The Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar for its liturgical calendar. So all their major observances (Christmas & Easter) occur 13 days later. Which is why today is Christmas Day in many countries where Orthodox Christians reside. Many of my friends are gathering today to celebrate this special day. So that is why I am reposting Merry Christmas today to wish happiness and joy to my friends in Eastern Orthodox.
Titanic News Channel wishes everyone a blessed and joyous Christmas Day. Merry Christmas!
….And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!” (Dickens, A Christmas Carol)
Epiphany or Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6 by most Western Christian denominations. It is the day set aside to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem and the presentation of their gifts to Jesus. The Catholic Church decided to move its observance to the Sunday after Christmas so people would not have to take off work to attend mass.
Epiphany Day is the twelfth day after Christmas Day and usually concludes the Christmas season. Twelfth Day observances vary by country and some celebrate it on the evening before. Usually there are special celebrations involving foods and special cakes. If a Christmas log was lit for the season, it is now extinguished. King cake (a traditional part of the feast) is almost always present. Children often get gifts of candy or other things from the Wise Men. In Italy, the Christmas Witch La Belfana delivers gifts on Epiphany Eve to stockings children put up before bed. They awake to the delight of treats in the stockings. In Spain, it is celebrated as Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings’ Day) where families gather to celebrate the day.
One good way to celebrate it with the family is to gather before the nativity to remember what the holiday is all about. Christmas music should be played, and a nice midday meal served. Then taking down the Christmas tree can be done together. The nativity scene can remain up until the Baptism of the Lord which ends the Christmas season on the liturgical calendar.
The Daily Mail is reporting that train carriages that likely carried passengers to Titanic in 1912 have been found in yard for over a hundred years. The dining saloon cars were part of the Boat Train Express run by London and South Western Railway to carry first class passengers from the London Waterloo Station to Southampton.
The British Titanic Society has decided to raise the necessary £550,000 to restore the cars. During World War I and II the cars were used by the military. By the 1970’s they were in poor condition and acquired for use in a possible heritage railway that never happened. They were bought in 2000 by a train enthusiast in the hopes of finding someone who would restore them. No one can say for certain these saloon cars actually carried passengers to Titanic, but certainly operated in that time frame.
Here is the James R. Barker leaving Duluth this morning. Notice all the ice in the harbor and in the canal. The Barker has a very distinctive horn. A few people were there to see it off at 7:53 am (local time) this morning standing in a chilly 24 degrees F (-4 C) in Duluth.
Video: Ring goes overboard in Titanic-styled proposal
Sky News Australia, 1 Dec 2022
A man is preparing to propose to his fiancée standing on the tip of a boat. And then when tries to pull out the box with the ring, it goes flying landing into the water, sending him into the water to get it back. He got it, got back in, and proposed soaking wet to his bride-to-be who was laughing and accepted it.
Malcolm Smith, the author of “Mainers on the Titanic,” told NEWS CENTER Maine around 14 people from the Pine Tree State were on the vessel when it struck that fatal iceberg. Half of them survived, he said, most of them women. “It broke down that the females from Maine survived. Men didn’t, generally speaking,” Smith said. Of the Mainers that were on the Titanic, most were from Mount Desert Island. They were families that came to Maine for the summer and could spend half a year in the state. “Employers, neighbors, friends. They were part of our fabric,” Smith said.
Apart from being a mere exhibition, it is an emotional journey, unfurling the true stories of the Titanic’s passengers. I have never been so emotional and fascinated while visiting an exhibition in my life. In the depths of history or in terms of Titanic’s historic tragedy, it was a truly remarkable experience.
It was only months ago things were looking rosy for Harland & Wolff with new shipbuilding contracts. According to the article, the main reason to delay many of the projects is to difficulty in obtaining parts. This echoes what is happening in a lot of industries today where parts needed have become difficult to get due to a number of factors related to the pandemic shipping issues that have not been fully restored, the war in the Ukraine, or simply the skyrocketing costs of many needed items. Harland is delaying the contracts, but it is hurting their bottom line. Some are concerned it may make it harder to pay off their debts leading to concern amongst investors.
On December 29 1170, Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in front of the altar by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral.
Becket had been a successful chancellor for King Henry II and had helped him consolidate his power even if went against the church. Well liked and respected, Becket served the king well earning his complete trust. When the Archbishop of Canterbury died, King Henry decided to put Becket in that spot so he could have more control of the church. Appointing him in 1162, he expected Becket to faithfully continue what Henry wanted. Except that is not what happened at all,
Becket though underwent a transformation and switched his allegiance to the church. He adopted an ascetic lifestyle and lived humbly despite being in the most powerful bishopric in England. King Henry and Becket starting clashing over many issues. Finally when the king demanded Becket sign the Constitutions of Clarendon in 1164 to extend his control over the church, Becket refused and left England and went to France. He returned in 1170 after a reconciliation had been worked out. Two bishops who had sided with Henry had been excommunicated refused to rejoin unless they supported the church over Henry. The bishops complained to Henry, who was in France at the time, who uttered words that suggested he wanted him dead. Four knights took this as an order and sailed to England.
There they murdered Becket on the altar stairs just as evening mass was starting. This shocking event caused outrage and horror. King Henry went on a 40 day fast. Pope Alexander III proclaimed him a saint two years later. King Henry II walked barefoot to his tomb as penance and was forgiven by the church. His tomb became a popular spot for pilgrims to visit until King Henry VIII destroyed it. When he was reburied in the new tomb that was subsequently destroyed, many of his bones were sent to other churches as relics. They were returned in 2016 to the cathedral in which he died in.
His feast day of December 29 is celebrated on both Anglican and Catholic calendars. He is the saint of secular clergy.
Michael David Knowles(25 Dec 2022) St. Thomas Becket
Britannica.com, Retrieved 28 Dec 2022
Professor Carl Clauberg (1898-1957) after serving in World War I studied medicine and became the doctor-in-chief to the gynaecological clinic at Kiel University. In 1933 he joined the Nazi party and was a supporter of its ideology. He would also become professor for gynaecology at Koenigsberg University that same year. At Koenigsberg he did research on female fertility hormones and the use for infertility treatments. This got him recognition in 1937 and Himmler was made aware of his work. He also received the rank of SS-Gruppenführer (equivalent of a 2 -star general) in the Reserve.
In 1942 Clauberg asked Heinrich Himmler about doing research on mass sterilization of women. Himmler sent him to Auschwitz in December 1942 where he was given part of Block 10 in the camp to do his experiments. Clauberg was looking at cheap and effective ways to this. He used both Jewish and Romani (Gypsy) women who were often injected without anesthetics in their uterus. Some of the women died from the experiments and others were killed so they could do autopsies. By 1943 he reported to Himmler that he had perfected the procedure. It would require 10 people and well stocked office that could sterilize hundreds up to a 1,000 women per day.
The procedure he used required the injection of a chemical irritant that caused from the resulting inflammation, the growing of the fallopian tubes together causing obstruction. The experiments were brutal and often had complications for the women. Peritonitis and hemorrhages often resulted in high fever and sepsis. Organs failed as well resulting in death. It is believed 700 women were sterilized in these experiments.
He had to flee Auschwitz as the Russian army closed in and ended up in Ravensbruck where he continued his experiments. He was captured by the Russians, put on trial, and sentenced to 25 years in jail. He was released to Germany as part of the 1955 Adenauer-Bulganin prisoner exchange agreement. He ended up back at his old clinic but his bizarre behavior where he bragged about what he did at Auschwitz got him noticed. He was arrested in 1955 after a public outcry but died in 1957 before he stood trial.
The Feast of the Holy Innocents or Innocent’s Day (December 28) is to remember the slaughter of male children 2 years and younger in Bethlehem and in its vicinity by Herod the Great. The story as related in the Gospel of Matthew (2:16-18). Herod was angered when the Wise Men did not return to him after locating the Messiah. No one can say with certainty how many were killed. Some have doubted it happened at all, but it would be consistent with Herod the Great’s personality. He had no problems executing even members of his family if he thought they were betraying him. And since Bethlehem was a small area, the slaughter may not have been widely noticed.
Nearly all the Christian churches observe the feast day though not on the same day. The Catholic Church and most western churches observe it on December 28 but Eastern Orthodox celebrates on December 29. The slain children are treated as martyrs of the church. It is not certain when it was first observed. While the exact date of the deaths is unknown, it is kept in the octave of Christmas as it followed the birth of Jesus. However, it is believed it took place sometime after Jesus’s birth. Matthew says the Wise Men saw the child with his mother indicating he was no longer a baby. And Herod had learned from the Wise Men the approximate date of the birth.
There are a lot of traditional Christmas foods out there. Now if you have heard the song We Wish You A Merry Christmas! you have heard the words figgy pudding. The song demands it be brought out to them. So what is figgy pudding and why would you gather outside someone’s door to demand it? Well there is some interesting history to that and Max Miller not only recreates the dish but also explains its history.
And then there is Wassail that was popular in Tudor England. People sing they are going wassailing but why would they? Well history once again reveals what this dish was and was it really worth making?
And then there is eggnog. Many love or despise it. Like so many things, it has become throughly commercialized and removed from what was once made in the home. The thick custardy eggnog you often get in the store is nothing compared to the smooth tasting variety you can make at home. In much older times though, significant amounts of alcohol were added making it really a boozy drink. People had a high tolerance for alcohol (you drank light beers or fermented apple cider since water was usually not trusted) but even this traditional egg nog in this recipe will send make you quite happy after a few shots.
Chestnuts? They were a popular treat once but you rarely see them anymore. My local store does have Italian chestnuts for sale (so there must be some that still use them) but you rarely hear of them much except in song or when reading old stories. At one time though having roasted chestnuts was common it seems. Many knew how to prep, roast and eat them and were part of feasts. Here is a recreation of how it was done in the 17th century.
Plum pudding (Christmas pudding) was and still is quite popular. There are no plums in it as plum was a common term for raisin. Making it though took effort and lots of time to steam. Today you can buy premade ones and steam for an hour and enjoy. In different times though, it meant waiting quite a while for the delicious pudding to be done and served. Townsends shows how it was made back in the 17th century.
As you can see, many of our Christmas favorites have a history that go back quite a while. Learning how it came about helps us to enjoy them even more today.