Friday, December 5, 2008

The Christmas Pickle and other fine holiday traditions...

There are some crazy holiday traditions out there...not just those your own family made up...but those that have been passed down from a culture for generations.  Two of the odder ones I know of are the Christmas pickle, and the Christmas spider.  Mostly odd just because they are words you'd never think would be linked to each other...what would a spider or a pickle have to do with Christmas?

You may have seen a pickle ornament in a Christmas store and wondered what lunatic came up with that?  Actually, it's a German tradition...where you hang the Christmas pickle on the tree and the first kid to find it in the morning gets a special gift.  I thought it was strange, but stranger still when I told my parents about it (thinking it was a modern gimmick)only to find out that they knew about it and it really was a Christmas tradition, but they knew better than to incite a jealousy frenzy on Christmas morning so they never did it.

One of my beading magazines featured a beaded Christmas spider...which reminded me of the traditional German Christmas story of the little widow woman who was very, very poor and worked so hard to clean her home and decorate her tree for the Christ-child's visit that night.  But after she went to sleep, a spider came down and spun her web all over the woman's Christmas tree.  When the Christ-child came, He saw what the spider had done and knew the woman's heart would be crushed, so He touched the web and turned it into silver and gold (hence, from that day forward we put tinsel on the tree to remember the miracle).  

I'm curious about what other Christmas traditions may be out there...and if they involve equally unlikely pairings.

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