For Christmas, here's what Dickens...
The Victorian England Christmas feast featured roast goose and plum pudding. Every member of the household had to share in the food preparation process. A common tradition involved stirring the pudding mix clockwise to ensure good luck in the coming year. Aside from pudding, mince pies were eaten on each of the 12 days of Christmas so the family received 12 months of luck.
Originally sung throughout the year, Christmas carols started as secular songs meant to accompany a dance. Carols dated back to the 13th century when they were sung by entire communities in celebration of harvest and the coming of spring. The modern version of caroling originates from wassailing, a medieval tradition where peasants traded songs of blessing with lords for food and drink.
When Dickens used “humbug” while writing A Christmas Carol, the saying was common and witty. It was used to signify disbelief in what one believed to be a hoax, trick, or deception. At the time, Scrooge was considered fashionable for his use of “Bah! Humbug!” to spit on Christmas and Marley’s ghost.
Dickens’ use of the phrase “A Merry Christmas, uncle!” was the very first introduction to the world of this standard holiday greeting. Dickens’ granddaughter Monica astutely pointed out: “When you say, ‘Merry Christmas,’ you are quoting Charles Dickens.”
Backgrounds by T. Charles Erickson, Mike McCormick and Jann Whaley.