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THE FARMER: Tr - ,'U..,m-,-,'. J"tiuiww!v WWWWflliiiriWWt " H"" "-ll1" - "wwi? fwwwwr. m iiiummiuiiu . j J ''''' ' ' j ' j ' ' V. I '7 I. 1 1 r I, - . 4 ' . . , I- f ( I V4 "4 M ' 'I' . - 1 rj " - ' ' ' - I HowtheGoodSaintNicli- olals Became the Patron Saint of Youth, and the Transition' to Santa Glaiis, thie Joyi of Chil dren at Christmas , ' Copyright, 1916, by The International ' . , Syndicate J ; 4 JJ 1 1 RpUND; many of the Christian U I festivals hover interesting and fascinating traditions and leg ends. The i origin of these , may, 1 3 hard to trace, but most of. them spring from ' some simple cele bration or incident -which' catches' the Jancy of the people and touches some entiment; that is found tq be universal in, mankind,; and one that is destined to endure for all time. t :v; V j The legendary history of all nations, jpaganfaa well as Christian, abound in . these traditions and in festival or pa tron 1 saints, !: associating themselves - Vith some national .': or religious -festival and finding expression ; in every conceivable : way! Time may change the form of ' the ceremony,, but. the main purpose of Jt remains, for' the lapse of centuries seldom changes the Idea which 'underlies he.' celebration of the occasion! or the. hqnoring of the saint who suggested the festival or gave ' rise ; to the tradition.', -In this Celebration of the Eve ohheNativity-ABlend-ing of the Supernatural and the Real. Copyright, 191fl y The International ' . Syndicate, v ' " TTN the old days the Christmas holl-. Uday began1 on Christmas Eve and ' ended on Twelfth night January 6th. During all this period there was 'feasting- and . merrynakis-j car ried: out on a much more elaborate scaje than it is today for our ances tors in feudal times celebrated with a riot of wining and dining which not infrequently; developed into an orgio According to the Church calendar the eves of great ecclesiastical festivals are times ; of fasting and penance,xbut In the ctyse of Christmas Eve it seems that .rulers in high authority decided that the night1 before the birth of the Child should be one of merriment ' and early in the Christian era Christ--mas Eve became almost as important as Christmas Day itself. This custom still prevails to a certain extent in Germany, where the children sit up half the night waiting .for Saint Nicholas (Santa , Claus) to come in ' and trim the tree, which their par ents, have set up. j Meanwhile, the parents have' "food and drink in honor of the Christ Child to be born on the . morrow." As far back as the thirteenth cen tury the people of Devonshire cele brated, Christmas Eve in regal style. Those who went after the Yule log, to be lighted on Christmas morning, were treated tocJder mixed with eggs , and spices. Master and servant met on equal footing on this particular night and side by side they played uch games as Jumping for the sugar covered cakes, which were suspended by strings from the celling. ' Some times the entire party proceeded to the orchard, carrying a hot cake and Clderas an offering, to the apple' trces for their, fruit fullness. After the cake was placed in the fork 9 the largest tree the cider was thrown over . XW while the men' fired shots and the ' girls shouted . verses beseeching ,the trees' to continue to bear fruit. Spiced 1 W OtiSf- ' class is Santa Claus, the wonder and delight of children, whose association with the Christmas time adds to the joyousness of the ' Christmas season, and whose mission typifies God's gift to man; rS , ; - "j 1 : V" . St. Nicholas Becomes Santa Clans. The name Santa Claus is a sort of nickname for the good Saint Nicholas, who was the patron saint of the chil dren. This saint's day occurs onlDe cember 6th, but somehow the real celebration of the day j has . . been changed to Christmas the feast of December . the 6th being a religious service Wlone and held in the Church as a sort of pre-Christmas service.' i The good Saint .Nicholas Was the Archbishop of Myra,' in Lycia, in the fourtn century a holy person iof vari ous attributes. ; He always took ,the pdrt' of the poor against the rich, and in, seaport towns he was beloyed by the';sailors because he stilled a storm when, they were journeying to the Holy Land. The thieves feared him because he always , made theni give back their plunder. , He( became the patron saint of boys and' girls., through a tradition that he once resuscitated three school boys whom a wicked inn zr2 yr'cr - Cr2 Ytf ale was used in some parts of Eng'.and and sprinkled on the meadows as well as th trees. Game Of Snapdragon. The game known as "Snapdragon" was in high favor during the reign Of Henry VIII, and it is said that this much married monarch's chief delight on Christmas Eve . 'was s watching his courtiers try their luck in this game and enjoying their discomfitur.e when they burned themselves, in the flame. The game, if it may be so called; was played by the, host depositing a quan tity of raisins in a large shallow bowl and pouring brandy over ,the fruit. The brandy was lighted atid the by stander endeavored to grab a raisin by plunging .his hands through the flames. As this is a feat which re quires more or less courage and rapid ity of action it evoked shouts pf laugh ter from the crowd when a courtier was unsuccessful. While this was go ing on the lights in the room were put out, so that the. flaming bowl might have the weird 1 effects of the Druid fire worship practiced centuries before. ' . Another fire game was putting a righted candle in a can ofale or cider and then drinking the contents of the vessel.. This ,was .made all the more difficult from the fact that long mustaches and flowing beards were in' fashion at that time. It is said that King Henry "Laughed immoderately when the mustache of one of . his courtiers caught flro." The Mummers. The Mummers, now known as "Kris I .1 I - - - keeper had murdered and salted in a tub; also because he saved three girls, daughters of a nobleman, from a life of infamy byi throwing them enough gold to enable them to marry honor abljr. He is supposed to have died on December ..6th, 342, and his festival is celebrated on thct date by the Ro man Catholic and Greek . Churches with especial reference to his patron age of youth. In most of! the Prot estant countries Saint Nicholas has be come Santa Claus, the dispenser of gifts at Christmas. i ' ! Origin Of Hanging Up Stockings. The writing to Santa Claus for gifts had its , origin in , France, many years ago when a few days before Christmas the children posted the following re quest above the fireplace in the living room: . ' ' ' ' . ; , ''. r r "St. -Nicholas, my good 'patron, ' ' Send me something very, good." ;. The request was usually granted, be ing quite as effective as the present day Santa Claus letters, which ' cover pages of our newspapers just. before the Christmas festival. In some parts of Europe Santa Kingles" are a product of the English Christmas" Evo of centuries ago -men and women garbed in fantastic costumes and masked who went from house to house perpetrating I coarse jokes and singing songs. Finally the ' Fathers of the Church feared that the disgraceful scenes of the old Roman feasts might be revived and they in troduced miracle plays in which the Mummers took part. These dramas continued for centuries and gradually evolved themselves into our modern Christmas charades and pantomimes. Mumming has existed for centuries in the Far East, and even today the men of Manchuria array themselves in ani mal skins and mask and run about the streets on feast days. This is in honor of their pagan gods. v The Lord of Misrule is another Eng lish Christmas Eve custom for on that day the Mayor of London appointed a certain man to lead the revels of Christmas Eve and be known as tho "Lord of Misrule." In mahy places this master of the revels was king of the festival until Twelfth Night when he abdicated his sovereignty?" with great ceremony. "WT.ils he hold sway all sorts of license was permitted by his satellites, and gradually the cus tom fell Into disuse. Touch Of The Supernatural. Christmas Eve has its supernatural side ' in many lands due perhaps to the fact that the Church has hallowed the night above all others of the year. It was to the shepherds keeping watch over their flock3 at night that the message camu of His birth, and in Claus boldly presents himself at the xioor with his pack of toys and goodies and giyes each child a gift. In South ern Austria Santa Claus is always ac companied by an angel, who questions each child as to its behavior during the past jyear and gives out the gifts according to the degrees of obedience. The smaller children are put to bed after dishes are set out to hold the goodies intended for them. It was the Holland Dutch who were responsible for the blending of Saint Nicholas into Santa Claus centuries ago, when they began to tell their children of the jolly old elf who came over, the house tops with his reindeer and sleigh full of toys each 'Christmas Eve, how he climbed down the., chimneys and trimmed Christmas trees and left toys while children were asleep. ',' In Holland And Germany. It was a beautiful idea, this bring ing gifts, and" as Saint licholas was the. patron saint of youth he soon be came the Santa - Claus of both Hol land arid Germany. The Dutch set tlers brought the tradition to America, where it lives today to the never-ending joy of v the American children whose .faith in Santa Claus is so great harmony with this is the midnight mass" of Christmas Eve celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church a ; re ligious service - lendinsr , a peculiar sanctity to the hour of its celebration, iret .with all the religious ceremony of the night there is a touch of pagan Ism in some of the beliefs. Take for instance ! the legend of the . Breton blacksmith who was found at work after the ringing of the bell for mid night mass. While he was bending over his forge a tall, stooping man with a scythe came in and begged him to put in a nail. He did so and the visitor then told him to send for a priest for this work would be his last. When the strange man had gone the blacksmith felt his limbs fail him and at dawn he died. He had mended the scythe of the Ankon peath, the Reaper. , In Scandinavian countries up to a few years ago the people had a vivid sense of the supernatural on Christ mas Eve. ' They believed that the dead came to revisit . their homes on that night. The living prepared for these visits with a mingled dread and anxiety to make the departed welcome. Candles were left lighted, beds were made and warm baths prepared for the uncanny visitors. This being done the family retired. Early the next morning the chairs were examined and it was always found that someone had used them during the night. In the Tyrolean Alps milk used to be set outside the houses while the midnight' mass was being sung. This was intended as food for the Christ that hey believe he ean t come down the chimney of a steam-heated apart ment just as he did when open fire places were in vogue. Time only adds more glory to the legend of Santa Claus, for of all personages whose marvelous doings have filled pages to the delight of others he stands out pre-eminent a,mong the children. He has outlived all the jgreat gods, and all the impressive and poetic concep tions which once flitted between heaven and earth; these have gone but Santa Claus remains by virtue of a common understanding that child hood shall not be despoiled of its most cherished beliefs. Who does not re call with delight Dr. Clement C. Moore's immortal lines of "The I Night Before Christmas," which is probably the most popular poem for children ever penne'd in America? As the vis its of Santa, Claus. in the night could only! be through the chimney we hung our stockings where they would be in full view. Then we lay awake far into the night and listened for the jingle of the sleigh bells and the clat ter of the reindeer hoofs -on th3 icy roof. Finally you? fell asleep, and in the morning rushed to the living room ------ - : ,t... ,. 2$S- ) , , " Child and His, Mother. This custom had. its origin In the Feast of Juul, in Norway,. when, pots of , porridge and milk were placed outside the door to win favor with "Tomte Gubbe" the god of the household, for the coming year. V'! ' ' Y ' Gift Of Speech In Animals. ' The belief that animals have the gift of speech on Christmas Eve has not entirely died out in Europe. This originated with the legend of the cat tle bowing in adoration before Vthe Child in the manger at -Bethlehem. Curious stories are related , to prove the , remarkable -. phenomenon. One comes from; the German- Alps and runs as 'follows:: "Once upon a time there was a farmer's servant who did not be lieve that beasts could speak, but hid himself in the stable , on Christmas Eve and listened. At midnight he heard surprising things ; , " We shall have hard work this week,' said one horse. ' ' " , " 'Yes, thev; farmer's servant is heavy,' answered the other. "'And the way to the churchyard is long and steep,' said the first. The. servant was buried that day week." Another comes from Brittany. "Once upon a time there was a Wom an who starved her cat and dog. At midnight on Christmas Eve she heard the dog say to the cat: '"It is quite time we lost our mis tress; she is a regular miser. Tonight burglars are coming to steal her money and if she cries they will break her head.' " 'Twill be a good deed,' the cat replied. "The woman-in terror got up to go to a neighbor's house. As she went out the burglars opened the door and when she cried out they broke her head."' . These stories go tq show that one cannot listen to the beasts' conversa tion with impunity. That this belief was at one time general is shown by a number of old prints in which the artists have put words as coming from the mouths of animals after the style used by cartoonists of the present day. Even the insects give praise on Christmas Eve, for, according to the , for your gifts which had been left by the jolly old elf. Workshop Hidden. Where does Santa Claus have his workshop, is one of the questions the children ask, and the Dutch have an answer, for they declare that it is away up in a big room where his wife never goes. There Santa Claus makes his wonderful toys, dolls, jumping jacks, horns, drums, and even now he is at work onj the gorgeous soldiers which he will bring to the boys this year. On Christmas Eve he gets his old sled down from the stable away up by the North' Pole, and as soon as his wife goes to sleep he puts on bis furs and gets his pipe and then loads the toys on his sled. The reindeer stand perfectly' still while he loads the sled, fearingo( move lest they wake the old lady. Uoad after load is car ried over the housetops and down the chimneys where he trims I Christmas trees, fills stockings and leaves toys. Santa- Claus enjoys his work and chuckles over the fact that his wife does not know that he is out of the house. ( 1 Rich People His Assistants. Few, if any, , children are neglected by Santa Claus, for should he be un able to make enough toys for all the children, kind rich people frequently purchase toys and send them to him to help him out. In New York there are a number of men and women banded together for this purpose. They even have a letter box in which poor children whose parents cannot, reach Santa Claus may post letters to him. Boy Scouts collect these letters and carry them to the headquarters of the society who forward them to Santa Claus with mpney arid toys po that he may be sure to be well supplied and that no child is overlooked. ' They can even reach old Santa by telephone now as he sits in his old Dutch kitchen. "Will Have Busy Time In Europe. Over in Europe Queen Mry, Queen Helena and, the Empress of Germany are all active assistants of Santa Claus, and even the people of the United States are helping him out in prepar ing giftSjfor the war orphans whose parents are unable to communicate with "jolly old Santa Claus," and hun dreds of dollars worth of Christmas legend, the bees sing carols in their hives, while the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air hover about to listen. Bread made from the wheat which grows near these hives and baked on Christmas ! Eve, it is said, will never become . mouldy even if kept a year.1 All Nature is thus sup posed to unite in celebrating the com ing birth of Christ and partake in the general joy of the Feast of the Nativity! -' fortune Telling. . . ' ; Christmas Eve up to the eighteenth century was a time for auguries. For instance, among the ! Slavs if a girl wanted to know what sort of a hus band she was to marry she put a loaf Of bread, a plate, a knife, spoon and fork on the table before retiring. At midnight the spirit of her future hus band is said to have come to her bed side and thrown the knife at her. If the knife fell without Injuring her she was sure of a good husband, but if hurt she would die young. When young mfen wished, to try their luck they had to wait until everybody was at midnight mass and then go out and sift ashes. While the , man was at work his future bride ( appeared and pulled his nose three times and then ran away. i In the early days there was a belief in France that while the midnight mass was being chanted hidden treas ures were revealed. In Russia the people believed that the waters of springs were turned to wine. The refusal to accept the miracle caused a, woman's death, so runs the legend. It seems that she determined to test the belief by drawing a bucket of wa-, ter from the well on Christmas Eve, declaring as it came up that she did not believe it was wine, but before the bucket reached the Jtop she fell dead and the water in the well turned to blood. ! In Germany a representation of j the Christ Child was introduced on Christ mas Eve1 usually a girl with golden hair who went about leaving gifts for the children. In Alsace, the girl who represented the Christ Child had her face made up with flour and wore a gilt paper crown with a candle .at the top. In one hand she carried a bell and in the other a basket of sweets. She was followed about by a boy dressed in bear skin with a blackened face. He threatened all bad, children with switches, but they were saved from chastisement by the Intercession of the Christ Child. This established usage still prevails in the rural districts- jplpl fi :t goodies and toys have been sent , to Santa Claus' European department. Queen Mary does not want him to forget the little crippled children at the London hospttr.ls, and last year he personally visited the children and gate them1 the gifts -himself. 1 Queen Helena has asked that the children of Italy's fighting men be remembered and will see to it that Santa Claus, has her assistance in giving a gift to all soldiers' children. Both the Empress and the Crown Princess of Germany are asking Santa Claus to cover the Christmas trees in the German homes with beautiful things for Christmas. ' In a German home without a Christ mas tree Would be like the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out, so these two royal ladies have called in the other ladles of the Court and all ; of them are lending a hand toward as sisting Santa Claus in his work. The old fellow has a heavy burden this year for he has so many swar orphans to remember. 1 , ' How happy the children of America should be this year with peace and plenty all about them.. Their fathers are ' not on the battle lines and their mothers are not doing men's work as are the parents of the poor children of Europe. Santa Claus has his pack ready, and when Christmas Eve comes he will bring out his sled and with a call to his reindeer: "Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen! .On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and i Blitzen!" ; , he will gallop over the housetops and i leave gifts for the little boys and girls ) of our land. May this beautiful legend of Santa Claus ever live to brighten our homes! He who does not see in the tradition ; of Santa Claus a beautiful faith on one side and a naive embodiment of a divine faet on ihe otber Is not fit to have a place at the Christmas board. A Such a man. says a noted writer, "should have neither carol, nor holly. ; nor mistletoe; they only shall keep-' the feast to whom all these things are but tha outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual graeV , Here's to Santa Claus, the children's friend, and In his own language: f"A Merry Christmas to all, and to' all good night!" ; : v Special Blessings. , There is a certain tradition in Spain,' which accounts for the fact that in nearly every room of the Spanish home one " finds a picture, of -the' Saviour. This is because there is a beautiful belief rooted in the, minds of the people that when the hour of midnight strikes on Christmas Eve the Virgin bringing blessings in her train visits every house where she can find an image or portrait of her son. It Is the custom iu Southern Spain for young girls to kneel before the picture of the Child and pray at that hour. There -is a rustle behind her as the Virgin passes. Then, the girl's mother enters the room as the Virgin goes out and the blessing is the mother's kiss. Italy has Its famous Bambino of Ara Coell in ,a Francescan Church on the citadel ot Rome- a large flesh-colored doll, made ' to ', represent the Christ Child. This figure is supposed to possess miraculous power in healing the sick on Christmas Eve. It is said; to be made of wood from the Mount of Olives and is tightly swathed in gold and silver tissue, crowned and sparkling with jewels. On Christmas Eve It is taken down from its pedestal and driven to visit the sick in a gilded carriage used for no other purpose.' Early on Christmas Eve the bejeweled doll - is carried to the top of the' Church and a priest raises it on high alnd reverently blesses the ' Eternal City. At one time thousands of peo- pie bowed down before it, but today? although many people still believe iir its healing virtues the number of wor shippers has greatly decreased. Christ-?-mas Eve has always been a great festival in Italy especially In Venice and Rome, where street parades' music and singing are enjoyed up 'to. the ringing of the bell for midnight mass when every body goes to church to welcome the Feast of the Nativity with songs Of praise.' The idea of hanging up one's stock ings on Christmas Eve dates back many centuries, having7 its : origin in Italy, where the children hung up their stockings on that night praying to the Holy Kings, who were b vh1r way with gitts to tne new-oor-u -.4 not to forget them. In Spain the chil dren always left a little hay or straW outside the door for the horses of the Wise Men, who were traveling to Beth lehem. i' . So, it will be seen that the celebra tion of Christmas Eve began many centuries ago, and like a number of our festivals it has touches of legend- axy and of the weird. V ' f. f .