In an intriguing and entertaining journey, this book uncovers the fascinating background to one of the biggest festive seasons. From the ancient ceremonies celebrating Midwinter to festivals of Sol Invictus, and from Constantine's establishment of a Christian festival to medieval 'misrule', the time around the solstice has long been an opportunity for people to come together and rejoice. These festive traditions have developed in many directions around the world. This book tells the fuller story behind the sparkle and the merriment, and shows why, despite all the modern commercialism, Christmas has survived and still has meaning for us today.
Country of Publication:
01 October 2019
Introduction Chapter 1: Ancient Christmas Inviting Christmas In Ancient Celebrations The Midwinter Solstice Sol Invictus and Saturnalia Ancient Madonnas The Nativity Story Mangers and Stables The Magi The Star of Bethlehem Signs In the Sky The Epiphany Chapter 2: The Beginnings of Christmas The Beginnings of Christmas The Advent of Advent The Evolution of Christmas Yule and the Wild Hunt Medieval Christmas Holly and Ivy Mistletoe and Wine Here We Come a Wassailing The Feast of Stephen Present Giving The Rule of Misrule Boy Bishops and Lord of Misrule Chapter 3: Christmas Under Threat Christmas Under Threat Rise of the Puritans The End of Christmas Christmas Behind Closed Doors The Vindication of Christmas Chapter 4: the Season's Return The Season's Return Christmas Carols Shepherds and Partridges The Slow Recovery of Christmas Chapter 5: the Victorian Revival The Victorian Revival Prince Albert's German Christmas Christmas Trees The Evolution of the Christmas Tree World Tree Traditions Christmas Dinners Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding Games and Christmas Cards A Christmas Carol Chapter 6: Father Christmas The Ascent of Father Christmas Santa's Many Guises Father Christmas Vs Santa Claus Sinterklaas and Krampus The Night Before Christmas The Proliferation of Santa Chapter 7: the Modern Christmas A White Christmas Christmas In Wartime and After Christmas Shopping The Spirit of Giving A Moment of Stillness A Very Happy Christmas Further Reading Index Acknowledgements
Andy Thomas is one of the UK's most experienced lecturers and authors on folklore, histories and unexplained mysteries. He has made numerous appearances on radio and TV, including BBC One's The One Show. He is renowned for his thought-provoking and entertaining books and lectures, and speaks prolifically to all kinds of audiences across Britain and around the world.