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Level X

History: The Wonderful Festive Season! Customs & Traditions of Winter & Christmas from Early Pagan Times to Twentieth Century


A feast of festive fun for those interested in the fascinating customs, traditions, myths and legends surrounding Christmas and winter, including the Christmas tree, plum pudding, crackers and cards. Lots of entertaining information on this one-day session taught in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere – to get you in the mood for Christmas!

We study early origins, winter solstice and pagan rituals of Roman times; the symbolism of evergreens and cereals, such as holly, ivy, mistletoe, rosemary, wheat, fir and bay, and significance of fire and flame. We discover who Saint Nicholas was and origins of Father Christmas and Santa Claus. We observe how traditions came about, such as why sixpence is put into the pudding, the reason candles are lit, why children put up a stocking, and why plum pudding is eaten at Christmas.

We follow the entertainments and customs of Tudor & Elizabethan Christmases when festivities were on a Grand Scale. Georgian Christmases were quieter and more sedate, although there were balls and parties. We see how the Victorians and Dickens ‘invented’; the commercial Christmas; look at it in all its glory and discuss its confections, cards, crackers, decorations and games. Finally, a look at Twentieth century Christmas celebrations and how the Festive season was spent from the early century through to the Fifties

Illustrated with colourful powerpoint slideshows.

N.B. History courses may contain outdated attitudes, cultural depictions and language which cause offence today. They have to be viewed from an historic perspective. When discussing the content these views are not those of the tutor.

Tutor Sarah Tobias. This course runs on a Wednesday afternoon 1100-1500


Suitable for all abilities


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