Christmas is a celebration with ancient roots and shared customs across many cultures. Mythology, religion and politics have through the millennia influenced how Christmas became what it is today. And let’s not forget the role that marketing has played in making this holiday a worldwide phenomenon. (Don’t miss our blog series on the history of marketing). But a newer celebration has taken off in recent years—Christmas in July. Many think it’s a marketing scheme launched to clear out old merchandise and prepare for new products. But Christmas in July has a much older derivation: Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Culture, Holidays, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Christmas, Christmas in July, free gifts, history of Christmas, history of Christmas in July, summer holiday
The image above is one of the oldest mass produced Christmas cards. Published in England in 1843, approximately 1,000 copies were originally made, but only ten have survived in modern times. It was a scandal in Victorian England because it features a child drinking wine.
Here’s hoping your holidays will be devoid of scandal and filled with feasting, family and friends!
Click here to learn more about this card and visit our posts below to discover some ancient connections to the holiday season.
 World’s oldest mass-produced Christmas card in SMU collection. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2014, from http://www.smu.edu/News/NewsIssues/OldestChristmasCard
*Don’t miss our 2013 recipe book filled with delicious food from main courses to drinks and desserts.
Mario Batali, Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, Julia Child…giants in culinary arts known for their expertise, personal franchises and larger than life personalities. But they aren’t the only chefs known for their style.
How about those Babylonian epicures whose haute cuisine recipes date to c. 1750 BCE during the reign of Hammurabi?
Ever see the culinary page-turner Hedypatheia (Pleasant Living or Life of Luxury), written around 350 BCE by Archestratus, a Sicilian Greek?  Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Culinary, Culture, Education, Holidays, Public Life, Recipes With a Past
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Chinese food, Christmas, culinary, Hungarian food, Jewish food, Muslim food, New Year, Ramadan, Recipes with a Past, Roman food, Rosh Hashanah
Image courtesy of deltamike on Flickr.
Caroling has been a popular pastime to celebrate Christmas for hundreds of years. Indeed, chanting and song have been a part of rituals and celebrations from some of the earliest of societies. Whether found in the first hollowed bone flute and percussive tree stump or the widely stylized play lists of today, music has been embedded in human culture. And as contemporary studies show, our responses to music are not just attuned to auditory preferences and social context. Music is really a “brain thing.” Continue reading
Posted in Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Blog, Culture, Holidays, Music, Public Life, Science and Technology
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, canticles, caroling, Christmas, Comas of Jerusalem, neuroscience, Oliver Cromwell, William Boyce
This is the time of year where evergreens are festively decked out in red ribbon and twinkling lights and festooning homes and cities around the globe. But did you know you were following in the footsteps of ancient cultures from all over the world who used green plants in their own winter solstice celebrations? Beginning thousands of years ago and culminating in today’s ubiquitous Christmas tree, greenery has long been a cherished holiday decoration. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Holidays, Public Life, Religion
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Celtic Druids, Christmas, Christmas tree, date palm, evergreen, holidays, Ra, Saturnalia, winter solstice, Yuletide
Below are two cookie recipes: one in honor of St. Nick and the other Santa Claus. For those of you who have a healthy dose of curiosity as well as a sweet tooth, let’s explore how these two holiday figures came to be.
St. Nicholas was a bishop in southwestern Turkey in the 4th century. Born to a wealthy family, he gave much of his money away in support of the poor. As the bishop of Myra, he had a number of miracles attributed to him and was eventually declared a saint. His feast day was celebrated on December 6th. During St. Nicholas’ lifetime, Pope Julius I decided that Jesus should be given a day that could be celebrated in honor of his birth. Because the winter solstice was already being celebrated, the birthday for Jesus was designated to coincide, which eventually proved successful in “Christianizing” the previously pagan holiday. Over time St. Nicholas’ day and Jesus’ birthday became associated, and the Christmas tradition began. Because St. Nicholas was beneficent in his offerings to the poor, stuffed stockings and gifts became synonymous with this day. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Bon Appetit Wednesday, Celebrities, Culinary, Culture, Holidays, Public Life, Religion
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Christmas, Dutch, holidays, Jesus, Saint Nicholas, Sancte Claus, Santa Claus, Sinter Klaus