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CHRISTMAS IS WITH :US ONCE MORE 3- The very name of Christmas con. jures up images for us, we think a of the traditional Christmas of dou n forefathers in . Great Britain, .th g carol-singers antl holly-decked churches, where people sing hymns d in time-honoured tunes; we think of snow, of. feasting and rovelry, of 1- greetings and gifts exchanged, and lastly of the vague superstitious customs, relics of long ago, per. Sformed less and less these days, When and where did Christmas begin ? We all know that' the fes tivpl is to commemorate the birth of Christ, but it -will be a surprisc to know that the first actual festi val on the 25th December was held about four hundred years after the death- of Christ, This festival took place in Rome about the middle of the fourth century, and like r many of our Christmas customs, took the place of the pagan festival Sto celebrate the birth of the sun. Mid-winter was heralded as the be ginning of summer, and as the sun was the chief god with pagans, the ceremonies celebrated together were not surprising. .The eating of pork at Christmas -has its background originally in Scandinavian countries, and in older days Christmas was not Christmas unless there was a boarshead feast. Queen's College, Oxford have it that their custom of a boars head feast celebrates the lucky es cape of a student of the college from a boar. The student was walking down a hill when he was at tacked by a wild boar. lie hac nothing with which to defend him self, and there was nothing nearby where he could shelter, so he shoved the book he was reading down the animal's throat, whereupon, so the tale goes, the boar fell dead. The church nearby corroborates the students' stories, with a stained glass window depicting the event. But the custom of eating a boars head goes back to pagan time when the Norsemen made a sacrifice of a boar to Frigga, wife of Odin king of all the gods, at the festival of mid-winter. The use of mistletoe is another Scandinavian custom that goes back to pagan days. When Frigga who apparently wielded consider able authority, had a son, Baldur, she named various woods which would not be able to harm hirn, but an unscrupulous character mIade s' dart of mistletoe, which was not on the list Frigga made, and with this dart killed Baldur. To show that she harbored no ill feelings toward. the innocent plant, Frigra endowed it with healing properties. pIl'vided it did not touch the grounld, rand made it sacred to Frays, her daugrh ter-in-law. This belief in the healing power of mistletoe came to England with the Vikings, and, in proof of it. mistletoe is hung in bushes so that it cannot touch the earth, and we kiss under it to show that it has lost its power of evil. In Europe it is generally consid ered dangerous to be out on Christmas Eve after dark as nl' manner of strange things happer then. The lend walk, animals tullt and elves, gnomes and had types of fairies are liable to be. up' to no good. The significance of the ai maul which are supposed to he en. dowed with powers of predict in n and speech comes from when !the shepherds were watching their i flocks on Christmals Emve. The dead are suppl.,scid to re visit their former homes, and four and wine are left out for the, a:s well as decorations, so that they will not feel unwanted, in which case they are sulpposed to become malicious and do harml to the sur viving members of the fe mnily. Nowadays we do not expect oni dead to return to visit us on Christ mas Eve, but we decorate the house and generally try to imprtluit a feel ing of festivity to the atmosphere. A word of warning, however, about these Christmas decorations ; keep them' away from naked light globes, as crepe paper Christmas decora tions are light and inflammable, The most widespread, and, to children the most delightful of all festal institutions is the Christmas tree. Its picturesqueness and gay charm have made it spread rapidly all over Europe without roots in national tradition, as it is a German creation, and even in Germany did not attain its universal popularity until the nineteenth century. The tree in Germany is for dec oration only, the presents are grouped around the base of the tree and are not allowed to detract from the splendor of the tree with its tinsel and lights, stars and glittering balls. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had the first English Christnmans tree in 1840, and the fashion spread like wildfire among tihe Victorian Court and moved out of its cloistered shelter to the outside world to become an English institution. ra Holland, St. Nicholas' Day is the children's festival, on December 6th. We have borrowed from ii the hanging up of the stlcking and turned it into a Christmas festival. Whenever St. Nicholas puts in an appearance in person hie is followed bIy his black slave (usually parents dlressedl up) who knows the short. comings of the children ind' wil leave those who have been naughty few presents, aind reward the good children. On assurance from the children that they will Inmprove, he then gives the naughty ones theIr remaining presents. Kuis Krlngle, another name fos Santa Claus, is derived from the Dutch, Christ Klndel, meianing Christ Child. When the festival ot St. Nicholas and Christmas coin. citldedl, the word Kris Eringle was used to denote a combinatlon of thlu two. Santa Claus, dlerived from St. Nicholas, crossed the Atlantic tu America wvith the Dutch migrants, and on the way changed his method of transport, so that he now rides reiolndleer instead of the grey horse ihe originally rode, with changes, too in his appearance. he re-crossed the Atlantic and al peared In England, where he wvar made welcome and since has tra. velled to the furthest outposts of the Empire. In England the cus tom of giving presents has been continued, but in many places the thanks of the children now go to an Elngllish creontIon known as Father Christmas, sO it looks as though ol' of all the mass of supermtition from the Inganus, English people are a' Inst evolving thelir own form of Christmas festival with purely Eng. ishs name.