**The Philippines celebrated Christmas as long ago as 1280-1320 A.D. That was 200 years before Ferdinand Magellan discovered the country.
**A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral was the first to shape candy canes with a “shepherd’s crook.” At that time, canes were plain white sugar candy. It was the 20th century before anyone added the stripes.
**Frankincense was burned by the Romans on their altars and at cremations. It was a valuable resin and was very costly. It is a sweet smelling gum resin from Boswellia trees. Frankincense was presented to the Christ Child by the black king, Balthasar.
**Oklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday. That happened in 1947.
**Dutch children receive gifts left in shoes rather than to hang Christmas stockings. The gifts are received any time between mid-November and December 5, which is St. Nicholas’s birthday.
**The modern version of a stable is wooden. However, if one studies the Biblical time period, he would realize that it was likely that Jesus Christ was born in a cave rather than a wooden stable. Caves were used to keep animals out of the intense heat of that area of the world. In fact, a large church is now built around the cave. People can go down inside the cave to see the reported scene.
** “Silent Night” was written in 1818 by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. The church organ was in disrepair, and Mohr did not want the ceremony to have no music. So, he composed three stanzas which could be sung by the choir to guitar music.
**”The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written to help Catholic children, in England, to remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs. The “true love” is God.
“Partridge in a pear tree” = Christ
2 Turtle Doves = Old and New Testament
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope, and Charity (Theological Virtues)
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels
5 Golden Rings = The “Pentateuch”
6 Geese A-Laying = the days of the Creation
7 Swans A-Swimming = the seven sacraments
9 Maids A-Milking = the eight beatitudes
10 Lords A-Leaping = the Ten Commandments
11 Pipers Piping = eleven apostles who remained faithful
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve point of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
Other fab links for Christmas-themed trivia:
http://www.corsinet.com/braincandy/xmastrivia.html (Lots of interesting facts here.)
http://thefw.com/christmas-facts/ (Contains some special items specific to Christmas)