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TIIE OMAHA SUNDAY BEE: DECEMBER 13, 1908.
NATIVITY MORS ON ITS ROUND
Sunrise Salute as Christmas Swings
'Round the World.
ITItST AND LAST GREETING
I'alqne Dlatlaetloai for the Americas
Flag; How Varloaa People
Weleoane and Observe
The Stare and Stripes la one the first
of national flags to salute the rising sun
on Christmas morning, and the last to
wave adieu In the evening-. The line
marking the beginning of the new day
Intersects Samoa on the south and Guam
on the north, on both of which the Amer
ican flag floats as the emblem of sover
eignty. Within an hour It has kissed the
fold of countless standards In the Philip
pines, Asia In the forenoon of the day,
Europe the high noon, America the after
noon and Hawaii the sunset of the passing
day. While not quite belting the planet
while, the sun shines, the flag flutters
over a considerable section of the circuit
and enjoys Its unique distinction of salut
ing the coming and speeding of the part
Let us In spirit follow the revolution of
the earth on Christmas day and note the
peculiarities of the various observances.
In Samoa, where the British and German
emblems divide honors with our flag, the
natives, we are told by Alexander Hume
Ford In the Travel Magazine, remain In
the background while their "protectors"
aalute their respective flags. These for
malities over, the whites adjourn to ban
quets of Indigestible plum pudding, while
the Samoans turn to their native pel, pass
ing the savory dish around until they are
worked up to a state of excitement com
mensurate with the Idea of how Christmas
should be celebrated In the tropics.
In the Orient.
The sound of musketry arouses our sol
dier boys In the Philippines to the knowl
edge that Christmas Is dawning, while the
bells of the churches summon the devout
Filipinos to early mass. Almost simul
taneously the Christians ot Japan begin
their celebration of the day In a manner In
no way different from that of their fel
lows In America. But across the Tellw
sea. In China, Christmas becomes a seri
ous affair. On this day all the high func
tionaries and officials pay their state calls
to the foreign residents. Long red Christ
mas cards filled out with Chinese char-J
acters are presented to the Christian host,
and after the general exchange of cour
tesies, John returns to his home to pay
his debts, and prepare for his own Christ
mas and New Tear's festival which comes
a few week's later, when . all China re
sounds with the firecracker.
The Russians carry Christmas more than
half way around the world from Behrlng
straits to the Baltic sea. It Is not a hilari
ous celebration, for there are 90,000,000 peas
ants to receive presents from a few thou
sand proprietors. They gather Christmas
morning before the groat house ot the
over-lord, and with bowed heads stolidly
await his coming forth to distribute In
silence a few simple prevents.
In Tropical ' Setting.
Christmas Is not set In a winter scene
everywhere. In India the day Is cele
brated by the white residents In picnicking
under the trees, while the native servants
opera to ponderous fans. In Australia
Christmas day falls during the hottest
period of the year. Horse racing takes
the place of foot ball, and there Is yachting
Instead of Ice boating.
It Is but natural to expect that the Jews
should celebrato their Christmas In ad
vance of the Christians. In Bokhara the
first Jewish Christmas festivities begin
with the "feast of the tabernacles." which
Is celebrated at tho end of the year. Per
haps In this feast originated the idea of
the Christmas tree, for from Unity Imme
morial It has heen the custom to gather
leafy boughs from which open booths are
made nnd In these live the Jews until
their Christmas season is over. It Is the
oldest celebration of the "year's end" of
which we, have any authentic record.
In tho Holy Land.
The dawn of Christmas has passed al
most half way around the world before It
touches the spot where Christmas was
born. ' Shepherds still watch their flocks
by night during the Christmas season
around Bethlehem. It Is tho most peace
ful scene In all the Holy Iind. Yearly
they watch the procession of pilgrims that
wenda Its way from the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre through the Via Dolorosa,
out through St. Stephen's gate, where the
martyr was stoned to death, and across
the plains of Bethlehem. All night long
tho foot sore travelers, who have gathered
from every part of the world, may be
soen trudging by starlight toward the little
Alllugc of Bethlehem. Thousands go singly,
ether thousands In processions with em
blems and banners. The Russians carry
their sacred pictures before them and an
atl.cmatixe tho Horrans who bear aloft
their sacred Images. The Copts appear In
gorgeous ritualistic array, while the Abys
alnlans set forth from their humble settle
ment behind the Church of the Holy Sepul
chre In tho dark robes that distinguish
All meet at the gates of Bethlehem,
where a special guard of Mohammedan
aoldiera ta In waiting with muskets loaded
to keep order at the midnight mass held
over the spot where the Christ was born.
Escorted by Infidel soldiers, the Greek
Cathollrs approach the church of the Na
tivity and are protected during their de
motions; the pilgrims of all sects are
treated with equal consideration at this
hrlne, which Is- the common property of
all who regard It as their own.
In Syria the native Christians are apt
to celebrate Christmas Indoors, but In
Greece, recently escaped from Turkish wl,
th day la celebrated with aong and dance.
In Italy either bells or bombs call the
devout to early services. Many ' beautiful
customs prevail throughout the land wtth
regard to the mangers that are built every
where for the Holy Child.
About Naples; at Christmaui time, the
peasants come down from the mountains
and go from door to door asking alms
At each house they are received and In
vited to play weird muelo upon their
homely instruments before the pictures of
the Mother and Child to be found In each
and every home in Italy.
In Spain and Portugal the day passes
very much as In Italy.
Aomng the Germans, Christmas Is, of
course, the great festival of the year.
There waa born the Christmas tree while
in England the Tula log and the mistletoe
In Swltxerland, Christmas Is celebrated In
the French Italian and German ways. In
one canton, Krla Klngle visits from house
to house, the Christ Child on his shoulder.
with presents for good little boys and girls
and switches for those who have not been
so good during the year.
In the Austrian Alps the simple peasants
believe that the beasts of burden are given
speech during ChriatmHS eve, and the
peasants disguised as animals haunt the
homes of the rich, demanding presents.
In the Swiss towns near Italy the village
carpenters build a manger In each home
In which rests tho waxen bambino. Priests
In white march from house to house
blessing the Holy Child, and as they leave
the feasting begins. In fact, almost every
kind of Christmas festivity may be aeen
side by aide in Switzerland, for the Amer
ican and English colonies add their cus
toms to those of the multi-populated little
Christmas day is almost over for the
rest of the world when it dawns on the
good New Englanders. Turkey and trim
mings make the feast here, as in the south,
but while the New Englanders preserve the
sanctity of the day, In the south it Is
the time when the small boy looks In his
stocking for the packs of crackers and
the bundle of skyrockets which he knows
he will find there.
The Fourth of July Is too hot a day to
celebrate In the aoutih. Therefore, the glor
ious Fourth and Christmas are rolled Into
one in the land of Dlrie.
Christmas bids us good bye at Honolulu
and sinks Into the ocean. In Honolulu the
little boya and girls do not write to Santa
for Christmas presents. They telephone,
as there are more telephones In this little
city than in any place of lta siie In the
whole world. It Is doubtful If there is a
house in Honolulu that is not supplied with
a telephone. Santa la called up by the'
children over the 'phone and told what he
shall bring for Christmas. On Christmas
morning he is thanked over the 'phone
and at night the little ones telephone their
friend goodbye for another year until he
once more begins his round from his home
1n the broad Pacific.
SHUT VO KVES AS D SLEEP.
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep, yo' little
Yo' been rarln' 'round de house de live
Makin' noise enough to set a pusson crasy,
Er-glttln' Into everybody's way
Er-grabbin' at de sugar an de raisins
Er-splllin' all de 'lasses on de flo'ah
Ef I tell old Sandy Claua about yo' mischief
He jess 'round an' not come back no
So yo' bettah not be wlnkln' an' er-blinkln',
It'll make him mighty angry if yo' peep.
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep, yo little
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep!
De sllber moon am shlnln' In de wlndah
An' de little stars am looktn' down to see!
An' I spec dey's Jest de eyes of little anguis
Dat de Lawd has put to watchln' you and
Dey look an' see ole Sandy Claus a'comln'
An' Ah reckon dat'a de reason why dey
Oh, he's comln' with hla little aleigh an'
An' he's gwlne to bring roah baby sumpln'
In yo' dreams yo'll hear his bells go Jingle,
Down de chlmley in yo' dreams yo'll see
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep, yo little
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep!
Ah done hung up yo' stockln' by de chlm
ley, Ah sot yo' little shoes right by de doah;
Ah laid yo' little Jacket on de table.
Ah picked yo' little, pants up off d floah,
An' Ah guess Ah won't tell Sand) how yo'
Jess because yo' didn't want to go to
An' Ah ain't agwlne to tell him yo' was
An' Ah ain't agwlne to tell him what yo'
Foh de bestest thing Is foh de betset chlllen.
An' tonight yo' shorely acted up a heap!
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep, yo' little
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep!
Pretty soon dey'U be a pattah an' a chat
tah. An' ole Sandy Claus'U stop right by de
Den Ah spec' yo'll squeal an' wondah
what's de mattah!
An' yo'll wish yo' hadn't stayed awake so
His reindeers'll be dancln' an" er-prancln'
An' his sleigh bells'll be ringln' fit to kill!
Yo'd bettah go to sleep an' stop yo' laffln'!
He'll hear yo' ef yo' don't keep mighty
Cllmby, climb! He's comln' right up on de
Creepy, creepy, down de chlmley, creepy,
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep, yo" little
Shet yo' eyes an' go to sleep!
1 .'-rll of Slang.
"You've got your nerve with you!" said
Flossie. "Met me for the first time about
two hours ago and you ask me for a kiss!
What do you slsu me up for?
"I don't know about that." said the
young man, "hut if I don't get the kiss,
KlnsHle. It will be the first time I've
"Never got tho averted cheek before?"
"Well, you're up against it this time,
Percy. Take it from me!"
There waa a hurried scramble und a muf
fin! scream but he took It, all right. Chi
Of 6 Pains.
So. 16 fh.
LINKED Willi MISTY PAST
Tracing Christmas Customs Back to
ORIGIN OF. SOME VEKI HAZY
Fearaai Revelers Start Few Dons
the Slide of Tine Date of the
nativity Is Open to
The great feast day of Christendom waa
not alwaya celebrated on December 25. It
has been celebrated In March and April,
and even now Russia observes the Julian
date of January 6. Moat authorltlea agree
that the actual date of tne nativity has
perished beyond hope of recovery. In an
effort to end the controversy aa to the
date, Pope Jullua In the Fourth century
caused an investigation to be made by Bt
Cyril, resulting in both being satisfied that,
as nearly as could be ascertained, December
25 was the correct date. Locally the dictum
of Pope Julius was accepted.
It was not until the Sixth century that
most of Christendom united In keeping
Christmas on the same day. The reasons
for this delay in instituting the feast are
summed up by an authority who explains
that, In the first place, no corresponding
festival waa presented by the Old Testa
ment, aa In the case of Easter and Pente
cost; second, the day and month of the
birth of Christ are nowhere stated In gos
pel history, and cannot certainly be de
termined; third, that the church lingered
at first about the death and resurrection
of Christ, the completed fact of redemp
tion, and made thta the center of the weekly
worship and the church year; and fourth,
that the earlier feast of Epiphany afforded
a substitute for the festival of the Nativity.
Other Days Observed.
The Christians of Armenia have stead
fastly declined to have anything to do
with December 25, and have for many cen
turies kept Christmas day at Epiphany, on
January 6. In the czar's vast empire some
people observe December 25 and others
keep to January 6, but both these Christ
mases fall on different days from ours.
Thla la explained by the proceedings of
Jullua Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII.
When the great Roman conqueror became
the master of the world he found the
calendar in a frightful state of confusion.
Caesar devised a reformed calendar of
his own, but, though It worked well for a
long time, it was not perfect. It gained a
fraction of time each year. Thla did not
amount to much in itself, but as the cen
turies rolled on It mounted up, and after
nearly 1,600 years the world was ten days
In advance of' actual dates. That is, what
was called January 1 was really Jan
People wero celebrating Christmas day on
January 4, while all the time they bliss
fully imagined it was December 5. In 1682
Pope Gregory reformed the calendar by
the extremely simply expedient of ordering
that October 5 of that year ahould be
called October 15.
The Intermediate ten daya were simply
Most countries In Europe promptly
adopted this change, but some of them at
first declined to do so, and England waa
among these. All through the seventeenth
century, therefore, England waa ten days
behind the greater part of the rest of the
world aa regards date.
In the eighteenth century on account of
the Julian calendar having by then gained
another day, Englishmen were eleven daya
behind. Finally the confusion arising .from
the use of two calendars became such a
nuisance as to seriously Interfere with
trade. So, In 1752, after a vast amount of
debate for many good folk thought it was
Irreligious to tamper wtth such things an
act of Parliament ordained that September
2 of that year should be reckoned aa Sep
Tho Russians, however, from start to
finish have absolutely refused to hive any
thing to do with the Gregorian calendar,
and tholr Christmas takes place on what is
our January C
Origin of Some Customs.
Comparatively few of the millions of per
sona who annually enter so heartily into
the festivities of Christmas give a thought
to tho origin of the customs they observe.
Young people, middle-aged people and old
people who take Indescribable pleasure in
decorating their homes with holly, mistletoe
and other evergreens In anticipation of a
reign of fun and frivolity, do not, as a rule,
give much thought ,to the nativity, and
never for a moment does any Idea con
cerning the origin of such decorations enter
How many good souls there are who de
light In the old-fashioned Christmas cus
toms,' and who once a year, at least, let
thomseJves out to enjoy the revels of St.
Nicholas' feaat In the good okt atyle, who
would hold up their hands In horror were
It even suggested that they were simply
imitating the "wicked old pagans." Al
most all our popular practices in honor of
the birth of Christ have their origin in
About 300 A. D. a boy was born in Lycla.
His parents called him Nichols, but (so
the chronicles tell us), though that waa a
man's name, he preserved the nature of a
child, for he chose "to kope vertues, mek
nes and slmpleness, and therefore children
doe him worship before all other saints."
The modern ohlkt's "Santa Clxus" Is a
Dutch contraction of "Sankt Nlkolaus,"
'Sank'nl K'luuV and the saint's custom of
giving pres' nts Becretly and In the dead of
night as tho development of a deed of
charity he performed when he assisted by
tossing three well-filled purses Into their
bedroom long after they had retired.
Thus Santa Claus comes about when the
children are asleep and gives them their
hearts' deslro. St. Nicholas' day was origi
nally early In December, but later it waa
confounded with Christmas.
There is an old ballad describing the
saint and his customs, thus:
St. Nicholas money used to give te may
Who, that he still may use his wonted lib
The mothers all their children on the eve
do cause to fast.
And when they every one at night In sense
less sleope are cuat.
Both appleii, nuttea and peares they bring
and other things besldta,
As capa and shooes and pttlcoats, which
secretly they hide.
And In the morning found, they aay, that
this St. Nicholas brought.
St. Nlcholle and Father Time.
The idea that St. Nicholas waa an old
hoary-bearded man cornea from the ancient
representations of Saturn, who wua
picture a patriach, and also from the
confounding of the Christmas Saint with
Father Time, who has always had his
apeclal day, on New Year' Eve, a wtek
This custom we derive from the Romans,
who on the first day of Saturnalia gave
to their servants and children, dolls, can
dles and little doll-like pastries, the exact
significance of which. It Is believed, had to
do with those days when human sacrifices
constitute a feature of the Saturnallan
The dolls ' were given principally to
children, although, their significance, it is
believed, was relative to that sacrifice of
human Uvea to the Infernal god which
was practised at Carthage.
Hardly waa the Saturnalia over when the
Pagan all a began. At thla festival an altar
was erected la each village throughout
Italy. For this all persons contributed
money. Hence arose the custom, so an old
medieval chronicler writes, for the"parents
to give cakes, toys, boxes, garments, little
wagons, apples, nuts, etc., to their children
on Christmas Eve., and sometimes rods
were added to the presents in order that the
children might be the more easily ruled by
fear of punishment.','
Mince Pie and Mistletoe.
To many people there Is, perhaps, nothing
more simply national than the Christmas
mince pie, unless it be pumpkin pie on
Thanksgiving Day. "Bills gastronomic
dainty has a history a old as Christmas
In the north, If not older. '
Its earliest known appearance was at the
winter feasts of the half-Christianized
Britons. It waa then, and la atlll In some
parta of Great Biitlan, made in the form
of a manger, and la supposed to represent
that in which the infant Christ was laid.
The mistletoe waa held In great reverence
by the Druids. It was believed to be partlc.
ularlly and divinely healing; In fact, it
waa given this attribute for centuries. It
had special significance as the cause of
the death of Balder, the Norse Apollo, who
was killed by an arrow made from its
branches and given to the blind Hoder by
Lokl. the god of mischief. Balder was re
stored to life, the mistletoe tree was placed
under the care of Friga; and from that
time until It touched the earth was never
again to be an Instrument of evil.
The present custom of kissing under the
mistletoe Is the outcome of an old practice
of the Druids. Persons of opposite sexes
passed under the suspended vine and gave
each other the kiss of love and peace In
full assurance that though It had caused
Haider's death, It had lost all Its power of
doing harm since his restoration.
Despite the pagan origin of the majority
of our Christmas customs, they have been
fjV MAvt tOuS tiUxAnita
Copyright 1908, The House
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so much infused with the spirit of peace
and good-will that their original signifi
cance is completely lost, and there is an
entirely different sentiment In the merry
festival of today.
Keeping; the Mistletoe and Holly.
It should be known that mistletoe and
holly are hardy perennial deciduous shrubs,
the former being a parasite and the latter
an earth-growing plant. For the Christ
mas holidays they are not usually cut until
about the first of December, when the
minimum amount of sap Is In the stems
and foliage. If kept In a temperature equal
to that outdoors at the time they are cut
they would retain their brilliancy for a
very long time, but they are usually taken
Into a hot room and hung along the walls
or from a chandelier at a considerable
height from the floor where the air is the
hottest, which accounts for the fact that
they wilt so quickly. Mistletoe can be cut
In the extreme south while the sap Is In
full flow In the stems and foliage, and It
can be hung In a hot room with Impunity,
but holly must huve moisture and not too
much heat or it will soon dry, this being
due to the evaporation of the moisture from
the leaves, which draw out, also, the little
stored In the stems, and It is only fit to
Arrangements should be made In cases
where these plants are used in decoration to
keep the temperature not to exceed 88 de
grees, and the decoration should not be
made until the last possible moment. In
order to get the longest possible use of the
holly and mistletoe In good condition treat
them as follows: As soon as received, sort
It over, rejecting any broken pieces for
small decorations. Keep the branches as
large as poHHlble, as by this means we
get more wood to use as a moisture stor
age for the use of the leaves. Bet the
branches In a warm room In water at least
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a foot deep. The heat will dry off the sur
face of the leaves and set in motion the
capillary action necessary to cause the
stems and leaves to gorge themselves with
water. After a few hours in the warm
room, set the branches, still In the water,
In a moderately cool room, and keop them
there until they are used for decoration. In
cases where a small quantity Is used, and It
Is especially desirable to keep It In good
condition for a longer time than usual, It
can be done if you go to the trouble to
wipe the ends of the stems dry after tak
ing from the water, let them lie an hour
and then dip them In melted parafflne This
should be done In all cases where a large
branch of mistletoe Is hung on a chandelier
for a "kissing bower," as, for such use, It
should be always In fine condition. The
advantage in the treatments outlined above
is as the molBture evaporates from the
leaves It will be supplied from that which
has been artificially stored In the stems, as
long as any remains. It Is simple but ef
fective. For the Christmas Bride.
When a wedding Is to take place on
Christmas day the Christmas presents may
be distributed the evening before and tho
Christmas treo utilized for the wedding
presents, which may be either hung on
the tree or arranged about It.
Have the ceremony at noon and lot
the bride's attendants be little girls,
dressed In white, carrying wreaths of holly.
They should precede the bride into the
room where the ceremony Is to take place.
The bridal party may arrange them
selves under a large bell of holly and
mistletoe In the front part of the room.
After congratulations have been offered
the bride and groom ahould lead the way
into tho dining room, where a Chrlstmaa
dinner la aerved.
When the bridal couple leave on their
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wedding Journey, later in tho day, they
may be ahowered with red and white
confetti from Christmas horns of holly
red paper and as the bride passes down
the stairs she may ifllng a, bunch of
mistletoe to her friends.
Christmas Tree Cnntlona.
A circular Issued by the state flro mar
shal, D. S. Creamer of Ohio, gives "season
able and sensible" advice for keeping the
Christmas tree from catching fire. Some
of the precepts are:
Don't use festoone of tissue paper or cot
ton batting on a tree.
Don't light a single candle until every
thing la ready for tho entrance of the
Juveniles who are to be dazzled.
Don't let the children touch the tree.
Don't let ITncle Henry shift the position
of the Roosevelt bear to make It show the
better, because he is likely to sway a candle
against something which will take fire.
Don't leave an Illuminated tree un
matched. Don't put cotton beneath the tree to
make the carpet look like snow-covered
You may guess what a woman Is, but
that s the limit.
And It sometimes happens that a man la
married to his boss.
He isn't much of a baker who eats ail
the bread he kneeds.
FOH THIS CHHITMAS.
Ye old-time stave that pealeth out
To Christmas revelers all,
At tavern tap and wassail bout, 1
And yo In banquet hall
Whiles ye old burden rings again,
Add yet ye verse, aa due:
"Und bless you. merry gentlemen"
And gentlewomen, too!
James Whltcomb Riley.
1408 Far nan? Bt-, Omaha, Veb.