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To my knowledge, in the past, people used to go to bed earlier; usually at sunset.

My question is, around 1640s, when candles were used to light the interiors of buildings, at what time of day did Catholics at home eat Christmas dinner in Holy Roman Empire (particularly in Bohemia)? During daylight or after dark?

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    Are you assuming the answer to be the same across all of Christendom, or do you have a specific region or culture in mind? And what of the many Christians who did not celebrate Christmas, but would eat dinner on Christmas day as they would on any other day—do you count those meals as "Christmas dinners"? – bof Mar 2 '17 at 7:44
  • ..and there were Christian cultures that celebrated Christmas over a period of twelve days, so they didn't have a single Christmas dinner. – Steve Bird Mar 2 '17 at 7:55
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    "To my knowledge, people of the past used to go to bed earlier; usually at the sunset." Probably not. Or at least not in any way that can be usefully generalised. Which makes sense when most people only need 8 hours' sleep - the whole night is too much. – curiousdannii Mar 2 '17 at 9:55
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    Even today my family eats Christmas dinner at a different hour than my professional historian girlfriend's family does. I question the assumption that there is a "standard" or "conventional" time - practice probably varies as much between families as between era or culture. – Mark C. Wallace Mar 2 '17 at 10:42
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    Always an hour later than expected, because the dang roast isn't done. – Schwern Mar 2 '17 at 16:31

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