Time to announce the lucky winners of my Regency Christmas Quiz! The quiz – posted HERE on December 1 – had 15 questions worth a total of 39 points. Twenty brave souls took a chance, and over all everyone did very well! Two ladies tied for first place, with 37 points each, and it was up to random.org to choose which was the Grand Prize winner and who placed second. At 36 points, the third place winner was decided. AND since two other ladies answered correctly for 35 points, I must them in the prizing too!
Grand Prize: PAM HUNTER
Second Place: JUDE KNIGHT
Third Place: TAMI STOEKER
Fourth & Fifth Place: MARY PRESTON & LISA WAGNER
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS!
I will be contacting via email for mailing addresses. Here is a reminder of the prizes being given (from my awesome Zazzle Store) as well as a few surprises.
These are the answers to the Regency Christmas Quiz–
1. Wassail is an alcoholic beverage made from apples and spices. It dates back to the Old Norse, and was served warm with pieces of soaked toasted bread floating on top in a large bowl that was passed around communally. While drinking, shouts of “Was Hál!” rang out, which meant “be in good health”. Wassailing Through History gives an in depth history, including the carols sung. There are about a hundred recipes for “traditional” wassail, so just plug it into Google if you want to brew your own! The floating toasted bread was eaten, by the way, and gave rise to the term “toasting” for lifting one’s glass and wishing good health before drinking and eating the nice alcohol soaked bread!
2. A decorated tree was absolutely unheard of in England prior to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. FALSE. While the prince, who was German, and the queen popularized the tradition by erecting the first public tree at Windsor Castle in 1841, the concept of decorating a tree dates back to the 1600s and Martin Luther. With lit candles, no less! For centuries prior to that, decorating greenery, including whole boughs or tops of trees, was a common practice in England.
3. The Boar’s Head Feast festival originated in Queen’s College at Oxford University. Legend has it that a scholar was studying a book of Aristotle while walking through the forest on his way to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in 1340. Suddenly, he was confronted by an angry wild boar. Having no other weapon, the resourceful Oxonian rammed his metal-bound philosophy book down the throat of the charging animal, whereupon the brute choked to death. That night the boar’s head, finely dressed and garnished, was borne in procession to the dining room, accompanied by singing carolers. The tradition remains the same to this day. (The feast and caroling part – not a student killing a wild boar with a book!)
4. Candy Canes were originally created and designed to represent the J in Jesus, and were striped red to represent His blood shed on Calvary. FALSE. The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent candy sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services to keep them quiet! It is unknown precisely when the red stripe was added, or by who or why, but no image or reference exists prior to 1900. This is also about when the peppermint flavor was added.
5. Which country is best known throughout history (and still today) for its stunning open-air Christmas markets and for creating elaborate ornaments of glass and tin, tinsel of real silver, nutcrackers, and music boxes? Germany. The markets – called “Christkindlsmarkts” – began in 1310 in Munich. More info here: Christkindl Markt History
6. What was poured onto a Yule Log before it was set on fire? Wine, after the log was blessed. How long must a Yule Log continue to burn to avoid bad luck falling upon the household? The entire 12 days of Christmas. What must be done to the remains? They must be saved to kindle the next year’s Yule Log.
7. The English Father Christmas dates to the Celts and Saxons, was typically depicted as an elderly man, and strongly associated with drinking spirits and lively merrymaking. So much so that he was banned in 1644 by the Puritans. TRUE. There was some overlap between Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and the Dutch Sinterklaas, but they did not fully merge into the same person until the early 20th century. Detailed info here: http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/xmas/ The banning by the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell was for Christmas celebrating… ALL of it that was non-religious in nature! Father Christmas was included in the ban.
8. Traditionally the Twelve Days of Christmas begins on: Christmas Day. They extend into January of the next year, ending on: January 5. That last day is known as: Twelfth Day. Additionally, “Twelfth Night” while generally celebrated on the night of January 5 as the final party before the solemn Day of Epiphany (January 6), has varied over the centuries to be sometimes celebrated on the evening before Twelfth Day. Epiphany Day was established by the early Christian’s to commemorate the arrival of the Magi from the East, the first non-Jews to acknowledge the infant Jesus’ divinity and purpose upon the earth. “Epiphany” means to appear, manifest, or arrive, with the Greek root connoting a deity.
9. The monotonous song The Twelve Days of Christmas was originally a poem written as a “memories and forfeits” game to play as part of Twelfth Night celebrations. TRUE. A “memories and forfeits” game involved players reciting verse after verse, precisely, with more rhyming verses added on, until one of the players made a mistake, The player who erred had to pay a penalty, such as a offering up a kiss or a sweet. This is how The Twelve Days of Christmas was presented in its earliest known printed version, the 1780 children’s book Mirth Without Mischief.
10. The ruler of a Twelfth Night festival was: The Lord of Misrule.
11. Mince Pies, originally, were made primarily with pieces of meat flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, (spices from the Holy Land brought back from the Crusades, and representative of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh gifted by the Magi) and then stirred clockwise for good luck. They were small and shaped oblong to represent Christ’s cradle. One great website for pictures and history: Historic Food. Not until the Victorian Era were the pies shaped round as a standard, and with a star commonly cut into the top crust. By the early 1900s meat as an ingredient had disappeared.
12. The Nativity Creche, with live people performing, was created by which saint as a means of teaching the story of Jesus’ birth to those who could not read the Bible or understand Latin: Saint Francis of Assisi. In 1223 while visiting the village of Greccio, Italy over Christmas, Saint Francis (founder of the Franciscan Order) held the Midnight Mass at a rocky cleft outside due to the chapel being too small for the congregation gathered. He obtained permission from the Pope for his living representation of the Nativity. Part of the ceremony was the singing of “canticles” that told the story, written in the common language of the people so they could sing along. This was the birth of “Christmas carols.” Read more here: Saint Francis of Assisi and at the Catholic Sun
13. The Christmas Pudding, also called “plum pudding” (whether plums are used or not) evolved from a rich, spiced fruity porridge called: Frumenty. Recipes galore can be found by a Google search.
14. Holly, ivy, rosemary, mistletoe, laurel, yew, and fir are all evergreen plants commonly used to decorate for Christmas. Which ONE of those listed has the longest history of special, mystical powers for healing, fertility, bringing good luck and love, and warding off evil spirits: Mistletoe. The ancient Scandinavians and Greeks (among others) revered mistletoe, but it was the Celtic Druids in Britain who considered mistletoe sacred and possessing divine qualities. No other natural item is tied as closely to magic, physical health, pagan ritual, etc. in the roots of British history as is mistletoe, primarily due to the Druids.
15. Boxing Day has been celebrated in England on December 26 since the Middle Ages. There are various theories to the origins. Which of the 3 listed below is NOT an accepted origin. Number 3
- It was the day the church alms boxes were opened, the donations from the parishioners then distributed to the poor of the community. This is directly tied to the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and apostle of the early church, who was renowned for giving gifts to the poor, and the carol “Good King Wenceslas” about Saint Wenceslaus of Bohemia who gave alms to the poor “on the Feast of Saint Stephen.” YES
- Since servants were required to work on Christmas, they were given the following day off instead. The remains from the household feasts were “boxed” for them to take home to share with their families. YES
- In the aftermath of fine food and spirits, wealthy Brits spent the day laying about the house, or “boxed inside” the warm walls while doing very little – especially with most of the servants away. NO! Quite the opposite, in fact. The day after Christmas in Britain has long been associated with fox hunts, horse races, and other sporting events (and, no, not necessarily pugilism!).