¨ Memory is the basis of the individual personality, just as tradition is the basis of the collective personality.¨ – Miguel de Unamuno
When the holiday season takes hold in our homes, in our businesses, in the heart of our municipalities, we see the appearance of various rituals that Quebecers repeat year after year and which are part of our traditions.
Whether we think of the Christmas tree, the Advent calendar, the lights and decorations that adorn our homes, the stockings hanging on the fireplace, Christmas Eve, the turkey, the meat pies and the Christmas log that we will enjoy, the well wrapped gifts, the naughty elves, the good Santa Claus and his reindeers, the midnight mass and the food drive, all these things which are specific to each family and which allow us to reconnect with happiness, sometimes with nostalgia to these Christmas traditions.
But what do we know about the origin of these traditions?
The must-have Christmas tree is definitely a classic. It is also one of the oldest traditions, since it was between 2000 and 1200 BC that a tree was raised on December 24th. It signified the rebirth of the sun. However, it was not until 1521, in Alsace, that the Christmas tree was adorned with decorations. (Noël Vert-Histoire du sapin)
The Yule log, this delicious cake that ends our meals, is a ritual linked to the celebration of the winter solstice. This custom has been documented since the Middle Ages and comes from various pagan rituals. (Wikipedia) This culinary tradition reminds me of that moment when my family, to play a trick on me, decorated a wooden log with delicious icing and decorative objects. Needless to say, it was pretty funny the moment I tried to cut the first piece!
Christmas is also the memories of family, solidarity, forgiveness that sometimes comes more easily with wine, of brothers and cousins who suddenly turn out to be singers in the wee hours of the morning!
Without forgetting the Christmas elves, this new «tradition» which has recently taken hold in homes. This would have originated in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. It was the idea of a grandfather who set out to invent traps to capture these mischievous little creatures. What a good idea! (Canal Vie)
This year, let us hope that Santa Claus and the elves unite to offer us patience, health, moments of joy, a permanent solution to the exceptional and global situation we are experiencing.
May the brightness and height of the New Year’s fireworks reflect our hope for better days!
Rest well and we look forward to seeing you again in 2021.
Claire IsaBelle and my team!