)
In conclusion, Santa Klaus is a figure that nowadays is much more used unfortunately for commercial business: for kids means to receive many gift and sweets. The origin are religious, but i don’t like the way in which we transform it in “mere consumerism”. Despite of this, i must say that i can’t dislike Christmas decorations, all the sparkling lights trought the streets, and even Santa Klaus big face! Have a Nice Christmas Period!