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Answers to Christmas Quiz #3

Answers to Christmas Quiz #3 (Questions on the WordWenches’ blog)

1)   Who could be called the original Christmas Grinch because of his hatred of Christmas? (Note: this was centuries before the word grinch was used.)     

         c) Oliver Cromwell,.

Under Cromwell’s Puritan government, Christmas was banned, carols were forbidden and all festive get-togethers were deemed against the law. 

2) What was banned by the Puritans in the 1660s?   

        b)  Plum pudding.

Because it was deemed sinfully rich

3) Why was the fourth Sunday before Christmas called Stir Up Sunday?

        b)  It was the traditional day for the making of Christmas pudding.

Members of the family would be invited to stir the pudding mix for good luck, and make a wish.

4) Why was George I called ‘the Pudding King’?

        d) Because he brought the Christmas pudding back into fashion. 

Christmas pudding  (also known as plum pudding) had been out of fashion since the Puritans had banned it. When King George I requested that plum pudding be served as part of his royal feast when he celebrated his first Christmas in England after arriving from Hanover to take the throne in 1714 it became fashionable again.

5)  When were Christmas cards first sent in England?

        b)  In 1843 when a London art shop owner printed a thousand cards. 

The “Penny Post” was first introduced in Britain in 1840 — a penny stamp paid for the postage of a letter or card to anywhere in Britain. Three years later, in 1843,  Sir Henry Cole tested the water in 1843 by printing a thousand cards for sale in his art shop in London at one shilling each.

6)  Christmas Crackers were originally:—

        a)  A twist of colored paper containing sweets

Christmas Crackers  were invented by Tom Smith, a London confectioner in 1846. On a trip to Paris he discovered the French ‘bon bon’, a sugared almond wrapped in a twist of tissue paper. Smith added a small love motto inside the wrapper, and later added other things — hats and small toys. In 1847 Smith patented his first cracker device, which was supposedly sparked by the sound of a crackling fire, and perfected the mechanism in the 1860s. More info here.

7) Which of these Christmas Carols was NOT sung during the Regency? (1811-1820)

        c)  Away In a Manger

Here are the dates of some popular Christmas Carols:
Joy to The World (1719)
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (1739)
The Holly and the Ivy  (1818?)
The First Noel  (1823)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1833)
I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing By  (1833)
Oh Come All Ye Faithful  (English translation 1841)
O Come all ye Faithful (1843)
Once in Royal David’s City (1848)
Silent Night (1859) 
We Three Kings of Orient Are (1863) 
O Little Town of Bethlehem (1868)
Away in a Manger  (1882?)

8) We know mistletoe was popular at Christmas, but did people prefer mistletoe with lots of berries or very few berries?

        c) They preferred lots of berries because it was one kiss for one berry.

The mistletoe bough (or bunch or ball) would be hung up and any unmarried girl found underneath it was up for a kiss. After each kiss, one mistletoe berry was removed, so when the berries ran out, so did the kissing and the mistletoe was taken down.

9)  Most mistletoe in England was obtained from:—

        c)  Orchards and the forest

The common mistletoe of England grew on orchard trees and forest trees, and seldom on oak trees, which is why Druids revered mistletoe cut from oak trees because it was so rare, and therefore regarded as sacred.

10)  What was a Yule Log?

        b)  A big log that was lit on Christmas day and would burn for days.  

11) What were Twelfth Night cakes?

        a) Cakes that contained a dried pea or bean.

A traditional Twelfth Night cake has one or more dried bean or sometimes a trinket hidden inside. Those who find a bean or trinket in their piece of cake are crowned the “Twelfth Night King or Queen” for the remainder of the party. They distribute gifts to all the children and select the songs and games
More info here.

12) What were mummers?

        d) Men in costume who performed short traditional plays.

Mummers are men in costume, sometimes masked, who perform a type of folk play, known in many areas of Europe but particularly common in England, Scotland and Ireland, that combines music, dance, and sword fighting in episodes involving the death and revival of a character or characters. (The name derives from a French word meaning masked.)

Now, return to the Word Wenches’ site and tell us how you went and which snippet of historical knowledge you found most interesting — or the sneakiest or silliest answer choice. To return to the Word Wenches’ site, click here