Howdy y’all!! An old Christmas tradition is to gather around the fire with loved ones and tell scary stories. I wondered where this tradition came from and found it’s origins very interesting.
It’s a throw back to ancient times and pagan origins. Pagans would celebrated the Winter Solstice as a holiday, which was about death, rebirth and bringing in change and the rebirth of the sun. It’s the darkest time of the year with the longest nights in the Northern Hemisphere, therefore pagans saw it as the “death of the light” because the nights got longer and the days shorter. Christmas Eve is longest night and after that the nights get shorter allowing for more sunlight which is like the rebirth.
The ancient Pagans, such as the Vikings believed that on this long, dark night, the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest. Odin would fly across the sky, visiting both realms and those who witnesses the Wild Hunt risked being dragged into the Fairy Realm!! It was tradition on long cold nights for families to gather around a warm fire, socialise and entertain each other with stories. As we can appreciate, the best stories are the scary ones.
This was carried on until the mid-17th century, when Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell tried to abolish the celebration of Christmas. He argued that nowhere in the Bible does it tell Christians to celebrate Christ’s birth on the 25th of December and it doesn’t mention any other “holy day” than the Lord’s Sabbath. He did not approve of the pagan ties to the holiday, the merry making, drinking and singing either. Therefore all traditions around Christmas was abolished.
This carried and Christmas was not celebrated until around the start of the industrial revolution. People didn’t even take holidays during that time of the year but Charles Dicken’s novel A Christmas Carol, caused the tradition of telling stories on Christmas eve to come back as well as the raise of other Christmas traditions. The Victorian Era bought in the old traditions of Christmas like Yule log, Christmas tree, Santa etc. Commercialism such as factory made Christmas cards, made the traditions spread.
So that’s a brief history behind why we gather around and tell scary stories on Christmas Eve. I am really looking forward to relaxing with some Eggnog and watching a scary movie while I wait for Santa to deliver my presents.