Saturday, December 12, 2015

Religious Holiday Traditions

originally posted 12/10/11


My great-great grandfather, Christopher Campbell, was Scottish Presbyterian and a Mason. He married his third wife (around 1866), Rebecca Zuck, from a line of Swiss amish/anabaptist/mennonites.

Hogmany Torchlight

Hogmanay - Scottish ban on Christmas
"Although some of the Hogmanay Traditions are ancient, the celebrations were elevated in importance after the banning of Christmas in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under Oliver Cromwell, Parliament banned Christmas celebrations in 1647. The ban was lifted after Cromwell's downfall in 1660. But in Scotland, the stricter Scottish Presbyterian Church had been discouraging Christmas celebrations - as having no basis in the Bible, from as early as 1583. "

Christmas: It's Origins and Opposition to It
"From the outset of the Scottish Reformation, the discussion focussed upon the nature of true worship. John Knox repeatedly confronted his papal adversaries by contending that true worship must be instituted by God. True worship is not derived from the innovations of men.

At the heart of Knox's argument is an appeal to Deuteronomy 4 and 12. These portions of scripture teach that it is unlawful to add to, or subtract from, the worship which God has instituted in his Word. Consequently, all religious ceremonies and institutions must have direct scriptural warrant if they are to be admitted as valid expressions of worship. This statement of the regulative principle of worship was a hallmark of the Scottish reformation. "

Amish children carroling

An Amish Christmas
"The best gift you can give is simply called love."

My paternal great-grandfather, Willi Aeppli (born 1894), follow anthroposophy and was part of the founding of the Waldorf schools.
Advent Spiral
Advent Spiral at Waldorf

Steiner says

"When Christmas arrives, a turning point is reached. The light increases, days grow longer and nature reawakens. So the birth of the light at Christmas time has been celebrated since the times when the light became the symbol of revelation in the world and man." ...

The Festival of Christmas by Rudolf Steiner

My great-grandfather, Arnold C Heyman (born 1877) was a minister. His father was German and his mother was Swiss.  He changed his religion from German Reformed Church to Congregational Church.
Martin Luther loved christmas trees
Martin Luther and Christmas

"Another popular German Christmas tradition attributed to Martin Luther is that of the Christkindl. Christkindl means “Christ Child.” In Germany the Christkindl is the bringer of gifts for children. According to legend, Martin Luther was distressed over the growing popularity of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas (who is the patron saint of sailors, children and unmarried maidens) has long been associated with giving gifts at Christmas time to children and is still popular in many parts of Europe, especially The Netherlands. However, Martin Luther thought the belief in Saint Nicholas took away from the true meaning of Christmas, which was to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Therefore, he is credited with introducing the Christkindl to Germany and parts of Switzerland.

During the 18th Century, German and Swiss immigrants, settling in Pennsylvania, brought the tradition of the Christkindl with them. Over time, as English settlers began to populate the area, the word Christkindl was simplified to Kriss Kringle, and became another name for Santa Clause."

My Dutch Great Gradmother to the 3rd, Clara Barcher (Baartscheer) was from Holland (born around 1807).  She married John Campbell.

"Many believe that the Dutch introduced Christmas stockings to America. During the 16th Century children in Holland would leave their clogs by the hearth. They would fill them with straw for the reindeer or "donkey" as the reindeer were called. A treat for Santa was left in the house near the warm fire. In return "Sinterklass" would leave the children treats. Later the clogs would become Christmas stockings and the Saint known to all as Santa Claus."

My German great grandmother to the 11th, Margaretha Margarethe Weller, was married to a Lutheran Cleric, Dietrich "Theodor" Theodore Krekelius. But she was beheaded for witchcraft in 1629.  (A descendant married a Heymann).
Lebukhen - German ginger bread

"Lutherans traditionally practice Christmas Eve Eucharistic traditions typical of Germany and Scandinavia. "Krippenspiele" (Nativity plays), special festive music for organ, vocal and brass choirs and candlelight services make Christmas Eve one of the highlights in the Lutheran Church calendar. Christmas Vespers are popular in the early evening, and midnight services are also widespread in regions which are predominately Lutheran. The old Lutheran tradition of a Christmas Vigil in the early morning hours of Christmas Day (Christmette) can still be found in some regions."
Buche-de-Noel   Yule Log cake

Yule log is a large and extremely hard log which is burned in the hearth as a part of traditional Yule or Christmas celebrations in several European cultures. It can be a part of the Winter Solstice festival or the Twelve Days of ChristmasChristmas EveChristmas Day, or Twelfth Night.


Pagan Winter Solstice
or Celtic Christmas
 
My maternal grandmother, Inez Heyman Campbell, was a unitarian.
A Thinking Unitarian's Christmas
 
"On December 25, 1620, the Pilgrims and Anglicans of Plymouth Plantation were building a fort. The pilgrims spent the day felling trees “in order to avoid any frivolity on the day sometimes called Christmas.” They did not celebrate Christmas because it was not Biblical. .. It took another 250 years for the celebration of Christmas in the U.S. to shape itself into the holiday as we know it today, when it became a federal holiday in 1870."

My husband Greg is Irish Catholic and Greek Orthodox heritage.

Irish Christmas Traditions
Mid-night Catholic mass

 
10 Greek Food Traditions of Christmas
St. Nicholas is important in Greece as the patron saint of sailors. According to Greek tradition, his clothes are drenched with brine, his beard drips with seawater, and his face is covered with perspiration because he has been working hard against the waves to reach sinking ships and rescue them from the angry sea. Greek ships never leave port without some sort of St. Nicholas icon on board.

Xmas: This abbreviation for Christmas is of Greek origin. The word for Christ in Greek is Xristos. During the 16th century, Europeans began using the first initial of Christ's name, "X" in place of the word Christ in Christmas as a shorthand form of the word. Although the early Christians understood that X stood for Christ's name, later Christians who did not understand the Greek language mistook "Xmas" as a sign of disrespect.


Greg's great grandmother was from Hungary, where children shine their shoes before putting them near the door or a window sill.


Greg's family had holiday meals with a special french Chaud-Froid.

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