Saturday, December 25, 2010
Let me be the first to wish you Merry Chistmas this morning! You know me, I am a history buff and I looked up the origin of Merry Christmas.
Our friend Wiki says:
A Christmas tree inside a home."Merry," derived from the Old English myrige, originally meant merely "pleasant, and agreeable" rather than joyous or jolly (as in the phrase "merry month of May").
Though Christmas has been observed since the 4th century AD, the first known usage of any Christmastime greeting, dates back to 1565, when it appeared in The Hereford Municipal Manuscript: "And thus I comytt you to God, who send you a mery Christmas." "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" (thus incorporating two greetings) was in an informal letter written by an English admiral in 1699. The same phrase is contained in the sixteenth century secular English carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and the first commercial Christmas card, produced in England in 1843.
Also in 1843, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was published, during the mid Victorian revival of the holiday. The word Merry was then beginning to take on its current meaning of "jovial, cheerful, jolly and outgoing." "Merry Christmas" in this new context figured prominently in A Christmas Carol. The cynical Ebenezer Scrooge rudely deflects the friendly greeting: "If I could work my will.. every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding." After the visit from the Ghosts of Christmas effects his transformation, Scrooge exclaims; "I am as merry as a school-boy. A merry Christmas to everybody!" and heartily exchanges the wish to all he meets. The instant popularity of A Christmas Carol, the Victorian era Christmas traditions it typifies, and the term's new meaning appearing in the book, Dickens' tale popularized the phrase "Merry Christmas."
The alternative "Happy Christmas" gained usage in the late 19th century, and is still common in the U.K. and Ireland alongside "Merry Christmas". One reason may be the Methodist Victorian middle-class influence in attempting to separate their construct of wholesome celebration of the Christmas season from that of common lower-class public insobriety and associated asocial behaviour, in a time where merry was also understood to mean "tipsy" or "drunk". Queen Elizabeth II is said to prefer "Happy Christmas" for this reason. In the American poet Clement Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (1823), the final line, originally written as "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night," has been changed in many later editions to "Merry Christmas to all," perhaps indicating the relative popularity of the phrases in the U.S."
Every phrase has a history and I am full of the one's I learned around my parents like you're hoot dad but your still an old coot, don't stumble when you put on your boots. One of dad's favorites was about the little boy who couldn't speak English plainly and when asked what he wanted for Christmas, he answered Yoots to Yade in and Yaggin to Yide In. Most people don't get that one, they must think it is Yiddish or something.
I think Merry Christmas must be older than that, don't you? I think a lot of sayings were said in some fashion long before they were recognized on a larger scale.
I do wish you all a Merry Christmas. It is neat to see the big mall areas finally shut down Christmas eve like we saw last night on the way to Cousin Sheila's.
I wonder if most kids have so much stuff they don't look forward to Christmas morning like I did in my Christmas Tale yesterday?