DailyDirt: Fact-Checking Some Christmas Traditions
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
We’ve noticed some Christmas dinner traditions that might sound a little strange. But there are some traditions around this time of year that are curious enough to warrant some quick fact-checking. Whatever the case may be, enjoy whatever traditions you follow!
- Is Chinese food really the most popular restaurant choice for Christmas? A quick look at some Google search trends shows that searches for Chinese food spike around the Christmas season. And apparently, a growing number of kosher Chinese restaurants serve ‘Jewish Christmas’ meals without pork or shellfish. [url]
- The origin of candy canes isn’t clear, but they might date back to the 17th century. Candy canes may have started out as straight sticks, and there’s little evidence that they’re in a J-shape for Jesus. There is a patented candy cane machine that improved the process for making the J-bend without breaking the candy, filed back in 1957. So the “modern” candy cane can be traced back to a Catholic inventor — Father Gregory Keller. [url]
- During Justice Elena Kagan’s 2010 confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, Kagan testified that she was probably at a Chinese restaurant for Christmas. While other kinds of restaurants (besides Chinese) are actually open on Christmas, it seems that Chinese food has evolved to cater to American tastes. [url]
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Filed Under: candy cane, christmas, dinner, elena kagan, food, gregory keller, keller machine, kosher, traditions
Comments on “DailyDirt: Fact-Checking Some Christmas Traditions”
I always heard that the hooked shape was supposed to represent a shepherd’s crook, not the letter J.
I thought it was just so it can be easier to hang on a string or branch of a Christmas tree?
Re: Re: Re:
Yeah, the most likely story (according to the link) was that the German immigrant who also brought the xmas tree to American made the hook since he like to use them to decorate his trees.
I’ve also heard that candy canes are shaped liked shepherd’s crooks. But I don’t know why shepherd’s crooks are shaped like shepherd’s crooks. Do they have to break up sheep-fights from a safe distance or something? Pull sheep down from trees? Express bewilderment by visual cue?
Re: Re: But I don't know why shepherd's crooks are shaped like shepherd's crooks.
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2. “By hook or by crook” refers to the law that the fruit on the tree belonged to the landowner, but the fruit on the ground (windfall) was free for the taking — and sometimes the wind needed a little help from the not-entirely-honest. And come to think of it, that might actually answer my question.
Re: Re: Re:2 causality
“The innovation of a hook facilitates the recovery of fallen animals by ensnaring them by neck or leg.”
Normally, my entire town shuts down on Christmas Day, other than the Chinese restaurant and the Thai restaurant. If you don’t feel like cooking at home on a holiday, those are your choices.
If other areas are similar, the claim of the spike in sales is not surprising.
Lunch at the Greyhound Bus Station.
Here’s a different kind of tradition, back from the early 1970’s. On Christmas, in Cincinnati, a group of men and teenage boys would all get together for lunch at the Greyhound bus station. The women of our families were all busy cooking Christmas dinner, and they didn’t want us underfoot, going in the kitchen in search of snacks and getting in their way. The airport restaurant must have been open as well, but that was miles out of town, and airports still had upper-middle-class associations. The Greyhound bus station, apart from being open on Christmas, was earthy and working class, a place to tell moderately ribald jokes, of the sort which get imported from the military, the kind of jokes one would not tell in the presence of a lady. Someone would ritually recite Kurt Vonnegut’s aphorism that “the Indianapolis bus station is the navel of the universe.” Vonnegut’s novel, _Breakfast of Champions_, is the purest distillation of the mentality that I know of.
We managed to avoid all the commercial bullshit and all the Christian bullshit… yah for us. We went bush walking,or hiking if you prefer.