Betsy DeVille

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What is Christmas? blog series exploring the history and origins of winter traditions post title: That Sounds Delicious!

The winter holiday season is often a time of food and drink that is not on our regular menu rotation and even not available at other times of the year. Many have strong, distinct flavors.

Gingerbread and Candy Canes both have legends that pluck the chords of ritual, nostalgia, and…


End-of-year celebrations throughout history have included light, decorations, gifts, feasting, frivolity, tradition, ritual, hope and celebration of prosperity, supernatural, sacrifice, scary characters and benevolent characters. …


Light is a common strand (pardon the pun!) in holiday celebrations. In fact, the earliest gifts for New Years were candles! Both artificial light, whether it be a flaming yule log, or a string of LEDs on a tree, pay homage to ancient traditions celebrating the return of sunlight and…


There are ethereal visitors in many end of the year customs. Some are unpleasant and even violent. Others are benevolent gift-bearers. Most early gift-bearers brought New Years gifts. All seem to have a theme of rewarding good and punishing bad. Here are a handful of some lesser-known characters:

Woden/Wotan/Odin and…


Greenery was often used to decorate for winter solstice and new year celebrations, pre-Christianity. For some, the greenery symbolized the coming spring and hope for prosperity and good fortune. Wreaths symbolized victory, hospitality, the circle of the year, as well as the circle of life. …


If you live in North America as I do, you already know about Christmas on December 25 and winter solstice on December 21. Let’s start with winter and how Christmas wound up on December 25.

To understand how this all came together, we need to revisit our understanding of time…


I was raised Catholic. I attended Catholic school through college. Our Christmas traditions included attending church on Christmas Eve and a party afterwards. Gifts were received from aunts, uncles, parents and Santa Claus. That was that.

When I stopped believing and it came time to celebrate winter holidays, I had…

Betsy DeVille

a generous, kind, and positive worldview of the atheist and secular life. I like to share things that can start a dialog. betsydeville.com

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