Nativity

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Christmas Trees – American holidays

By |2017-08-14T14:26:19+00:00August 14th, 2017|North America, Northern Europe, Religion|

Christmas Tree in Germany (late 1700s, by Joseph Keller) Because Christmas is related to old celebrations of the winter solstice, evergreen trees have always been popular decorations in northern countries at Christmastime. They're green when everything else is dead and white. In the time of the Roman Empire, people sometimes hung small bits of metal from trees at this [...]

Christmas – American holiday

By |2018-04-24T11:05:18+00:00August 14th, 2017|History|

Big Horn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming (1300 AD) Even before 1500 AD, people in North America celebrated a winter religious festival when the days stopped getting shorter and began to get longer again. Many people built stone structures to make it easier to know when the solstice had arrived. When European settlers arrived, they brought with them some new ideas [...]

Francis of Assisi – Medieval Europe

By |2018-10-02T06:59:07+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Francis of Assisi gives his father back his clothes (Giotto, in Assisi) Who was Francis of Assisi? By 1200 AD, the Catholic Church was very powerful. Bishops and popes were often rich men. They cared more about getting rich collecting tithes than they did about praying or helping poor people. What is a bishop? What is the pope? History of [...]

Christmas in medieval Europe

By |2018-04-10T22:50:25+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Nativity mosaic (St. Maria in Trastevere, Rome ca. 1300 AD) Beginning about 300 AD, people began to think that December 25th was the day when Jesus was born. So they celebrated that day as Christmas. Probably this was mainly because there was already an important Roman holiday at this time - Saturnalia. Christian bishops were eager to replace [...]