Friday, 1 December 2017

December 1st - December Days

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

The December Page from Edith Holden's' Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady

 December was the 10th month of the old Roman year. The Anglo Saxons called it Wintermonarth - winter month and throughout history the countries in the Northern Hemisphere have found ways to cheer up the darkest time of year, the shortest day, the winter solstice.
The Roman feast of Saturnalia began on the 17th December and in Northern Europe the midwinter feast of Jol or Yule was celebrated with bonfires, eating and drinking. So, to early Christians this would have been seen as the ideal time to celebrate the birth of Christ.

The tradition of bringing greenery into the home for the Christmas season also dates back to pagan times when each had a meaning. Holly was a symbol of everlasting life and fertility. Ivy was an anti-witching plant with medicanal values, Rosemary was holy and magical and Bay was once sacred to Apollo and to Aescutapious,the god of medicine. Mistletoe was also associated with fertility and used by the Druids for ceremonies.

At the bottom of Edith Holden's page is the weather saying.......

A Green Yule makes a fat Kirk-yard

 There are many variations on this, all saying much the same........ that warm weather at Christmas isn't a good thing. Although nowadays it's very unlikely we get snow over the Christmas season despite all the snowy pictures on Christmas cards.

Maybe things were the same around 100 years ago............
Jerome K Jerome - best know for 'Three Men in a boat' said - sometime around the beginning of the 20th century -
  " If December passes without snow, we indignantly demand to know what has become of our good,old fashioned winters, and talk as if we had been cheated out of something we had bought and paid for; and if it does snow, our language is a disgrace to a Christian Nation"

Then I found this in 'March Winds & April Showers' by Ralph Whitlock....................

If Christmas Day on a Monday be
A great winter that year you'll see.

Oh dear!

As usual I'll be posting everyday in December, trying to find something Christmassy or Wintery each day to write about. Also must say Hello and welcome to new followers, hope you enjoy reading

Back Tomorrow


  1. Ah I love this book for my seasonal decorations. I will put it out today as getting on very well with my decs after starting the living room and nearly finishing the kitchen yesterday. Eeeek!

  2. A lovely post to start a December off...looking forward to the next 30! x

  3. A lovely start to your December posts, Sue. I wonder why we say "White Rabbit" on the first of the month? My mother always used to say "White Rabbit" and I know people say it three times, for luck. But I wonder when this started ... perhaps I ought to Google it!
    That will be a lot for you to do on top of everything else, to post every day. I try and post regularly on my blog but every day isn't always possible. It's lovely to read your posts, but don't tire yourself out.
    It's cold here in South Devon, 15C in our hall when we woke up before the heating came on, and it's our little grandson's school fayre (their spelling) today, so we're now on a roll to Christmas. May you have a good weekend.
    Margaret P

    1. Writing blog posts is easy and as I'm home alone all month there will be plenty of time!
      Sleet, sunshine, rain and freezing cold winds here in Suffolk

  4. We have a beautiful blue-skied start to December here, but blardy cold first thing. I still love (and always have) the words and illustrations in the Country Diary book. It is very comforting.

    I always thought that the timing of celebrating Christmas had much to do with overturning the Midwinter celebrations of the shortest day, along with other "marriages of convenience" in the Christian calendar.

    Keep warm.

    1. I splurged 1p on the Country Diary Christmas book - EH's drawings but lots of all sorts of other winter writings by many other folk. It will feature sometime this month I think.

  5. My daughter and her family, who lives in sunny, warm California, come east to Pennsylvania for the holidays and the hope for some snow. Except for one year, it has been dry and warm. The snow often comes a day or two after they leave. I can do without it entirely.

    1. Nowadays we are more likely to get snow in February. I don't want snow in December if I'm going back and forward to hospital!

  6. It's certainly cold down the eastern side of the country at the moment isn't it?

  7. Lovely post Sue, the 1st Dec. a real turn of the wheel, first day of winter, Advent and the solstice to look forward to. Bright, sunny and cold in Dorset.

  8. Hello to you, Sue! I'm very new here, and so happy I found your blog. I love, love, love all information, about "The Old Ways."

    "So, to early Christians this would have been seen as the ideal time to celebrate the birth of Christ."

    I think the early church men, were quite "up" on psychology. With Christmas, and with so many Holy Days. They knew they had a "hard sell," separating Pagans from their Old Ways. So they simply 'plopped' Christian things, right on top of old Pagan things. Even places. Look at all the Holy Wells, which got a cathedral 'plopped' on top of them!

    Sneaky old guys, they were! >,-)

    I used the same delightful old quote, today, as well!

    Thank you so much, for this post, and in advance, for all the following ones to come.

    Gentle hugs and blessings,
    Luna Crone

    1. Hello and welcome to reading, hope you enjoy.
      The two lines at the beginning are from the Sara Coleridge poem, Months - written for children I think.
      Mid-winter celebrations have been around for a long while I think

  9. It's freezing here and every night me and Mark have the same conversation. I say "it's cold enough to snow tonight" he says "it's too cold to snow". I shall have to research if that can actually be the case! Hope you and Col are both well. xx

  10. We also say too cold for snow but then think Arctic? Antarctic? - plenty of cold and snow there!

  11. Hiya, new to your blog. Love the content and the pictures. Especially love your reading list. I get ideas on what to read next since I love mysteries and historical novels (World Wars especially).

    1. This is very exciting - new readers every day! Hello and welcome.
      I love to share ideas for books and get lots of ideas from other bloggers too.

  12. Always enjoy a bit of folklore and if it's festive all the better!