Thursday, December 10, 2009

December Remembered

December is a time to remember significant world events. People in France recall Napoleon's coronation (December 2, 1804), Americans commemorate the Pearl Harbor attack (December 7, 1941), and Poles reflect on the landslide election of Lech Walesa (December 9, 1990).

Around the world, people also celebrate Christmas in various ways. In addition to religious services, children hang stockings by fireplaces (a custom originating with St. Nicholas of Myra), adults hang mistletoe (once sacred to ancient Druids), people decorate indoor trees (following a tradition reportedly started in Germany) and families use holly with Yule logs (like long-ago Norsemen who depended on those items to ward-off evil spirits).

On the 24th of December, 1818, "Silent Night" (by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr) was first performed in Oberndorf, Austria (in front of the altar at the Church of St. Nikolaus). Twenty-five years later (on the 19th of December, 1843), Charles Dickens published "A Christmas Carol," the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the warnings he received from his partner "Old Marley" (who "was as dead as a door-nail") and "Three Spirits" (the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future).

Although Dickens quickly penned the tale, to provide much-needed income for his growing family, people loved the story. They still do.

To provide for his growing family, Charles Dickens wrote his novella - A Christmas Carol - over a three-week period in 1843. It was published, to great acclaim, just before Christmas that year.

Often produced for film, the story remains very popular during the holidays. This clip - from a 1984 version starring George C. Scott (as Ebenezer Scrooge) and Frank Finlay (as Jacob Marley) - depicts a visit from Marley (now a ghost) who warns Scrooge (still a miser) that he must change the way he is living his life.
Awesome Stories~December 2009

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