Monthly Archives: December 2012

คลื่นยักษ์ถล่มหัวหินส่งท้ายปี นักท่องเที่ยวแตกตื่นโยงวันสิ้นโลก

 

คลื่นยักษ์ถล่มหัวหินส่งท้ายปี นักท่องเที่ยวแตกตื่นโยงวันสิ้นโลก

ผู้สื่อข่าว ข่าวสด รายงานว่า ตั้งแต่เวลา 03.00 น. วันที่ 31 ธ.ค. ได้เกิดคลื่นขนาดยักษ์สูงกว่า 3 เมตร พัดถาโถมเข้าถล่มชายหาดหัวหินอย่างบ้าคลั่ง ตลอดแนวชายหาดเนื่องจากในทะเลมีกระแสลมพัดรุนแรง ซึ่งเป็นสัญลักษณ์ แห่งการเปลี่ยนถ่ายฤดูจากฝนเข้าสู่หนาว สร้างความแตกตื่นแก่นักท่องเที่ยวทั้งชาวไทยและต่างประเทศ

โดยเฉพาะนักท่องเที่ยวชาวไทยที่มีจำนวนมาก เนื่องจากเป็นวันอยู่ต่อเนื่องยาวในช่วยเทศกาลส่งท้ายปีเก่าต้อนรับปีใหม่ และที่สำคัญคลื่นยักษ์ดังกล่าวในปีนี้พัดถล่มชายหาดในช่วงวันส่งท้ายปีเก่า ต้อนรับปีใหม่ ทำให้นักท่องเที่ยวต่างๆ พากันแตกตื่นทยอยกันไปดูและถ่ายภาพกันเป็นจำนวนมาก และวิพากษ์วิจารณ์กันไปต่างๆนาๆ

ขณะที่ชาวเรือประมงที่ออกมายืนดูสถานการณ์ได้พยายามบอกกับนักท่องเที่ยว ต่างๆ ว่าไม่ได้มีอะไรผิดปกติเกี่ยวกับวันสิ้นโลก แต่เป็นแค่ปรากฏการณ์ทางธรรมชาติที่มีขึ้นทุกปี เพียงแต่ปีนี้มาล่าช้ากว่าทุกปีที่ผ่านมาเท่านั้น

นายนพพร วุฒิกุล นายกเทศมนตรีเทศบาลเมืองหัวหิน ได้สั่งการให้เจ้าหน้าที่ออกประกาศเตือนห้ามนักท่องเที่ยวลงเล่นน้ำในระยะ 3-4 วันนี้ เนื่องจากอาจจะก่อให้เกิดอันตรายถึงแก่ชีวิตได้

ขอบคุณข่าวจาก ข่าวสด

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วันสิ้นปี ชมภาพการเฉลิมฉลองวันสิ้นปี2012 และการต้อนรับปีใหม่ 2013

วันสิ้นปี คือ วันสุดท้ายของปีซึ่งตรงกับวันที่ 31 ธันวาคม ตามปฏิทินเกรกอเรียน ทางการกำหนดให้เป็นวันหยุดราชการ คืนวันนี้จะมีการจัดงานนับถอยหลังเพื่อเข้าสู่วันปีใหม่ในเวลาเที่ยงคืนตามเมืองใหญ่ทั่วโลกซึ่งเกิดขึ้นไม่พร้อมกัน โดยมักมีการจุดพลุเฉลิมฉลอง

เมืองที่เข้าสู่ปีใหม่เรียงตามลำดับเวลา

(ข้อมูลแปลงจากเขตเวลา) ในวงเล็บเป็นเวลาประเทศไทยซึ่งตรงกับเวลาเที่ยงคืนของแต่ละเมือง

  • ซิดนีย์ ประเทศออสเตรเลีย (วันที่ 31 ธันวาคม เวลา 20.00 น.)
  • โตเกียว ประเทศญี่ปุ่น (วันที่ 31 ธันวาคม เวลา 22.00 น.)
  • ฮ่องกง (วันที่ 31 ธันวาคม เวลา 23.00 น.)
  • พัทยา ประเทศไทย (วันที่ 1 มกราคม เวลา 00.00 น.)
  • ปารีส ประเทศฝรั่งเศส / เบอร์ลิน ประเทศเยอรมนี (วันที่ 1 มกราคม เวลา 06.00 น.)
  • ลอนดอน สหราชอาณาจักร (วันที่ 1 มกราคม เวลา 07.00 น.)
  • รีโอเดจาเนโร ประเทศบราซิล (วันที่ 1 มกราคม เวลา 09.00 น.)
  • นครนิวยอร์ก สหรัฐอเมริกา / โทรอนโต ประเทศแคนาดา (วันที่ 1 มกราคม เวลา 12.00 น.)

ซิดนีย์เป็นเมืองใหญ่เมืองแรกที่ฉลองการเข้าสู่วันขึ้นปีใหม่อย่างยิ่งใหญ่

Images: Celebrating 2013 Around the World

   

Gallery Image

Benjamin Nadorf, 4, fools around with his new glasses while waiting for the New Year in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. One million people are expected to cram into the area for the countdown.

   

Fireworks light the sky at the Quezon Memorial Circle in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013.

Fireworks light the sky at the Quezon Memorial Circle in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013.

Pope Benedict XVI holds the ostensory as he presides a New Year’s Eve vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI has marked the end of a difficult year by saying that despite all the death and injustice in the world, goodness prevails.

Pope Benedict XVI holds the ostensory as he presides a New Year’s Eve vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI has marked the end of a difficult year by saying that despite all the death and injustice in the world, goodness prevails.

People are silhouetted as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

People are silhouetted as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

Katy Saunders, left, Alex Mueller, center left, Rebekka Frank and Arina Motamedi, right, play with sparklers ahead of welcoming in the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations, Scotland, Monday December 31, 2012.

Katy Saunders, left, Alex Mueller, center left, Rebekka Frank and Arina Motamedi, right, play with sparklers ahead of welcoming in the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations, Scotland, Monday December 31, 2012.

A firework display explodes off Taiwan’s tallest skyscraper Taipei101 to usher in the New Year, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan.

A firework display explodes off Taiwan’s tallest skyscraper Taipei101 to usher in the New Year, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan.

Fireworks explode in the sky over St. Basil Cathedral as Russians celebrate New Year on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Fireworks explode in the sky over St. Basil Cathedral as Russians celebrate New Year on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Celebrations get under way as the Spark drumming band pass through Newcastle city centre, England, Monday December 31, 2012.

Celebrations get under way as the Spark drumming band pass through Newcastle city centre, England, Monday December 31, 2012.

Pranav Patel of Toronto, is bundled up as he waits Monday morning, Dec. 31, 2012 for midnight in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. An estimated 1 million people were expected to cram into district to see the crystal ball drop and countdown to 2013, organizers said.

Pranav Patel of Toronto, is bundled up as he waits Monday morning, Dec. 31, 2012 for midnight in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. An estimated 1 million people were expected to cram into district to see the crystal ball drop and countdown to 2013, organizers said.

People are silhouetted as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

People are silhouetted as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

 

Katy Saunders, left, Alex Mueller, center left, Rebekka Frank and Arina Motamedi, right, play with sparklers ahead of welcoming in the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations, Scotland, Monday December 31, 2012.

Katy Saunders, left, Alex Mueller, center left, Rebekka Frank and Arina Motamedi, right, play with sparklers ahead of welcoming in the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations, Scotland, Monday December 31, 2012.

Sri Lankan inmates of the Welikada prison pray during a religious ceremony on the eve of the new year on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Inmates of the Welikada prison one of the largest prisons in Sri Lanka, housing over four thousand prisoners, invoked blessings and ushered in the new year by engaging in Buddhist rituals.

Sri Lankan inmates of the Welikada prison pray during a religious ceremony on the eve of the new year on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Inmates of the Welikada prison one of the largest prisons in Sri Lanka, housing over four thousand prisoners, invoked blessings and ushered in the new year by engaging in Buddhist rituals.

A boy prays around a fire believed to invoke divine help during their first visit of the year to the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

A boy prays around a fire believed to invoke divine help during their first visit of the year to the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

A man lights an Old Man effigy which symbolizes burning the past and getting ready to start a happy New Year without bad memories of the past in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A man lights an Old Man effigy which symbolizes burning the past and getting ready to start a happy New Year without bad memories of the past in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A man poses for a photo behind a giant 2013 in 3D shape during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A man poses for a photo behind a giant 2013 in 3D shape during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Thousands of people flock to the main business district on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Thousands of people flock to the main business district on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor to celebrate the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor to celebrate the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Indonesians watch firework explode on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

Indonesians watch firework explode on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday Dec. 31, 2012.

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday Dec. 31, 2012.

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A Chinese couple kiss each other as they celebrate the new year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A Chinese couple kiss each other as they celebrate the new year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Soldiers with the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) attend at a New Year eve celebration at the NATO’s headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

Soldiers with the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) attend at a New Year eve celebration at the NATO’s headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

Jackielyn Junio, center, from Silver Springs, Md., waits to be searched and claim a spot in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. One million people are expected to cram into the area for the countdown.

Jackielyn Junio, center, from Silver Springs, Md., waits to be searched and claim a spot in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. One million people are expected to cram into the area for the countdown.

Greek presidential guards seen during the changing of the guards ceremony outside the Greek parliament at the tomb of the unknown soldier in New Year’s Eve in central Athens, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. In austerity-weary Greece,Festivities will be restrained, with Athens municipal officials saying their budget for this year has been contained to about a tenth of pre-crisis spending.

Greek presidential guards seen during the changing of the guards ceremony outside the Greek parliament at the tomb of the unknown soldier in New Year’s Eve in central Athens, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. In austerity-weary Greece,Festivities will be restrained, with Athens municipal officials saying their budget for this year has been contained to about a tenth of pre-crisis spending.

Fireworks explode in front of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor as celebrating the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013

Fireworks explode in front of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor as celebrating the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013

A woman with her daughter walks in a decorated street with lights to celebrate the New Year in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A woman with her daughter walks in a decorated street with lights to celebrate the New Year in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

South Korean dancers beat drums to celebrate the New Year at Imjingak in Paju near the border village of the Panmunjom, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013. About 5,000 participantss prayed for a peaceful solution to the rising tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs and hope for an early reunification of the divided Koreas.

South Korean dancers beat drums to celebrate the New Year at Imjingak in Paju near the border village of the Panmunjom, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013. About 5,000 participantss prayed for a peaceful solution to the rising tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs and hope for an early reunification of the divided Koreas.

Pope Benedict XVI holds the ostensory as he presides a New Year’s Eve vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI has marked the end of a difficult year by saying that despite all the death and injustice in the world, goodness prevails.

 

People are silhouetted as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

People are silhouetted as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

A boy prays around a fire believed to invoke divine help during their first visit of the year to the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

A boy prays around a fire believed to invoke divine help during their first visit of the year to the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

 

A man lights an Old Man effigy which symbolizes burning the past and getting ready to start a happy New Year without bad memories of the past in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A man lights an Old Man effigy which symbolizes burning the past and getting ready to start a happy New Year without bad memories of the past in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A man poses for a photo behind a giant 2013 in 3D shape during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A man poses for a photo behind a giant 2013 in 3D shape during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Thousands of people flock to the main business district on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Thousands of people flock to the main business district on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor to celebrate the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor to celebrate the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Indonesians watch firework explode on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

Indonesians watch firework explode on New Year’s eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday Dec. 31, 2012.

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday Dec. 31, 2012.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Chinese couple kiss each other as they celebrate the new year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A Chinese couple kiss each other as they celebrate the new year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Chinese people wave national flags as they celebrate the New Year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Jackielyn Junio, center, from Silver Springs, Md., waits to be searched and claim a spot in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. One million people are expected to cram into the area for the countdown.

Jackielyn Junio, center, from Silver Springs, Md., waits to be searched and claim a spot in Times Square in New York, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. One million people are expected to cram into the area for the countdown.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Greek presidential guards seen during the changing of the guards ceremony outside the Greek parliament at the tomb of the unknown soldier in New Year’s Eve in central Athens, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. In austerity-weary Greece,Festivities will be restrained, with Athens municipal officials saying their budget for this year has been contained to about a tenth of pre-crisis spending.

Greek presidential guards seen during the changing of the guards ceremony outside the Greek parliament at the tomb of the unknown soldier in New Year’s Eve in central Athens, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. In austerity-weary Greece,Festivities will be restrained, with Athens municipal officials saying their budget for this year has been contained to about a tenth of pre-crisis spending.

 

Fireworks explode in front of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor as celebrating the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013

Fireworks explode in front of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor as celebrating the 2013 New Year in Hong Kong Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A woman with her daughter walks in a decorated street with lights to celebrate the New Year in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A woman with her daughter walks in a decorated street with lights to celebrate the New Year in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

 

Fireworks explode in the sky above Sydney Harbour during the New Year celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Fireworks explode in the sky above Sydney Harbour during the New Year celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A Chinese man wears 2013-style glasses and a national flag as he celebrates the new year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A Chinese man wears 2013-style glasses and a national flag as he celebrates the new year during a count-down event at the Summer Palace in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

A North Korean family has their photo taken in front of fireworks as they celebrate the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013.

A North Korean family has their photo taken in front of fireworks as they celebrate the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013.

Merry makers cheer as they welcome the 2013 New Year, at the first ever public New Year Countdown cerebration at Myoma grounds in Yangon, Mayanmar.

Merry makers cheer as they welcome the 2013 New Year, at the first ever public New Year Countdown cerebration at Myoma grounds in Yangon, Mayanmar.

Performers react as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

Performers react as fireworks explode over the Singapore financial district to mark the start of the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013 in Singapore.

Fireworks explode behind the Opera House during the New Year celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Fireworks explode behind the Opera House during the New Year celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday Dec. 31, 2012.

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, as part of the New Year Hogmanay celebrations Monday Dec. 31, 2012.

Soldiers and service members with the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) dance as they celebrate the New Year eve at the NATO’s headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.

Soldiers and service members with the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) dance as they celebrate the New Year eve at the NATO’s headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012

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Boxing Day – the Day after Christmas!

Boxing Day takes place on December 26th and is only celebrated in a few countries. It was started in the UK about 800 years ago, during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day.

It might have been the Romans that first brought this type of collecting box to the UK, but they used them to collect money for the betting games which they played during their winter celebrations!

In Holland, some collection boxes were made out of a rough pottery called ‘earthenware’ and were shaped like pigs. Perhaps this is where we get the term ‘Piggy Bank’!

The Christmas Carol, Good King Wenceslas, is set on Boxing Day and is about a King in the Middle Ages who brings food to a poor family.

It was also traditional that servants got the day off to celebrate Christmas with their families on Boxing Day. Before World War II, it was common for working people (such as milkmen and butchers) to travel round their delivery places and collect their Christmas box or tip. This tradition has now mostly stopped and any Christmas tips, given to people such as postal workers and newspaper delivery children, are not normally given or collected on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day has now become another public holiday in countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is also the traditional day that Pantomimes started to play. There are also often sports played on Boxing Day in the UK, especially horse racing and football matches!

The 26th December is also St. Stephen’s Day. Just to confuse things, there are two St. Stephens in history! The first St. Stephen was a very early follower of Jesus and was the first Christian Martyr (a person who dies for their religious beliefs). He was stoned to death by Jews who didn’t believe in Jesus.

The second St. Stephen was a Missionary, in Sweden, in the 800s. He loved all animals but particularly horses (perhaps why there is traditionally horse racing on boxing day). He was also a martyr and was killed by pagans in Sweden. In Germany there was a tradition that horses would be ridden around the inside of the church during the St. Stephen’s Day service!

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พระธรรมทูตไทยในอังกฤษอุบัติเหตุมรณภาพ พร้อมกัน 3 รูป

เกิดเหตุสลดใจครั้งใหญ่อีกครั้งในวงการพระธรรมทูตสายต่างประเทศ เมื่อพระไทยในประเทศอังกฤษประสบอุบัติเหตุถึงแก่มรณภาพถึง 3 รูปด้วยกัน

จากข่าวของ BBC รายงานว่า เกิดอุบัติเหตุบนถนนสาย A68 ในประเทศอังกฤษ เมื่อเวลา 07:30 น. (เช้าตรู่) ของวันที่ 24  ธันวาคม 2555 พบผู้เสียชีวิตในรถเป็นชายจำนวน 3 คน และมีสตรีและบุรุษบาดเจ็บอีก 2 คน ซึ่งข่าวระบุเพียงสั้นๆ ว่า who were all Buddhist monks

อะลิตเติ้ลบุ๊ดด่ะ ดอทคอม ได้ต่อสายไปถามข่าวกับพระปัญญาพุทธิวิเทศ (เจ้าคุณเหลา ปญฺญาสิริ) เจ้าอาวาสวัดมหาธาตุสหราชอาณาจักร เลขาธิการองค์การพระธรรมทูตไทยในสหราชอาณาจักร ก็ได้รับคำตอบว่า ทั้งสามรูปที่มรณภาพนั้นเป็นพระไทย

โดยรูปแรกนั้นคือ พระมหาประนอม ธมฺมวิริโย นามสกุล ทองไพบูลย์ อายุ 44 ปี เจ้าอาวาสวัดไทยพุทธาราม เมืองอเบอร์ดีน สก็อตแลนด์ เดิมเป็นชาวอำเภอแปดริ้ว จังหวัดฉะเชิงเทรา อดีตเคยจำพรรษาอยู่ที่วัดมหาธาตุสหราชอาณาจักร แล้วย้ายไปดำรงตำแหน่งเจ้าอาวาสวัดไทยพุทธารามได้ไม่นาน เพิ่งเดินทางกลับมาจากเมืองไทยเมื่อวันที่ 19 ธ.ค. ที่ผ่านมา

รูปที่สองคือ พระมหาเกรียงไกร นิรุตฺติเมธี นามสกุล คำสำโรง อายุ 34 ปี พระธรรมทูตวัดพุทธปทีป กรุงลอนดอน ซึ่งเป็นพระอาคันตุกะ มีกำหนดเดินทางกลับประเทศไทยในเร็ววันนี้

ส่วนรูปที่สามคือ พระมหาชัย สุตเมธี นามสกุล บุญมา อายุ 34 ปี วัดสังฆปทีป แคว้นเวลส์

ทั้งสามรูป ได้รับนิมนต์จากญาติโยมชาวสก็อตแลนด์ เพื่อไปเจริญพระพุทธมนต์ฉันเพลในวันที่ 26 ธ.ค. นี้ และได้เดินทางออกจากวัดพุทธปทีป กรุงลอนดอน ในเวลาประมาณ 4 ทุ่ม กำหนดเดินทางให้ถึงสก็อตแลนด์ในเวลาเช้า แต่ต้องมาประสบอุบัติเหตุเสียก่อน

พระปัญญาพุทธิวิเทศ ยังอธิบายด้วยว่า คณะที่ไปมีทั้งหมด 5 ท่านด้วยกัน โดยมี คุณสังข์ทอง เพ็ญศรีใส อดีตพระธรรมทูตสังกัดวัดพุทธปทีป ซึ่งเพิ่งลาสิกขาได้ไม่นาน เดินทางไปคอยรับใช้พระธรรมทูตด้วย อีกท่านหนึ่งเป็นสุภาพสตรี และเป็นคนขับรถ โดยคุณสังข์ทองนั่งคู่กับคนขับที่ด้านหน้า ส่วนพระไทยทั้งสามรูปนั้นนั่งเบาะหลังทั้งหมด เมื่อเกิดอุบัติเหตุนั้น พบว่าพระไทยทั้งสามรูปมรณภาพในรถ ส่วนสุภาพสตรีและคุณสังข์ทองบาดเจ็บ

Three men killed in head-on crash on A68

Three men have been killed in a head-on car crash on the A68 in the east of Scotland, police have said.

The two-car incident happened about a mile-and-a-half south of Pathhead in Midlothian, just after 07:30. One of the cars, a Nissan Note, was carrying five people and ended up on its roof.

Three male backseat passengers in the car, who were all Buddhist monks, died at the scene. Its female driver managed to get herself free.

The male front seat passenger in the vehicle was cut out of the wreckage by fire crews.

The Nissan was heading north when it was involved in a crash with a Skoda Octavia being driven in the opposite direction.

The two survivors from the Nissan were taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and treated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening, Lothian and Borders Police said.

The Skoda’s male driver was also taken to hospital, but did not suffer serious injury.

The A68 was closed near the scene of the crash to allow police to carry out a crash investigation and re-opened later.

Insp Simon Bradshaw, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: “This is a tragic incident, and we are currently in the process of carrying out inquiries in order to establish the full circumstances of the collision.

“At this time, I am appealing to anyone who noticed the gold coloured Nissan Note or the silver Skoda Octavia on the A68 this morning, to get in touch.”

On Sunday, a man and a woman died in a head-on crash about 10 miles from the A68 incident.

It happened on the A697, in Carfraemill in the Scottish Borders, at about 14:55.

UK Thai Monk 01

ข่าว : BBCUK Monks

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The Tradition of the Christmas Pudding

A Christmas Pudding with burning brandy on it

Christmas (or Plum) Pudding is the traditional end to the British Christmas dinner. But what we think of as Christmas Pudding, is not what it was originally like!

Christmas pudding originated as a 14th century porridge called ‘frumenty’ that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities.

By 1595, frumenty was slowly changing into a plum pudding, having been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and given more flavour with the addition of beer and spirits. It became the customary Christmas dessert around 1650, but in 1664 the Puritans banned it as a bad custom.

In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

Over the years, many superstitions have surrounded Christmas Puddings. One superstition says that the pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the Wise Men.

The Sunday before Advent Sunday (which is also the last Sunday in the Church Year), is sometimes know as ‘Stir-up Sunday’. This is because opening words of the Collect for the day (the main prayer) in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 (used in Anglican Churches) says:

“Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Although Christmas Puddings are eaten at Christmas, some customs associated with the pudding are about Easter! The decorative sprig of holly on the top of the pudding is a reminder of Jesus’ Crown of Thorns that he wore when he was killed. Brandy or another alcoholic drink is sometimes poured over the pudding and lit at the table to make a spectacular display. This is said to represent Jesus’ love and power.

In the Middle Ages, holly was also thought to bring good luck and to have healing powers. It was often planted near houses in the belief that it protected the inhabitants.

During Victorian times, puddings in big and rich houses were often cooked in fancy moulds (like jelly ones). These were often in the shapes of towers or castles. Normal people just had puddings in the shape of balls. If the pudding was a bit heavy, they were called cannonballs!

Putting a silver coin in the pudding is another age-old custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it. In the UK the coin traditionally used was a silver ‘six pence’. The closest coin to that now is a five pence piece!

Here’s a recipe for Christmas Pudding.

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Christmas Presents

One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh.

  • Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship and, as a gift, it showed that people would worship Jesus.
  • Gold was associated with Kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings.
  • Myrrh was a perfume that was put on dead bodies to make them smell nice and, as a gift, it showed that Jesus would suffer and die.

ed Christmas Present

Christmas itself is really about a big present that God gave the world about 2000 years ago – Jesus! One of the most famous Bible verses, John 3:16, says: ‘God loved the world so much, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not be lost but have eternal life.’.

All over the world, families and friends give presents to each other. Most children around the world believe in a Christmas gift bringer. It’s often St. Nicholas, Santa Claus or Father Christmas, but in Germany they believe that it is the Christkind, in Spain they believe it is the Wise Men and in Italy they believe it is an old lady called Befana.

These presents are also left in different places! In most of Europe, the presents are left in shoes or boots put out by the children. In Italy, the UK and the USA presents are left in stockings, often left hanging by a fire place. In many countries, presents for friends and family may be left under the Christmas Tree. In the UK, they are often opened on Christmas day morning with all the family together.

A Christmas stocking

The custom of hanging stockings comes from the story of St. Nicholas.

Presents are opened on different days over the world as well. The earliest presents are opened is on St. Nicholas’ Eve on December 5th when children in Holland of ten receive their presents. On St. Nicholas’ Day (6th December) children in Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic and some other European countries open some of their presents.

Children in the UK, USA and many other countries, such as Japan, open their presents on Christmas Day, December 25th. The latest presents are opened on January 6th (a month after the earliest). This is known as Epiphany and is mainly celebrated in Catholic countries such Spain and Mexico.

One popular way of giving presents in groups such as clubs, school classes and workplaces is to have a ‘Secret Santa’. This is where you pull the name of someone else in the group out of a hat (or other container!). You then buy a present for that person. When the presents are given out (often at a Christmas party) each person is given their present but they have no idea which person in the group bought it for them!

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Christmas In Different Languages

On this page ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Christmas’ is shown in different languages from all around the world!

If you know one that isn’t listed, please Contact Us!

Some languages below use different characters and alphabets, so I have also spelt them in English as best I can!

Language: Name:
African Langauges

Swahili

Zulu

Krismasi Njema / Heri ya krismas

UKhisimusi omuhle

Albanian Gëzuar Krishtlindjen
Arabic Eid Milad Majid (عيد ميلاد مجيد)
Which means ‘Glorious Birth Feast’
Armenian Shnorhavor Amanor yev Surb Tznund (Շնորհավոր Ամանոր և Սուրբ Ծնունդ)
Which means ‘Congratulations for the Holy Birth’
Belgium – Flemish

Walloon

Vrolijk Kerstfeest

djoyeus Noyé

Bulgarian ‘vesela ‘koleda
Chinese – Mandarin

Cantonese

Sheng Dan Kuai Le (圣诞快乐)

Seng Dan Fai Lok (聖誕快樂)

Croatian
(and Bosnian)
Sretan Božić
Czech Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce
Danish Glædelig Jul
The Democratic Republic of Congo – Lingala Mbotama Malamu
Estonian Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi
Finnish Hyvää Joulua
French

Corsican

Joyeux Noël

Bon Natale

German Frohe Weihnacht
Ghana – Dagbani

Akan

Ni ti Burunya Chou

Afishapa

Greek Kala Christouyenna
or Καλά Χριστούγεννα
Greenlandic

Danish (also used in Greenland)

Juullimi Ukiortaassamilu Pilluarit

Glædelig Jul

Hawaiian Mele Kalikimaka
Holland (Dutch) Prettige Kerstfeest or Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Hungarian Kellemes karácsonyi ünnepeket
Icelandic Gleðileg jól
India – Hindi

Urdu

Sanskrit

Gujarati

Bengali

Tamil

Konkani

Mizo

Marathi

Punjabi

Bade din ki badhai ho (बड़े दिन की बषाई हो)

krismas mubarak (کرسمس)

Krismasasya shubhkaamnaa

sāl mūbārak (સાલ મુબારક)

shubho bôṛodin (শুভ বড়দিন)

Christmas matrum puthaandu vaazthukkal (கிறிஸ்துமஸ் மற்றும் இனிய புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்)

Khushal Borit Natala

Krismas Chibai

Navīn varṣacyā hārdik śubhecchā (नवीन वर्षच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा)

karisama te nawāṃ sāla khušayāṃwālā hewe (ਕਰਿਸਮ ਤੇ ਨਵਾੰ ਸਾਲ ਖੁਸ਼ਿਯਾੰਵਾਲਾ ਹੋਵੇ)

Indonesian Selamat Natal
Iran (Farsi)

Kurdish (Kumanji)

Christmas MobArak

Kirîsmes u ser sala we pîroz be

Irish – Gaelic Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Israel – Hebrew Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Italian

Sicilian

Buon Natale

Bon Natali

Japanese Meri Kurisumasu (or ‘Meri Kuri’ for short!)

Hiragana: めりーくりすます

Katakana: メリークリスマス

Korean Sung Tan Chuk Ha (메리 크리스마스 새해 복 많이 받으세요)
Latvian Priecïgus Ziemassvºtkus
Lithuanian Linksmų Kalėdų
Macedonian Streken Bozhik or
Cpeќeн Бoжик
Madagascar (Malagasy) Tratra ny Noely
Maltese Il-Milied it-Tajjeb
Malaysia – Bahasa/Malay

Malayalam

Selamat Hari Natal

Puthuvalsara Aashamsakal


Native American/
First Nation Languages

Apache (Western)

Navajo

Inuit

Yupik

Gozhqq Keshmish

Nizhonigo Keshmish

Quvianagli Anaiyyuniqpaliqsi

Alussistuakeggtaarmek

This page has a large list of Merry Christmas Native/First Nation Languages

Nepali Kreesmasko shubhkaamnaa (क्रस्मसको शुभकामना)
New Zealand (Maori) Meri Kirihimete
Nigeria – Hausa

Yoruba

Fulani

Igbo (Ibo)

Edo

barka dà Kirsìmatì

E ku odun, e ku iye’dun

Jabbama be salla Kirismati

E keresimesi Oma

Iselogbe

Norwegian God Jul or
Glædelig Jul
Philippines – Tagalog

Ilocano

Maligayang Pasko

Naragsak Nga Paskua

Polish Wesołych Świąt
Portuguese Feliz Natal or
Boas Festas
Romanian Crặciun Fericit
Russian ‘S Rozhdestvom khristovym
Rwanda (Kinyarwanda) Noheli nziza
Samoan Manuia Le Kerisimasi
Scotland – Scots

Gaelic

Blithe Yule

Nollaig Chridheil

Serbian Hristos se rodi (Христос се роди) – Christ is born
Vaistinu se rodi (Ваистину се роди) – truly born (reply)
Slovakian Vesele Vianoce
Slovene or Slovenian Vesel Božič
Somali Kirismas Wacan
South Africa (Afrikaans)

Zulu

Geseënde Kersfees

UKhisimusi omuhle

Spanish (Español)

Catalan

Galician

Basque

Feliz Navidad or Nochebuena (which means ‘Holy Night’ – Christmas Eve)

Bon Nadal

Bo Nadal

Eguberri on (which means ‘Happy New Day’)

Swedish God Jul
Switzerland Schöni Wiehnachte
Thai Suk sarn warn Christmas
Turkish Mutlu Noeller
Uganda (Lugandan) Seku Kulu
Ukranian Veseloho Vam Rizdva or Веселого Різдва
Vietnamese Chuć Mưǹg Giańg Sinh
Welsh Nadolig Llawen
Zimbabwe – Shona

Ndebele

Muve neKisimusi

Izilokotho Ezihle Zamaholdeni

Sci-fi & Fantasy Languages!

Klingon (Star Trek)

Quenya (Lord of the Rings)

Sindarin (Lord of the Rings)

toDwI’ma’ qoS yItIvqu’ (Our Savior’s birthday you-enjoy!)

Alassë a Hristomerendë (Joyous Feast of Christ)

Mereth Veren e-Doled Eruion (Joyous Feast of the Coming of the Son of God)

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The Tradition of Mistletoe at Christmas

Mistletoe

Mistletoe is a plant that grows on willow and apple trees (and in garden centres!). The tradition of hanging it in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. It is supposed to possess mystical powers which bring good luck to the household and wards off evil spirits. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse mythology and that’s where the custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from.

When the first Christians came to Western Europe, some tried to ban the use of Mistletoe as a decoration in Churches, but many still continued to use it! York Minster Church in the UK used to hold a special Mistletoe Service in the winter, where wrong doers in the city of York could come and be pardoned.

The custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from England. The original custom was that a berry was picked from the sprig of Mistletoe before the person could be kissed and when all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing!

The name mistletoe comes from two Anglo Saxon words ‘Mistel’ (which means dung) and ‘tan’ (which means) twig or stick! So you could translate Mistletoe as ‘poo on a stick’!!! Not exactly romantic is it!

Mistletoe was also hung on the old English decoration the Kissing Bough.

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The Holly, Ivy and Christmas Plants

Holly, Ivy and other greenery such as Mistletoe were originally used in pre-Christian times to help celebrate the Winter Solstice Festival and ward off evil spirits and to celebrate new growth.

When Christianity came into Western Europe, some people wanted to keep the greenery, to give it Christian meanings but also to ban the use of it to decorate homes. The UK and Germany were the main countries to keep the use of the greenery as decorations. Here are the Christian meanings:

Holly

Christmas Holly

The prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The berries are the drops of blood that were shed by Jesus because of the thorns.

In Scandinavia it is known as the Christ Thorn.

In pagan times, Holly was thought to be a male plant and Ivy a female plant. An old tradition from the Midlands of England says that whatever one was brought into the house first over winter, tells you whether the man or woman of the house would rule that year! But it was unlucky to bring either into a house before Christmas Eve.

Ivy

Christmas Ivy

Ivy has to cling to something to support itself as it grows. This reminds us that we need to cling to God for support in our lives.

In Germany, it is traditional that Ivy is only used outside and a piece tied to the outside of a Church was supposed to protect it from lightning!

Laurel

Photo of Laurel/Bay Leaves by Andrew Fogg: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndrwfgg/67881442/

Laurel has been worn as a wreath on the head to symbolise success and victory for thousands of years.

It symbolises the victory of God over the Devil.

Fir & Yew Trees

Fir and Yew trees are evergreen and so signify everlasting life with God.

Fir is also very commonly used for Christmas Trees.

Rosemary

Rosemary was connected with the Virgin Mary (because it was thought to be Mary’s favourite plant) and people thought that it could protect you from evil spirits. It is also sometimes called the friendship plant and it was the most common garnish put on the boar’s head that rich people ate at the main Christmas meal in the Middle ages!

It is also known as the remembrance herb and was used at Christmas as this is the time that we remember the birth of Jesus.

In the late 1700s a special Christmas Rosemary Service was started in Ripon Cathedral School where a red apple, with a sprig of Rosemary in the top of it, was sold by the school boys to the members of the congregation for 2p, 4p or 6p (depending on the size of apple!).

 

Christmas Wreaths

A Christmas Wreath

Hanging a circular wreath of evergreens during mid winter seems to go back a very long way. It might have started back in Roman times when wreaths were hung on their doors as a sign of victory and of their status. Rich Roman women also wore them as headdresses at special occasions like weddings and to show they were posh. Roman Emperors also wore Laurel Wreaths. They were also given to the winners of events in the original Olympic Games in Greece.

The word ‘wreath’ comes from the Old English word ‘writhen’ which means to writhe or twist. Christmas Wreaths as we know them today, might have started life as Kissing Boughs (see below) or come from the German and Easter European custom of Advent Wreaths.

Kissing Boughs or Kissing Bunches

In the UK, before Christmas Trees became popular and dating back to the middle ages, another popular form of Christmas/mid winter decoration was the Kissing Bough or Bunch. These were made of five wooden hoops that made the shape of a ball (four hoops vertical to form the ball and then the fifth horizontal to go around the middle). The hoops were covered with Holly, Ivy, Rosemary, Bay, Fir or other evergreen plants. Inside the hoops were hung red apples (often hung from red ribbons) and a candle was either put inside the ball at the bottom or round the horizontal hoop. The bough was finished by hanging a large bunch of mistletoe from the bottom of the ball. (For a simpler bough you could also just have a horizontal hoop decorated and hung with apples and the mistletoe.)

When should you take the greenery down?

It is traditional to take down the decorations on Twelfth Night (also known as Epiphany) on January 6th. But during the middle ages, greenery (including Mistletoe) was often left hanging up until Candlemas (when Christians celebrate Jesus going to the Jewish Temple as a baby) in early February!

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Chrismons and Chrismon Patterns

Chrismons are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them. They help Christians to remember that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’s birthday. They are often used on Christmas Trees in Churches and Christians homes.

They were first made by Frances Kipps Spencer at the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia, USA. She also thought of the word, Chrismon, which is a combination of Christ and monogram (meaning symbol). The idea quickly spread to other churches. It is traditional that Christian groups can make their own Chrismons with their favourite symbols on.

Each year a 20ft (6 metre) Christmas Tree is decorated in the Ascension Lutheran Church, as Mrs Spencer intended, and visitors come and the hear the story of Jesus explained through her original Chrismons and a few gifts from around the world.

Chrismons are traditionally coloured white and gold. White is the liturgical (or Church) colour for Christmas and symbolises that Jesus was pure and perfect. Gold symbolises His Majesty and Glory. Chrismons can be made from nearly anything, but paper and embroidered ones are the most widely used.

Below are some symbols that are common Chrismons and what they represent to Christians.

Click on a Chrismon to open a larger version which you can use as a patten to make Chrismons.

The Cross symbolises that Christians believe Jesus Christ died for everyone on a Cross.
The Latin Cross, also sometimes called the Roman Cross. The base of the Cross has three steps that symbolise faith, hope, and love.
The Irish or Celtic Cross is a normal cross with a circle in the middle to symbolise eternity.
The Triumphant Cross represents the earth with the cross on top. It symbolises Jesus is triumphant over anything we can face in the world.
The Jerusalem Cross was worn by the crusaders going to Jerusalem, in the middle ages. It can symbolise the Four Gospels in the Bible, the spread of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth or the five wounds of Jesus when he died on the cross.
The Eastern Cross is used by many Eastern or Orthodox Churches.
The Furca or Upsilon Cross comes from the Greek letter Y. It is also called The Thieves’ Cross from the two robbers who were crucified on each side of Jesus. It also symbolises the choice between good and evil.
The Anchor Cross reminds Christian’s that Jesus is the anchor of their faith.
The Fish is one of the oldest Christian symbols. The letters, from the Greek word for fish (ichthus), stand for Jesus (I), Christ (X), God (Q), Son (Y), Savior (S). Some of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen.
Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. Used together, they are the symbolise that Christians believe Jesus is the beginning and end of all things.
The Chi-Rho looks like a ‘P’ with an ‘X’ on top of it. These two letters are the first two letters of the Greek word ‘Christos’ which means Christ.
The Star of David, sometimes called the Star of Creation, is a symbol that Jesus was a Jew and a descendant of King David.
A Five Pointed Star represents the five wounds of Jesus on the cross.
The Nativity Star is the symbol of the Star of Bethlehem or Epiphany, when the Wisemen visited Jesus.
An Eight Pointed Star represents baptism and regeneration.
The Crown is the symbol that Jesus in King. It shows that Christians believe Jesus is ruler over heaven and the earth.
The Shepherd’s Crook or Staff remembers that Jesus sometimes called himself a shepherd. It can also represent the shepherds who were the first people told about the birth of Jesus.

Both of these symbols represent the Christian ‘Trinity’ of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Triquerta is made of three loops making a triangle representing the three parts of the trinity. The Trefoil (at the bottom) is three equal circles intertwined to form a whole.
Hands in Prayer help Christians remember that they should pray to God.
The Scroll represents the Bible.
The Dove is the symbol of peace and the Holy Spirit. It is shown pointing down to represent the Holy Spirit that appeared as a Dove when Jesus was baptised.

The Lamp and The Candle both represents that Christians believe Jesus in the Light of the World.
The Shell is a symbol for baptism. It reminds Christians of the water that they are baptised in. It is also a sign of Pilgrimage, as Pilgrims to the Holy Land (Israel) would use a shell as a drinking vessel.
The Keys are a symbol for the Church in all the world. Jesus told his friend Peter that “I will give you keys to heaven”, so this means that Christians have to tell other people about Jesus.
The Ship is also a symbol of the Church, sailing towards heaven.
The Cup or Chalice is a symbol of the Mass, Eucharist or Communion. It also represents God’s forgiveness.
The Angel reminds Christians of the angels who told the shepherds about the birth of Jesus. It can also represent the second coming of Jesus, which the bible says will start with an Angel blowing a trumpet.
The Lamb is a symbol for Jesus who is sometimes called ‘The Lamb of God’.
The Butterfly is a symbol for transformation and the immortal soul.
The Heart is a symbol of love and reminds Christians that God is love.
The Lion is a symbol for Jesus who is sometimes called ‘The Lion of Judah’. Jesus is also represented as Aslan the Lion in the Chronicle of Narnia books by C S Lewis.
The White Rose is a symbol for purity and can represent Mary.

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Traditions of Christmas Bells

Golden Bells

Bells, especially Church Bells, have traditionally been associated with Christmas for a long time. In the Anglican and Catholic churches, the church day starts at sunset, so any service after that is the first service of the day. So a service on Christmas Eve after sunset is traditionally the first service of Christmas day! In churches that have a Bell or Bells, They are often rung to signal the start of this service.

In some churches in the UK, it is traditional that the largest bell in the church is rung four times in the hour before midnight and then at midnight all the bells are rung in celebration.

In the Catholic Church, Christmas is the only time that Mass is allowed to be held at Midnight. This is because in the early church, it was believed that Jesus was born at midnight, although there has never been any proof of this! A lot of Churches have midnight services on Christmas Eve, although not every church will have a mass or communion as part of the service.

In many Catholic countries such as France, Spain and Italy, the midnight mass service is very important and everyone tries to go to a service.

In Victorian times, it was very fashionable to go carol singing with small handbells to play the tune of the carol. Sometimes there would only be the bells and no singing! Handbell ringing is still popular today.

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Christmas or Xmas?

Christmas is also sometimes known as Xmas. Some people don’t think it’s correct to call Christmas ‘Xmas’ as that takes the ‘Christ’ (Jesus) out of Christmas. (As Christmas comes from Christ-Mass, the Church service that celebrated the birth of Jesus.)

But that is not quite right! In the Greek language and alphabet, the letter that looks like an X is the Greek letter chi / Χ (pronounced ‘kye’ – it rhymes with ‘eye’) which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Christos.

The early church used the first two letters of Christos in the Greek alphabet ‘chi’ and ‘rho’ to create a monogram (symbol) to represent the name of Jesus. This looks like an X with a small p on the top: ☧

The symbol of a fish is sometimes used by Christians (you might see a fish sticker on a car or someone wearing a little fish badge). This comes from the time when the first Christians had to meet in secret, as the Romans wanted to kill them (before Emperor Constantine became a Christian). Jesus had said that he wanted to make his followers ‘Fishers of Men’, so people started to use that symbol.

The History of Christmas Trees

A Christmas Tree with gold baubles

The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God.

Nobody is really sure when Fir trees were first used as Christmas trees. It probably started about began 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas Trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers/lighting hooks).

Other early Christmas Trees, across many part of northern europe, were cherry or hawthorn plants (or a branch of the plant) that were put into pots and brought inside, so they would hopefully flower at Christmas time. If you couldn’t afford a real plant, people made pyramids of woods and they were decorated to look like a tree with paper, apples and candles. Sometimes there were carried around from house to house, rather than being displayed in a home.

It’s possible that the wooden pyramid trees were meant to be like Paradise Trees. These were used in medieval German Mystery or Miracle Plays that were acted out in front of Churches on Christmas Eve. In early church calendars of saints, 24th December was Adam and Eve’s day. The Paradise Tree represented the Garden of Eden. It was often paraded around the town before the play started, as a way of advertising the play. The plays told Bible stories to people who could not read.

The first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is in town square of Riga, the capital of Latvia, in the year 1510. In the square there is a plaque which is engraved with “The First New Years Tree in Riga in 1510”, in eight languages. The tree might have been a ‘Paradise Tree’ rather than a ‘real’ tree. Not much is known about the tree, apart from that it was attended by men wearing black hats, and that after a ceremony they burnt the tree. This is like the custom of the Yule Log. You can find out more about the Riga Tree from this great website: www.firstchristmastree.com

A picture from Germany in 1521 which shows a tree being paraded through the streets with a man riding a horse behind it. The man is dressed a bishop, possibly representing St. Nicholas.

In 1584, the historian Balthasar Russow wrote about a tradition, in Riga, of a decorated fir tree in the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”. There’s a record of a small tree in Breman, Germany from 1570. It is described as a tree decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers”. It was displayed in a ‘guild-house’ (the meeting place for a society of business men in the city).

Cones on a Fir Tree

The first first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas. Some people say this is the same tree as the ‘Riga’ tree, but it isn’t! The Riga tree originally took place a few decades earlier. Northern Germany and Latvia are neighbors.

Another story says that St. Boniface of Crediton (a village in Devon, UK) left England and travelled to Germany to preach to the pagan German tribes and convert them to Christianity. He is said to have come across a group of pagans about to sacrifice a young boy while worshipping an oak tree. In anger, and to stop the sacrifice, St. Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and, to his amazement, a young fir tree sprang up from the roots of the oak tree. St. Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith and his followers decorated the tree with candles so that St. Boniface could preach to the pagans at night.

There is another legend, from Germany, about how the Christmas Tree came into being, it goes:

Once on a cold Christmas Eve night, a forester and his family were in their cottage gathered round the fire to keep warm. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. When the forester opened the door, he found a poor little boy standing on the door step, lost and alone. The forester welcomed him into his house and the family fed and washed him and put him to bed in the youngest sons own bed (he had to share with his brother that night!). The next morning, Christmas Morning, the family were woken up by a choir of angels, and the poor little boy had turned into Jesus, the Christ Child. The Christ Child went into the front garden of the cottage and broke a branch off a Fir tree and gave it to the family as a present to say thank you for looking after him. So ever since them, people have remembered that night by bringing a Christmas Tree into their homes!

A drawing of the famous Royal Christmas Tree from 1848

In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread and gold covered apples. Then glass makers made special small ornaments similar to some of the decorations used today. In 1605 an unknown German wrote: “At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlours of Strasbourg and hang thereon roses cut out of many-coloured paper, apples, wafers, gold foil, sweets, etc.”

At first, a figure of the Baby Jesus was put on the top of the tree. Over time it changed to an angel/fairy that told the shepherds about Jesus, or a star like the Wise men saw.

The first Christmas Trees came to Britain sometime in the 1830s. They became very popular in 1841, when Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s German husband) had a Christmas Tree set up in Windsor Castle. In 1848, drawing of “The Queen’s Christmas tree at Windsor Castle” was published in the Illustrated London News, 1848. The drawing was republished in Godey’s Lady’s Book, Philadelphia in December 1850 (but they removed the Queen’s crown and Prince Albert’s moustache to make it look ‘American’!).

The publication of the drawing helped Christmas Trees become popular in the UK and USA.

In Victorian times, the tree would have been decorated with candles to represent stars. In many parts of Europe, candles are still widely used to decorate Christmas trees.

Tinsel was also created in Germany, were it was originally made from thin strips of beaten silver. But when plastic/man made tinsel was invented it became very popular as it was much cheaper than real silver and also lighter to go on the tree!

One legend says that the Christ Child first made tinsel by turning spider’s webs into silver after taking pity on a poor family that couldn’t afford any decorations for their Christmas Tree!

Because of the danger of fire, in 1895 Ralph Morris, an American telephonist, invented the first electric Christmas lights, similar to the ones we use today.

In 1885 a hospital in Chicago burned down because of candles on a Christmas Tree! And in 1908 insurance companies in the USA tried to get a law made that would ban candles from being used on Christmas Trees because of the many fires they had caused! So we have to say a big thank you to Ralph Morris for making Christmas safer!

The most lights lit at the same time on a Christmas tree is 194,672 and was done by Kiwanis Malmedy / Haute Fagnes Belgium in Malmedy, Belgium, on 10 December 2010!

Many towns and villages have their own Christmas Trees. One of the most famous is the tree in Trafalgar Square in London, England, which is given to the UK by Norway every year as a ‘thank you’ present for the help the UK gave Norway in World War II. The White House in the USA has had a big tree on the front lawn since the 1920s.

The record for the most Christmas trees chopped down in two minutes is 27 and belongs to Erin Lavoie from the USA. She set the record on 19th December 2008 on the set of Guinness World Records: Die GroBten Weltrekorde in Germany.

Artificial Christmas Trees really started becoming popular in the early 20th century. In the Edwardian period Christmas Trees made from colored ostrich feathers were popular at ‘fashionable’ parties. Around 1900 there was even a short fashion for white trees – so if you thought colored trees are a new invention they’re not! Over the years artificial tress have been made from feathers, papier mâché, metal, glass, and many different types of plastic (I’ve got a couple of inflatable trees!).

The tallest artificial Christmas tree was 52m (170.6ft) high and was covered in green PVC leaves!. It was called the ‘Peace Tree’ and was designed by Grupo Sonae Distribuição Brasil and was displayed in Moinhos de Vento Park, Porto Alegre, Brazil from 1st December 2001 until 6th January 2002.

In many countries, different trees are used as Christmas trees. In New Zealand a tree called the ‘Pohutakawa’ that has red flowers is sometimes used and in India, Banana or Mango trees are sometimes decorated.

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The Tradition of Advent

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas (or sometimes from the 1st December to Christmas Day!). Advent means ‘Coming’ in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.

There are three meanings of ‘coming’ that Christians describe in Advent. The first, and most thought of, happened about 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us. The second can happen now as Jesus wants to come into our lives now. And the third will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as King and Judge, not a baby.

A Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

Some people fast (don’t eat anything) during advent to help them concentrate on preparing to celebrate Jesus’s coming. In many Orthodox and Eastern Catholics Churches Advent lasts for 40 days and starts on November 15th and is also called the Nativity Fast.

There are several ways that Advent is counted down but the most common is by a calendar or candle(s).

There are many types of calendars used in different countries. The most common ones in the UK and USA are made of paper or card with 25 little windows on. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture is displayed underneath. When they were first made, scenes from the Christmas Story and other Christmas images were used, such as snowmen and robins, but now many calendars are made in the theme of television programmes and sports clubs. Some of these types of calendar even have chocolate under each window, to make every day in December that little bit better! I used to like those when I was a little boy (and still do now!!!)!

Some European countries such as Germany use a wreath of fir with 24 bags or boxes hanging from it. In each box or bag there is a little present for each day.

You can also not get online Advent or ‘Christmas Countdown’ calendars and there’s one on this site. So during December, why don’t you visit the Online Advent Calendar and find out about something Christmassy each day!

A Wreath Advent Crown

There are two types of candle(s) that are used to count down to Christmas Day in Advent. The first looks like a normal candle, but has the days up to Christmas Day marked down the candle. On the first of December the candle is lit and burnt down to the first line on the candle. The same is done every day and then the rest of the candle is burnt on Christmas day. I use one of these candles to count down during Advent.

An Advent Crown is another form of candles that are used to count down Advent. These are often used in Churches rather than in people’s homes. The crown is often made up of a wreath of greenery and has four candles round the outside and one in the middle or in a separate place. Sometimes a more traditional candelabra is used to display the five candles.

Advent Candles

One candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, two are lit on the second Sunday and so on. Each candle has a different meaning in Christianity. Different churches have given them different meanings, but I was taught the following:

  • The first represents Isaiah and other prophets in the bible that predicted the coming of Jesus.
  • The second represents the bible.
  • The third represents Mary, the mother of Jesus.
  • The fourth represents John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, who told the people in Israel to get ready for Jesus’ teaching.

The middle or separate candle is lit on Christmas Day and represents Jesus, the light of the world. In Germany this fifth candle is known as the ‘Heiligabend’ and is lit on Christmas Eve.

In many churches, the colour purple is used to signify the season of Advent. On the third Sunday, representing Mary, the colour is sometimes changes to pink or rose.

In medieval and pre-medieval times, in parts of England, there were an early form of Nativity scene called ‘advent images’ or a ‘vessel cup’. They were a box, often with a glass lid that was covered with a white napkin, that contained two dolls representing Mary and the baby Jesus. The box was decorated with ribbons and flowers (and sometimes apples). They were carried around from door to door. It was thought to be very unlucky if you haven’t seen a box before Christmas Eve! People paid the box carriers a halfpenny to see the box.

There are some Christmas Carols that are really Advent Carols! These include ‘People Look East’, ‘Come, thou long expected Jesus’, ‘Lo! He comes, with clouds descending’ and perhaps the most popular advent song ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel!’.

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Why is Christmas Day on the 25th December?

No one knows the real birthday of Jesus! No date is given in the Bible, so why do we celebrate it on the 25th December? The early Christians certainly had many arguments as to when it should be celebrated! Also, the birth of Jesus probably didn’t happen in the year 1AD but slightly earlier, somewhere between 2BC and 7BC (there isn’t a 0AD – the years go from 1BC to 1AD!).

Calendar showing 25th December

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

There are many different traditions and theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. A very early Christian tradition said that the day when Mary was told that she would have a very special baby, Jesus (called the Annunciation) was on March 25th – and it’s still celebrated today on the 25th March. Nine months after the 25th March is the 25th December! March 25th was also the day some early Christians thought the world had been made, and also the day that Jesus died on when he was an adult.

December 25th might have also been chosen because the Winter Solstice and the ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals called ‘Saturnalia’ and ‘Dies Natalis Solis Invicti’ took place in December around this date – so it was a time when people already celebrated things.

The Winter Solstice is the day where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting. It happens on December 21st or 22nd. To pagans this meant that the winter was over and spring was coming and they had a festival to celebrate it and worshipped the sun for winning over the darkness of winter. In Scandinavia, and some other parts of northern Europe, the Winter Solstice is known as Yule and is where we get Yule Logs from. In Eastern europe the mid-winter festival is called Koleda.

The Roman Festival of Saturnalia took place between December 17th and 23rd and honoured the Roman god Saturn. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’ and was held on December 25th (when the Romans thought the Winter Solstice took place) and was the ‘birthday’ of the Pagan Sun god Mithra. In the pagan religion of Mithraism, the holy day was Sunday and is where get that word from!

Early Christians might have given this festival a new meaning – to celebrate the birth of the Son of God ‘the unconquered Son’! (In the Bible a prophesy about the Jewish savior, who Christians believe is Jesus, is called ‘Sun of Righteousness’.)

The Jewish festival of Lights, Hanukkah starts on the 25th of Kislev (the month in the Jewish calendar that occurs at about the same time as December). Hanukkah celebrates when the Jewish people were able to re-dedicate and worship in their Temple, in Jerusalem, again following many years of not being allowed to practice their religion.

Jesus was a Jew, so this could be another reason that helped the early Church choose December the 25th for the date of Christmas!

Christmas had also been celebrated by the early Church on January 6th, when they also celebrated the Epiphany (which means the revelation that Jesus was God’s son) and the Baptism of Jesus. Now the Epiphany mainly celebrates the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus, but back then it celebrated both things! Jesus’s Baptism was originally seen as more important than his birth, as this was when he started his ministry. But soon people wanted a separate day to celebrate his birth.

Most of the world uses the ‘Gregorian Calendar’ implemented by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Before that the ‘Roman’ or Julian Calendar was used (named after Julius Caesar). The Gregorian calendar is more accurate that the Roman calendar which had too many days in a year! When the switch was made 10 days were lost, so that the day that followed the 4th October 1582 was 15th October 1582. In the UK the change of calendars was made in 1752. The day after 2nd September 1752 was 14th September 1752.

Many Orthodox and Coptic Churches still use the Julian Calendar and so celebrate Christmas on the 7th January. And the Armenian Church celebrates it on the 6th January! In some part of the UK, January 6th is still called ‘Old Christmas’ as this would have been the day that Christmas would have celebrated on, if the calendar hadn’t been changed. Some people didn’t want to use the new calendar as they thought it ‘cheated’ them out of 11 days!

Christians believe that Jesus is the light of the world, so the early Christians thought that this was the right time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They also took over some of the customs from the Winter Solstice and gave them Christian meanings, like Holly, Mistletoe and even Christmas Carols!

St Augustine was the person who really started Christmas in the UK by introducing Christianity in the 6th century. He came from countries that used the Roman Calendar, so western countries celebrate Christmas on the 25th December. Then people from Britain and Western Europe took Christmas on the 25th December all over the world!

The name ‘Christmas’ comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life. The ‘Christ-Mass’ service was the only one that was allowed to take place after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so people had it at Midnight! So we get the name Christ-Mass, shortened to Christmas.

So when was Jesus Born?

There’s a strong and practical reason why Jesus might not have been born in the winter, but in the spring or the autumn! It can get very cold in the winter and it’s unlikely that the shepherds would have been keeping sheep out on the hills (as those hills can get quite a lot of snow sometimes!).

During the spring (in March or April) there’s a Jewish festival called ‘Passover’. This festival remembers when the Jews had escaped from slavery in Egypt about 1500 years before Jesus was born. Lots of lambs would have been needed during the Passover Festival, to be sacrificed in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jews from all over the Roman Empire travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, so it would have been a good time for the Romans to take a census. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census (Bethlehem is about six miles from Jerusalem).

In the autumn (in September or October) there’s the Jewish festival of ‘Sukkot’ or ‘The Feast of Tabernacles’. It’s the festival that’s mentioned the most times in the Bible! It was when the Jewish people remember that they depended on God for all they had after they had escaped from Egypt and spent 40 years in the desert. It also celebrated the end of the harvest. During the festival people lived outside in temporary shelters (the word ‘tabernacle’ come from a latin word meaning ‘booth’ or ‘hut’). Many people who have studied the Bible, think that Sukkot would be a likely time for the birth of Jesus as it might fit with the description of there being ‘no room in the inn’. It also would have been a good time to take the Roman Census as many Jews went to Jerusalem for the festival and they would have brought their own tents/shelters with them!

The possibilities for the Star of Bethlehem seems to point either spring or autumn.

So whenever you celebrate Christmas, remember that you’re celebrating a real event that happened about 2000 years ago, that God sent his Son into the world as a Christmas present for everyone!

As well as Christmas and the solstice, there are some other festivals that are held in late December. Hanukkah is celebrated by Jews; and the festival of Kwanzaa is celebrated by some Africans and African Americans takes place from December 26th to January 1st.

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Christmas Eve

 

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Traditions and Customs

Christmas Eve has many of its own customs and traditions. The most widely practised one that still exists today is going to a Midnight Mass Church Service. In many countries, especially Catholic ones such as Spain, Mexico, Poland and Italy, this is the most important Church service of the Christmas season. People might fast during Christmas Eve (not eat any meat or fish usually) and then the main Christmas meal is often eaten after the Midnight Mass Service in these countries. In some other countries, such as Belgium, Finland, Lithuania and Denmark the meal is eaten in the evening and you might go to a Midnight Service afterwards!

The Midnight Mass Communion Service (or ‘Christ-Mas’) was a very special one as it was the only one that was allowed to start after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so it was held at Midnight!

Christmas Eve is also the day when people in some countries, like Germany, Sweden and Portugal exchange their presents. I think Santa must have those countries on his extra early list! Christmas Eve is also Santa’s busiest day of the year when he has to travel over 220 million miles (355 million km) to get to every house on earth! You can see where Santa’s got to on www.santaupdate.com

In many european countries including Germany, Serbia and Slovakia, Christmas Eve is the day when the Christmas Tree is brought into the house and decorated.

It was also traditional to bring the Yule Log into the house and light it on Christmas Eve. It was lit using a piece of the previous years log and then would burnt non-stop until Twelfth Night (6th January). Tradition also said that any greenery such as Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe should only be taken into the house on Christmas Eve.

It’s also the time that the wonderful book ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens is set and that going out Carol singing was and still is very popular. In the past, if you weren’t carol singing, in parts of the UK, you might go out wassailing or mumming.

There were lots of superstitions in the UK that said girls could find out the initials, or even have visions, of the person they would marry on Christmas Eve! This was often done by cooking a special cake called a ‘dumb cake’. You were supposed to make the cake in silence and prick your initials into the top. When you went to bed, you left the cake by the fire hearth and your true love was supposed to coming in at midnight and prick his initials next to yours!

Other Christmas Eve superstitions included that farm and wild animals would kneel at midnight in honor of Jesus being born or that they could even talk!

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