47

This depends a bit on the definition of "match": modern rules 90 minutes kicking, level playfield, three referees, 11 players on each side, two nicely timbered goals, etc. Most popular accounts now seem to imply this. If it's that, then it's a resounding no. But bringing a ball to the trenches (in itself quite an astonishing thing to do?) and playing with ...


14

First, for clarity, it is worth noting the commanding officers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in December 1914: Sir John French was the Commander-in-Chief of the BEF. Under him were Lieutenant-General Sir Douglas Haig, Commander BEF I Corps General Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, Commander BEF II Corps. His chief of staff was Brigadier General G.T. ...


11

On the British side, no one was court-martialed. This also appears to be true for the French, Belgians and Germans. French and Belgian participation in the Christmas truce was, in any case, very limited, and there was no truce on the Eastern Front (as cipricus notes in a comment, Russian Christmas is in January). Turkish troops actually upped their attacks ...


10

Cromwell was a Puritan, and Puritan were scriptural literal-ists. They found no scriptural justification for the celebration of Christmas. They associated it with paganism, and residual Papist idolatry. To be fair Christmas traditions in seventeenth century Britain were pretty boisterous.. The Puritans believed in plain dress, no singing (outside of ...


8

Most recently? From the 1840s, at least in England. Christmas has many fathers, as traditions like gift-giving and feasting have periodically risen and then been suppressed over the centuries, and then revived with newly Christian significance retroactively applied to what might have originated in a secular or pagan custom. The most recent father of our ...


8

This insert from Harper's Weekly issue for Dec. 24, 1862, shows Santa stuffing gifts down the chimney of a Union soldier's wife and children (upper left corner) and to encamped Union soldiers (upper right corner). One can certainly argue that this is intended to imply that the Union cause is a righteous one, and thus that the image qualifies as a (...


8

The twelve days of Christmas were after it, not before it. Specifically, the carol comes from northern England, but is based on an ancient Scottish tradition called Da latha dheug na Nollaig. The twelve days are from Christmas to the Day of the Ephiphany. The Golden Bough by James Frazer has a long article on it. In Scotland the twelve days of the Yule ...


6

While Christmas has roots far in the past, many of our traditions in the English world were introduced by the Victorians. This was the period that moulded Christmas into important celebration is it today, deciding on the themes we recognise (charity, goodwill, gift giving etc), the traditions (many drawn from Germanic ones) and even the commercialism (cards, ...


3

There is no 'golden age of Christmas'. Christmas is an ancient religious as well as a secular festival. Part of it is religious, and part of it is secular. Going to church is the religious part, eat and be merry plus the gifts is the secular part. Christmas is somewhat differently celebrated in different countries. And it is celebrated somewhat differently ...


3

Folk songs and anecdotal evidence - not good enough to prove anything, but they have the ring of truth. When researching the Christmas Truce for the 100th anniversary, I ran across a scholarly article (sorry, don't have the reference) that claimed soccer games (not matches) and other friendly exchanges didn't occur just at Christmas, but continued well into ...


2

I'm not saying this is The Truth®, but here's the argument typically given for the Ancient Romans you mentioned. Nobody is really sure exactly when Jesus was born (even the year, much less the exact day). The biblical authors do not seem to have felt it was particularly important information. The earliest two Gospels don't even mention Jesus' birth at all. ...


1

Never. “The imaginary” is the general case of a particular cultural location or time commonly imagined by groups of people as a cultural phenomena. For example, much of “the Founding Fathers,” of the United States exist as a cultural imaginary barely related to the actual men involved: consider the cherry tree. A golden age of Christmas is such an ...


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