Christmas Bingo - Last two numbers up

Re: Christmas Bingo - Eighth numbers are up

by jocellogirl » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:42 pm

Tonight's numbers are:

16. Mince Pies

A mince pie is a fruit-based mincemeat sweet pie of British origin that is traditionally served during the Christmas season. The early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shrid pie and Christmas pie. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Served around Christmas, the savoury Christmas pie (as it became known) was associated with supposed Catholic "idolatry" and during the English Civil War was frowned on by the Puritan authorities. Nevertheless, the tradition of eating Christmas pie in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed. Today the mince pie remains a popular seasonal treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom.
The ingredients for the modern mince pie can be traced to the return of European crusaders from the Holy Land. Middle Eastern methods of cooking, which sometimes combined meats, fruits and spices, were popular at the time. Pies were created from such mixtures of sweet and savoury foods; in Tudor England, shrid pies (as they were known then) were formed from shredded meat, suet and dried fruit. The addition of spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg was, according to the English antiquary John Timbs, "in token of the offerings of the Eastern Magi." Early pies were much larger than those consumed today, and oblong shaped rather than round.
The modern mince pie's precursor was known by several names. In Elizabethan and Jacobean-era England they were known as minched pies, but other names include mutton pie, and starting in the following century, Christmas pie. One recipe from 1615 recommends taking "a leg of mutton", and cutting "the best of the flesh from the bone", before adding mutton suet, pepper, salt, cloves, mace, currants, raisins, prunes, dates and orange peel. During the English Civil War, along with the censure of other Catholic customs, they were banned: "Nay, the poor rosemary and bays, and Christmas pie, is made an abomination." Puritans were opposed to the Christmas pie, on account of its connection with Catholicism
Although the modern recipe is no longer the same list of 13 ingredients once used (representative of Christ and his 12 Apostles according to author Margaret Baker), and lacks the religious meaning contained therein, the mince pie remains a popular Christmas treat.
Mincemeat pie was brought to New England by English settlers in the 17th century. While it was originally a Christmas pie, as in Britain, the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas, causing the pie's associations in the region to shift toward the American holiday of Thanksgiving. The ingredients for New England mincemeat pie are similar to the British one, with a mixture of apples, raisins, spices, and minced beef serving as the filling. Later recipes sometimes omit the beef, though "None Such" (now owned by The J.M. Smucker Company), the major brand of condensed American mincemeat, still contains beef. New England mincemeat pies are usually full-sized pies, as opposed to the individual-sized pies now common in Britain.
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17. Mistletoe

Mistletoe is a plant that grows on willow and apple trees. The tradition of hanging it in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. It is supposed to possess mystical powers which bring good luck to the household and wards off evil spirits. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse mythology.
When the first Christians came to Western Europe, some tried to ban the use of Mistletoe as a decoration in Churches, but many still continued to use it! York Minster Church in the UK used to hold a special Mistletoe Service in the winter, where wrong doers in the city of York could come and be pardoned.
Mistletoe is commonly used as a Christmas decoration, though such use was rarely alluded to until the 18th century. According to custom, the mistletoe must not touch the ground between its cutting and its removal as the last of Christmas greens at Candlemas. It may remain hanging throughout the year, often to preserve the house from lightning or fire, until it is replaced the following Christmas Eve.
The name mistletoe comes from two Anglo Saxon words 'Mistel' (which means dung) and 'tan' (which means) twig or stick. Mistletoe was also hung on the old English decoration the Kissing Bough.
The best-known mistletoe tradition is the kissing one – hanging mistletoe high in a room and kissing loved ones, or complete strangers, beneath it, is hugely popular Christmas custom. The original custom was that a berry was picked from the sprig of Mistletoe before the person could be kissed and when all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing!
It is a very ‘British’ traditionally only practised abroad in English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc), though becoming popular everywhere in recent decades.
Mid-winter mistletoe customs in continental Europe have traditionally included seeing mistletoe as a plant of peace and luck. In France it was often given as a Porte Bonheur - a gift for luck, particularly for the New Year, rather than at Christmas. This association with peace may have origins as ancient as the kissing custom, as the plant is associated with peace in the Norse, Greek and Roman traditions about mistletoe. The peace association was a tradition in Britain too at one time, though it has become eclipsed by the kissing custom feature.
During the First World War embroidered ‘silk’ postcards sent from the Front at Christmas often depicted mistletoe, perhaps emphasising mistletoe’s value both as a symbol of peace and as a message for loved ones.
In Britain, mistletoe is the only native plant with white berries and the Mistle Thrush is named after mistletoe, as this is the bird’s favourite food.
Tenbury Wells, a town fairly local to where we live, is the centre of the holly and mistletoe trade in England, holding auctions of these seasonal plants in late November and early December. The plant is common in this area, as it grows widely on apple trees which are prevalent in the orchards of the Midlands.
Winston Graham reports a Cornish tradition that mistletoe was originally a fine tree from which the wood of the Cross was made, but afterwards it was condemned to live on only as a parasite.
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Ninth numbers are up

by rcperryls » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:16 pm

No picks for me but the information, as usual, is so interesting. Hard to believe that a pie would be banned but then again .... I also realized that I've never eaten mincemeat pie. It always looks so inviting in the movies. I might have to see about getting one. And I knew some of the info about mistletoe but not near as much detail as you have given us. So I'm at 6 /10 still but looking forward to tomorrow and good luck to those who are getting close!

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Re: Christmas Bingo - Ninth numbers are up

by fccs » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:18 pm

I'm stuck at 7/10, but still loving the game and learning a lot!!!
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Ninth numbers are up

by salome » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:22 pm

Up to 7/10 today!

Fascinating reading as usual. I've had mincemeat pies before and they are delicious! Mistletoe is something my family has never done, aside from a plastic sprig you can buy at the dollar store. I may have to see if the hubby's willing to go find some in the woods...
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Ninth numbers are up

by jocellogirl » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:55 pm

It's getting close now!!!
Today's numbers are

5. Christmas Card

The first Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London on the 1st of May 1843. The central picture showed three generations of a family raising a toast to the card's recipient: on either side were scenes of charity, with food and clothing being given to the poor.
The first Christmas cardImage
Allegedly the image of the family drinking wine together proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier. Two batches totalling 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.
Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favouring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. Humorous and sentimental images of children and animals were popular, as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials. At Christmas 1873, the lithograph firm Prang and Mayer began creating greeting cards for the popular market in England. The firm began selling the Christmas card in America in 1874, thus becoming the first printer to offer cards in America. Its owner, Louis Prang, is sometimes called the "father of the American Christmas card." By the 1880s, Prang was producing over five million cards a year by using the chromolithography process of printmaking. However, the popularity of his cards led to cheap imitations that eventually drove him from the market. The advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned. The extensive Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection from the Manchester Metropolitan University gathers 32,000 Victorian and Edwardian greeting cards, printed by the major publishers of the day, including Britain’s first commercially produced Christmas card.
The production of Christmas cards was, throughout the 20th century, a profitable business for many stationery manufacturers, with the design of cards continually evolving with changing tastes and printing techniques. The now widely-recognized brand Hallmark was established in 1913 by Joyce Hall with the help of brother Rollie Hall to market their self-produced Christmas cards. The Hall brothers capitalized on a growing desire for more personalized greeting cards, and reached critical success when the outbreak of World War I increased demand for cards to send to soldiers. The World Wars brought cards with patriotic themes. Idiosyncratic "studio cards" with cartoon illustrations and sometimes risque humor caught on in the 1950s. Nostalgic, sentimental, and religious images have continued in popularity, and, in the 21st century, reproductions of Victorian and Edwardian cards are easy to obtain. Modern Christmas cards can be bought individually but are also sold in packs of the same or varied designs. In recent decades changes in technology may be responsible for the decline of the Christmas card. The estimated number of cards received by American households dropped from 29 in 1987 to 20 in 2004. Email and telephones allow for more frequent contact and are easier for generations raised without handwritten letters - especially given the availability of websites offering free email Christmas cards. Despite the decline, 1.9 billion cards were sent in the U.S. in 2005 alone. Some card manufacturers now provide E-cards. In the UK, Christmas cards account for almost half of the volume of greeting card sales, with over 668.9 million Christmas cards sold in the 2008 festive period. In mostly non-religious countries (e.g. Czech Republic), the cards are rather called New Year Cards, however they are sent before Christmas and the emphasis (design, texts) is mostly given to the New Year, omitting religious symbols.

28. Turkey

The festive period is full of age-old traditions such as eating turkey on Christmas Day. But how did this originate and why should we continue this tradition? It has not always been traditional to eat turkey on Christmas day. Indeed, before the turkey was introduced to Britain, geese, peacocks and even boars' head were eaten as a Christmas day treat. In 1526 William Strickland imported six turkeys from America and sold them for tuppence each.
The birds were considered to be extremely tasty and a more practical alternative to other livestock such as cows (which were more useful alive to produce milk), or chickens (which were more expensive than they are today). The popularity of turkeys has steadily increased and today in the UK we eat around 10 million turkeys every year.
Henry VIII was reputed to be the first person to eat turkey on Christmas Day, but it was not until the mid-twentieth century that the turkey overtook the goose as the most popular Christmas Day meal. Today 87% of British people believe that Christmas would not be Christmas without a traditional roast turkey. Turkeys have the advantage of being affordable, big enough to feed the entire extended family (with guaranteed leftovers!) and fresh - if you know where to buy them from! Naturally they are born in the spring and typically take about seven months to mature to a healthy full-sized turkey.
If they are reared free range they have the space to roam around, ensuring that their muscles and tissues are fully developed. If you want to ensure you have the most succulent and flavourful bird for your Christmas celebrations buy your free range turkeys direct from the farm.
A survey shows that the top three most popular ways to serve leftover Christmas turkey are: sandwiches, soups/stews or salads, although we are quite partial to turkey curry and turkey risotto, and you can’t beat stock made from the carcass.
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by rcperryls » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:57 pm

none today but interesting info as usual. I have wondered how turkey came to be a traditional Christmas meal in the UK since it is native to North America. The Cratchett family was saved from having to split a small goose for Christmas dinner by Scrooge surprising them with the "large turkey still hanging in the butcher shop" (not an exact quote but I'm too lazy to look it up right now) after his night with the Christmas ghosts. I think a lot of Americans have a big ham or rib roast on Christmas because they just ate turkey on Thanksgiving and probably still have leftovers in the freezer. Still, plenty of turkeys don't make it to the 26th.

Good luck everyone.

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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by salome » Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:43 am

rcperryls wrote:The Cratchett family was saved from having to split a small goose for Christmas dinner by Scrooge surprising them with the "large turkey still hanging in the butcher shop" (not an exact quote but I'm too lazy to look it up right now) after his night with the Christmas ghosts.

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I'm currently reading A Christmas Carol to my 4 year old and this part is my favorite!!

"Do you know the Poulterer's, in the next street but one, at the corner?" Scrooge inquired.

"I should hope I did," replied the lad.

"An intelligent boy!" said Scrooge. "A remarkable boy! Do you know whether they"ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there -- Not the little prize Turkey: the big one?"

"What, the one as big as me?" returned the boy.

"What a delightful boy!" said Scrooge. "It's a pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck."

"It's hanging there now," replied the boy.

"Is it?" said Scrooge. "Go and buy it."


(Side note: I'm going Tuesday to have "Tea With Dickens" in Colonial Williamsburg - a marvellous afternoon spent sipping tea, eating lovely treats, while listening to/watching Charles Dickens' great-great-grandson do a dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol. According to Mr. Dickens, Charles did the same after the book became popular so he is carrying on a family tradition. It's very wonderful. Colonial Williamsburg is my favorite place, A Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas tale, Dickens is my favorite author, and tea is my favorite drink. Win-win for me!)

I'm up to 8/10 today! :whoop: We have turkey and ham on Christmas, as well as a host of other foodstuffs. I still delight in sending a few and receiving Christmas cards, and have saved every one we've gotten since we were married. I keep saying I'll go through them and frame some for holiday decoration, but alas...
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by Weedaisy » Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:21 am

I have 8/10. Now back to work. :( This week has been a beast!
 
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by cairee » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:50 am

Im up to 8 now!
8/10
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by chalicedhearts » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:45 am

Up to 8/10 here as well...going to be another close one. :whoop:
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by rcperryls » Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:00 pm

salome wrote:I'm going Tuesday to have "Tea With Dickens" in Colonial Williamsburg - a marvellous afternoon spent sipping tea, eating lovely treats, while listening to/watching Charles Dickens' great-great-grandson do a dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol. According to Mr. Dickens, Charles did the same after the book became popular so he is carrying on a family tradition. It's very wonderful. Colonial Williamsburg is my favorite place, A Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas tale, Dickens is my favorite author, and tea is my favorite drink.

I love a Christmas Carol and watch every version that is made (from the very best to the very worst) and shown on tv every year. This year a plantation that is near us is having a new Christmas event called a Lowcountry Christmas. One of the events is a
"The Holiday Hayride includes a twenty minute ride through the woods that feature stationary exhibits with costumed mannequins that display the different scenes from The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. There is also a variety of lights displayed throughout the ride. You will have a live guide that will interact with pre-recorded narration as told through the eyes of Ebenezer Scrooge himself." We will be going next week so I'll let you know if it is worth a trip to Charleston!

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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by fccs » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:23 pm

I'm stuck in a holding pattern, but still learning so much!

rcperryls wrote:This year a plantation that is near us is having a new Christmas event called a Lowcountry Christmas
Carole
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That sounds like a lot of fun! Looking forward to a critique.
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by rcperryls » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:44 pm

It should be fun. There is Santa's 3D castle and a North Pole Main Street. And it is only about 10 minutes from my house. I am hoping it is not a flop as we are replacing it with our annual trip to one of our county parks which has an amazing Festival of Lights display every Christmas. Just keeping fingers crossed that the weather stays as good as it is right now.

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Re: Christmas Bingo - Tenth numbers are up

by jocellogirl » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:09 pm

Gosh, this is getting close!!!
Eleventh numbers are:

13. Good King Wenceslas

"Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol that tells a story of a Czech king going on a journey in braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (December 26, the day after Christmas). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king's footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia or Svatý Václav in Czech (907–935). The name Wenceslas is a latinised version of the modern Czech language "Vaclav".
In 1853, English hymnwriter John Mason Neale wrote the "Wenceslas" lyrics, in collaboration with his music editor Thomas Helmore, and the carol first appeared in Carols for Christmas-Tide, 1853. Neale's lyrics were set to the melody of a 13th-century spring carol "Tempus adest floridum" ("The time is near for flowering") first published in the 1582 Finnish song collection Piae Cantiones.
Wenceslas was son of Vratislaus I, Duke of Bohemia from the Přemyslid dynasty. His father was raised in a Christian milieu through his own father, Borivoj I of Bohemia, who was converted by Saints Cyril and Methodius. His mother Drahomíra was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief of Havolans and was baptized at the time of her marriage.
In 921, when Wenceslas was thirteen, his father died and he was brought up by his grandmother, Saint Ludmila, who raised him as a Christian. A dispute between the fervently Christian regent and her daughter-in-law drove Ludmila to seek sanctuary at Tetín Castle near Beroun. Drahomíra, who was trying to garner support from the nobility, was furious about losing influence on her son and arranged to have Ludmila strangled at Tetín on September 15, 921. Wenceslas is usually described as exceptionally pious and humble, and a very educated and intelligent young man.
According to some legends, having regained control of her son, Drahomíra set out to convert him to the old pagan religion. According to other legends, she was a Christian herself; however, very little is known about her rule.
After the fall of Great Moravia, the rulers of the Bohemian duchy had to deal both with continuous raids by the Magyars and the forces of the Saxon duke and East Frankish king Henry the Fowler, who had started several eastern campaigns into the adjacent lands of the Polabian Slavs, homeland of Wenceslas's mother. To withstand Saxon overlordship Wenceslas's father Vratislaus had forged an alliance with the Bavarian duke Arnulf the Bad, then a fierce opponent of King Henry; however, it became worthless when Arnulf and Henry reconciled at Regensburg in 921.
In 924 or 925 Wenceslas assumed government for himself and had Drahomíra exiled. After gaining the throne at the age of eighteen, he defeated a rebellious duke of Kouřim named Radslav. He also founded a rotunda consecrated to St Vitus at Prague Castle in Prague, which exists as present-day St Vitus Cathedral.
Early in 929 the joint forces of Duke Arnulf of Bavaria and King Henry I the Fowler reached Prague in a sudden attack, which forced Wenceslas to resume the payment of a tribute which had been first imposed by the East Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia in 895. Henry had been forced to pay a huge tribute to the Magyars in 926 and he therefore needed the Bohemian tribute which Wenceslas probably refused to pay any longer after the reconciliation between Arnulf and Henry. One of the possible reasons for Henry's attack was also the formation of the anti-Saxon alliance between Bohemia, the Polabian Slavs and the Magyars.
In September 935 a group of nobles—allied with Wenceslas' younger brother Boleslav—plotted to kill the Duke. After Boleslav invited Wenceslas to the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Stará Boleslav, three of Boleslav's companions—Tira, Česta and Hněvsa—murdered Wenceslas on his way to church after a quarrel between him and his brother. As he fell down, Wenceslas murmured words of forgiveness for his brother. Boleslav thus succeeded him as the Duke of Bohemia.
According to Cosmas' Chronicle, one of Boleslav's sons was born on the day of Wenceslas' death, and because of the ominous circumstance of his birth the infant was named Strachkvas, which means "a dreadful feast".
There are discrepancies in the records regarding the date of St Wenceslas' death. It has been argued that Wenceslas' remains were transferred to St Vitus' Church in 932, ruling out the later date; however, the year 935 is now favored by historians as the date of his murder.
There is a tradition which states that Saint Wenceslas' loyal servant, Podevin, avenged his death by killing one of the chief conspirators. Podevin was executed by Boleslav.
Wenceslas was considered a martyr and a saint immediately after his death in the 10th century, when a cult of Wenceslas grew up in Bohemia and in England. Within a few decades of Wenceslas's death, four biographies of him were in circulation. These hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages conceptualization of the rex justus, or "righteous king"—that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigor.
Referring approvingly to these hagiographies, a preacher from 12th century says:
But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.
Several centuries later the legend was claimed as fact by Pope Pius II, who himself also walked ten miles barefoot in the ice and snow as an act of pious thanksgiving.
Although Wenceslas was, during his lifetime, only a duke, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I posthumously "conferred on [Wenceslas] the regal dignity and title" and that is why, in the legend and song, he is referred to as a "king". Wenceslas is not to be confused with King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia (Wenceslaus I Premyslid), who lived more than three centuries later.
An equestrian statue of Saint Wenceslaus and other patrons of Bohemia (St. Adalbert, St. Ludmila, St. Prokop and St. Agnes of Bohemia) is located on Wenceslaus Square in Prague. His helmet and armour are on display inside Prague Castle.
The hymn "Svatý Václave" (Saint Wenceslas) or "Saint Wenceslas Chorale" is one of the oldest known Czech songs in history. Its roots can be found in the 12th century and it still belongs to the most popular religious songs to this day. In 1918, in the beginning of the Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as one of the possible choices for the national anthem.
His feast day is celebrated on September 28, while the translation of his relics, which took place in 938, is commemorated on March 4.
Since 2000, the feast day of Saint Wenceslas (September 28) is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrated as the Czech Statehood Day.
Wenceslaus is the subject of the popular Saint Stephen's Day (celebrated on December 26 in the West) Carol, "Good King Wenceslas". It was published by John Mason Neale in 1853, and may be a translation of a poem by Czech poet Václav Alois Svoboda.
An enduring legend claims a huge army of knights sleep inside Blaník, a mountain in the Czech Republic. The knights will awake and under the command of St. Wenceslaus and bring aid to the Czech people when they face ultimate danger. There is a similar great legend in Prague which says that when the Motherland is in danger or in its darkest times and close to ruin, the equestrian statue of King Wenceslaus in Wenceslaus Square will come to life, raise the army sleeping in Blaník, and upon crossing the Charles Bridge his horse will stumble and trip over a stone, revealing the legendary sword of Bruncvík. With this sword, King Wenceslaus will slay all the enemies of the Czechs, bringing peace and prosperity to the land.
The statue of Wenceslas in Wenceslas Square, Prague Image

14. Goose

There's a tendency to think of the turkey as having been the traditional Christmas dinner for ages. But only a couple of centuries ago, turkeys would have been seen in Europe as pricey fad food -- a waste of time when there were better, cheaper and more traditional alternatives available: like goose.
The Christmas goose, and much else about the modern festival, owe a great deal to Dickens, who helped to rescue the season from an austere and meditative puritanism that had strangled it for centuries. I find it impossible to read A Christmas Carol without sobbing, and the goose-led Cratchit dinner evokes a warm and sentimental pathos that can stir even the flintiest heart. For those Dickens-lovers amongst you (Carole!!):
“[Grace] was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs. Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast; but when she did, and when the long-expected gush of stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose all round the board, and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried, Hurrah!”
It's a scene of domestic contentment and family harmony probably rarer than we would wish at this time of year, but I think it remains an ideal worth aspiring to.
The goose has been perfectly created to make for the ideal Christmas feast. Geese are ready to be eaten twice a year. Once when they are young or "green" in the early summer and again when they are at their fattest and ripest toward the end of the year after having feasted on fallen corn. It also has the softest fat in its category of animal. The fat turns to liquid at 111 degrees Fahrenheit (compared to duck fat, which liquefies at 126 degrees) making it easier to cook and its fat easier to consume. They were thus used as the centerpiece at Michaelmas, a feast day celebrated during the Middle Ages, which fell on the winter solstice and honored the end of the harvest and the change in season. Earlier than that roast goose was an offering to Odin and Thor in thanks for the harvest. It was also ritually eaten in ancient Greek culture in order to insure the crops in the months to come. It was only natural for goose to become the roast of choice for the Christmas, which eventually took the place of other winter solstice festivities. For the American settlers, turkey took goose's place because that's what happened to be living on their new home soil and it too followed the same pattern of maturation.

The association of geese with the feasts of deep winter and the Solstice's death-and-rebirth theme may go back as far as ancient Egypt, where the goose was the symbol of the creator-god Amen -- the universe itself was sometimes said to have been hatched from a "cosmic egg" produced by this deity.
But leaving aside any possible religious connotations, geese were the perfect fowl for small farmers down through the centuries to raise (and later, big farmers too). They were smart, economical to keep -- since they live by grazing and don't need expensive grain -- and best of all, geese are tough, able to withstand disease and bad weather. By contrast, the turkey, which Spanish and West African traders started bringing to Europe from Mexico in the 1600's, needed a lot of coddling in Europe because it had little resistance to the avian disease histamonosis or "black head", a protozoan-borne liver disease of barnyard fowl. So disease-prone and labour-intensive a bird was expensive to raise; since that extra cost was naturally passed along to the customer, turkeys were slow to spread through western Europe.
Meanwhile as populations grew, and demand for geese along with them, prices dropped and geese became cheaper and easier than ever for even city people to enjoy at Christmas. For the last few centuries, as December approached, hundreds of thousands of geese -- sometimes wearing foot protection to help them cope with the hard roads -- would be herded from upcountry farms to cities like London in gigantic flocks, then dispersed to local keepers and breeders for their final fattening. People in city suburbs even raised geese in their back yards: the loss of a city-bred goose like this is what gets Sherlock Holmes involved in "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle." It would be nearly another half-century before the price of turkeys would drop low enough for them to start competing with geese. Until then they were seen as a pricey fad food only suitable for gourmands and rich people. This is why, in A Christmas Carol, only when the wealthy Scrooge pays for dinner is there any chance the Cratchit family will have a turkey for Christmas. Their own original choice is the traditional and affordable goose.*
These days the popularity of goose is on the rise again as people start to get tired of the tasteless meat of turkeys that have been bred for sheer size, or are simply looking for something that hasn't been intensively reared and is "greener". Geese are perfect in this regard, since there's no such thing as an intensively-reared goose. They're free range by definition, spending the majority of their lives grazing on grass in the open fields. The so-called "green goose", which comes into season around the Christian feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, or Michaelmas (September 29), is reared exclusively on grass and greenery, and is fairly lean. The later "harvest" goose, also called the Martinmas goose for its finishing time around Saint Martin's feast (November 11th), spends its remaining time being fattened on grain, usually wheat or barley, and it's fatter and meatier as a result. This is the classic Christmas goose.
In past years North Americans have sometimes been scared off the concept of making roast goose for Christmas because of rumours that it's a greasy bird, or that it won't be as good for holiday eating because it doesn't have as much meat on it as a turkey. It's true that the meat-to-carcass ratio on a goose is lower than it is on a turkey. But goose meat is much richer than turkey meat, and also much more flavourful: not a gamey flavour, but a substantial one. Once you've tasted a well-roasted goose, the contrast between its rich dark flavour and the bland flavour of turkey will surprise you. Also, the extra fat in the goose's skin makes it difficult to dry out a goose while roasting it. The fat you pour off at intervals during the roasting process can be stored in the fridge or freezer for months, and makes the best roast potatoes on Earth. Additionally, pound for pound, goose is economical compared to turkey. Even a small goose of eight pounds can satisfy four people.
Sales of goose for Christmas in Britain and Ireland have been experiencing an upswing: in some places sales are up 100% or more. But elsewhere in Europe the strong holiday goose tradition has never waned despite the presence of the turkey. In Germany, Switzerland and Austria in particular, restaurants in every major city will offer succulent, crisp-skinned roast goose to their patrons at Michaelmas, Martinmas, and around Christmas time. The normal side dishes in the German-speaking countries are potato dumplings and red cabbage, and the goose's stuffing normally contains potato as well. In England and Ireland, the stuffings often feature tart fruits like quince, apple or cranberry, as well as savoury sausage meats and bacon.
Here are some fun facts about the majestic goose to chat about while you dine on its deliciously dark, rich meat:
-Sixteenth century scholar, Jules Cesar Scaliger, is quoted as saying that "geese lower their heads in order to pass under a bridge, no matter how high its arches are."
-Alexandre Dumas, the historical novelist and gastronomic storyteller, wrote that "they have so much foresight that when they pass over Mount Taurus, which abounds in eagles, each goose will take a stone in its beak. Knowing what chatterboxes they are, they ensure, by
thus constraining themselves, that they will not emit the sounds which would cause their enemies to discover them."
-According to Dumas, a French chemist "saw a goose turning a spit on which a turkey was roasting. She was holding the end of the spit in her beak; and by sticking out and pulling back her neck, produced the same effect as the use of an arm. All she needed
was to be given a drink from time to time."

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Re: Christmas Bingo - Eleventh numbers are up

by rcperryls » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:25 pm

:applesauce: 1 goose for me :roll: so I'm at 7/10, but if someone picked right we could have a winner today. Good luck! And thank you Jo for some interesting reading again!

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Re: Christmas Bingo - Eleventh numbers are up

by cairee » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:00 pm

one more puts me at 9/10 :dance:
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Eleventh numbers are up

by Linda Rose » Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:15 am

I have finally made my way back home, where I am very happy to be! I have enjoyed the reading of the Christmas traditions so much that I forgot to check them agains my own picks, but I think I am somewhere around 6 for 10. Not stunning, but not bad for someone who hasn't been around much.

Jo - all of the information given is so interesting. I love learning new things around a subject so very familiar to me. Thanks for helping me out.

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Re: Christmas Bingo - Eleventh numbers are up

by salome » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:01 am

I'm at 9/10 now!! :tizzy: :tizzy:

"Good King Wenceslas" is my favorite Christmas carol. It's so soothing and beautiful. And one day I'll actually have goose at Christmas!
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Eleventh numbers are up

by jocellogirl » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:05 pm

Getting very close now. Do we have a winner today?
Numbers are:

10. Epiphany

Epiphany, also known as "Three Kings Day" and "Twelfth Day," is a Christian holiday commemorated on January 6. It falls on the twelfth day after Christmas, and for some denominations signals the conclusion of the twelve days of the Christmas season. Though many different cultural and denominational customs are practiced, in general, the feast celebrates the manifestation of God in the form of human flesh through Jesus Christ, his Son.
The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation" and is commonly linked in Western Christianity with the visit of the wise men (Magi) to the Christ child. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the gentiles. In Eastern Christianity, Epiphany puts emphasis on the baptism of Jesus by John, with Christ revealing himself to the world as God's own Son. Likewise, on Epiphany some denominations commemorate Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine, signifying the manifestation of Christ's divinity as well.
In the Latin church, the feast of Christmas was established before Epiphany. Over time the western churches decided to celebrate Christmas on December 25th. The eastern churches continued to treat January 6th as the day marking Jesus's birth.
This has given rise in the west to the notion of a twelve day festival, starting on December 25th and ending on January 6th, called the twelve days of Christmas, although some Christian cultures — especially those of Latin America — extend it to 40 days, ending on Candlemas, or February 2 (known as Candelaria in Spanish).
Prior to 1970, the Roman Catholic Church (and prior to 1976, the Anglican churches) reckoned Epiphany as an eight-day feast, beginning on January 6 and continuing through the Octave of Epiphany, or January 13.
Many traditions surround Epiphany celebrations, which vary from culture to culture. Customs include the Star Singers (children dressed as kings and holding up a large star, singing carols from house to house); collecting money for charity; and the “plundering” and burning of Christmas trees. In the French Catholic culture, Epiphany marks the beginning of Mardi Gras, as “king cakes” are baked and served.

Other traditions include prayers (some offered to “Caspar,” “Melchoir,” and “Balthasar,” the traditional names of the magi); the blessing of holy water; the burning of “blessed” herbs; and the offering of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
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26. Stockings

A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that is hung on Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) can fill it with small toys, candy, fruit, coins or other small gifts when he arrives. These small items are often referred to as stocking stuffers or stocking fillers. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus; in other stories (and in tradition), some presents are also wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture threatens that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a piece or pile of coal. However, coal is rarely if ever left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel. Some people even put their Christmas stocking by their bedposts so Santa Claus can fill it by the bed while they sleep.
While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example:
“Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after his death. He thought they would become prostitutes. Saint Nicholas was passing through when he heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn't accept charity. He decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags of gold through an open window, one landed in a stocking. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after. Other versions of the story say that Saint Nicholas threw the three bags of gold directly into the stockings which were hung by the fireplace to dry.”
This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so, St. Nicholas is a gift-giver. This is also the origin of three gold balls being used as a symbol for pawnbrokers.
A tradition that began in a European country originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks, but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. The Christmas stocking custom is derived from the Germanic/Scandinavian figure Odin. According to Phyllis Siefker, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir's food with gifts or candy. This practice, she claims, survived in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianisation. Today, stores carry a large variety of styles and sizes of Christmas stockings, and Christmas stockings are also a popular homemade craft. This claim is disputed though as there is no records of stocking filling practices related to Odin until there is a merging of St. Nicholas with Odin. St. Nicholas had an earlier merging with the Grandmother cult in Bari, Italy where the grandmother would put gifts in stockings. This merged St. Nicholas would later travel north and merge with the Odin cults.
Many families create their own Christmas stockings with each family member's name applied to the stocking so that Santa will know which stocking belongs to which family member.
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Re: Christmas Bingo - Twelfth numbers are up

by Linda Rose » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:43 pm

Once again very interesting! I am at 7 of 10.
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