S is for Santa – the history interpreter’s historical advent calendar and just too many things beginning with P

Have spent the last few days on matters relating to our newly opened community shop. At one point I ended up in the empty shop with no key with which to relock it. Hmm what to do? I had a phone, great – unfortunately I couldn’t remember the phone number of the key holders. I searched in vain for a list of numbers. We are so new that we don’t yet have a telephone directory. Fine I’ll ring Chris and see if he has a telephone directory near to hand. Me: ‘Where are you?’ Chris: ‘Out to sea off Clovelly’ – that would be a no then. Fortunately I then realised that I was staring at the list of phone numbers I needed.

Carol singing round the village last night. As I may have said before, I am strong on enthusiam but less good on tune. Rewarded by a delicious cider punch at my neighbours afterwards – resembled the traditional Lamb’s wool (see my ‘L’ entries). Probably best not consumed if one wishes to be compos mentis the next day though!

Here I am on the said next day, struggling through the last of the ‘P’ entries for my re-edit of Family Historians’ Enquire Within. Who would have thought that so many things could begin with P – my lengthiest letter so far:- from pinfolds and postcards to prisoners of war!

Cakes are now iced, Christmas cards delivered and things are gradually winding down. Tonight, my last talk of the year.

St Nicholas (Santa Claus)

Nicholas was the 4th century Bishop of Myra in modern day Turkey. His feast day is 6th December and he was patron saint of small boys, dockers, boatmen, travellers, pilgrims and those who had unjustly lost law suits. The 6th December remains a gift giving day in parts of Europe but much of the world has moved the tradition of St. Nicholas to 25th December. The modern Santa Claus or Father Christmas combines elements of the gift giving Saint Nicholas and the Viking Old Man Winter.

Saturnalia

This was the feast of the Roman god Saturn that took place from 17th to 23rd December. Many of its traditions were adapted or incorporated by the early Christian church.

Shepherds

The association of shepherds with Christmas is biblical in origin.

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