Entries by Greg Jenner from 12/2012

A Weird History of Christmas, Part One - Christ's Birthday or Roman Carnival?

| Posted 12.16.2012 | Huffington Post

All things considered, the modern Christmas is pretty bizarre. However, this is entirely in keeping with tradition - as far as we can tell, Yuletide has always been a curious head-scratcher. For the historian like me, teasing out what Christmas used to be like, and why it even exists, is a blooming nightmare.

A Weird History of Christmas, Part Two - Who on Earth is Santa?!

| Posted 12.18.2012 | Huffington Post

St Nick was said to secretly give gifts of cash to those in need, thereby making him the Patron Saint of children, sailors and prostitutes... which is a slightly worrying combination that would no doubt have caused a lot of finger-pointing in the ancient offices of BBC Newsnight.

A Weird History of Xmas, Part III - Bizarre British Traditions!

| Posted 12.20.2012 | Huffington Post

In the 17th Century, the Christmas Mince Pies (yes, more meat...) were famous for having a little baby Jesus on the crust, which sounds rather nice, but was a horrifying act of blasphemous cannibalism in the eyes of Oliver Cromwell. It should be said, Olly was not a miserabilist most of the time, but he did feel Christmas was meant to be a period of holy reverence. Accordingly, he did away with it all, and even ordered the confiscation of Christmas dinners from people's tables. Strangely, attending church was also prohibited on Jesus' birthday, which seems a bit weird, even by his standards.