BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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FEELINGS OF THE SEASON.                             81
Of all the festivals which crowd the Christian calendar there is none that exercises an influence so strong and universal as that of Christmas ;—and those varied superstitions, and quaint customs, and joyous observances, which once abounded throughout the rural districts of England, are at no period of the year so thickly congregated, or so strongly marked, as at this season of unre­strained festivity and extended celebration. The reasons for this are various and very obvious. In the case of a single celebra­tion,—which has to support itself, by its own solitary influence, long, perchance, after the feeling in which it originated has ceased to operate,—whose significance is, perhaps, dimly and more dimly perceived (through the obscurity of a distance year after year receding further into shadow) by its own unaided and unreflected light,—the chances are many that the annually increasing neglect into which its observance is likely to fall, shall finally consign it to an entire obliteration. But a cluster of festivals, standing in a proximate order of succession, at once throwing light upon each other, and illustrated by a varied and numerous host of customs, traditions, and ceremonies,—of which, as in a similar cluster of stars, the occasional obscuration of any one or more would not prevent their memory being suggested, and their place distinctly indicated, by the others—present greatly multiplied probabilities against their existence being ever entirely forgotten, or their obser­vation wholly discontinued. The arrangement by which a series of celebrations,—beautiful in themselves, and connected with the paramount event in which are laid the foundations of our religion, —are made to fall at a period otherwise of very solemn import, from its being assumed as the close of the larger of those revolu­tions of time into which man measures out the span of his transi-7
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