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How A Christmas Carol Re-Shaped the Way We Celeberate Christmas
|The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and mean spirited man with no Christmas spirit has become a fixture of popular culture.Reading the story or watching movie adapataions of the Christmas Carol, it is easy to assume that the world that Dickens described was a true representation of Victorian England and Christmas customs, such as eating a big turkey, getting together with family, wishing each other "Merry Christmas", After all this is basically how people in the United States, Canada, England and celebrate the holiday.|
But this assumption is incorrect. In fact, much of how we celebrate Christmas, and many of its more secular traditions are an invention of Victorian England and are no more ancient than about a 150 years. In fact, Dickens and his short masterpiece, "A Christmas Carol" are largely responsible for most of our Christmas traditions. Some might say that in fact he is to blame for those traditions, which have grown into today's grotesque excesses of commercialism, with people fighting hand to hand to seize the latest toy fad.
Christmas in Victorian England
Before Dickens' Christmas Carol, Christmas was not a major holiday and it did not feature many of the customs and traditions that we take for granted today.In fact, while Christmas was acknowledged in Christian churches, which held special services, the holiday was not observed with much fanfare beyond that. As a Christian religious event, Christmas has always held less importance than Easter. As a secular, or popular holiday, Victorian Christmases were not a time for friends and family to gather and exchange warm and fuzzy feelings, and to celebrate generosity to gift giving.
If Victorians observed Christmas at all, it was generally by getting drunk and belligerent. Christmas at the time had a bad reputation as an excuse for drunken revelry.
People did not even wish each other Merry Christmas, before Dickens came along. It was Dickens who popularized this phrase.Useful Information:
Christmas Carol Illustrations
| || ||Artist.|
| ||J. Leech|
Ghosts of Departed Usurers
Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball
Scrooge Extinguishes the First
of the Three Spirits
Scrooge’s Third Visitor
Ignorance and Want
The Last of the Spirits
Scrooge and Bob Cratchit