History books refer to the United States as “the melting pot” where all nations and holiday traditions blend together. We have carols from England and Australia and trees from Germany. Santa Claus, or St. Nick in a red suit originated in Scandinavia and his arrival through the chimney to fill stockings is reminiscent of the Netherlands. His sleigh drawn by reindeer began in Switzerland, and our parades may be a carry-over from Latin processions.
Of course, the traditional feasting is typical of all nations. We, in turn, have fattened up the jolly old man in the red suit and blended all the traditions until he comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve, leaves gifts and stockings filled with treats and departs in a sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer. The media has helped to make this a universal Christmas image. Yet each regions of the U.S. has its own peculiarity.
From ancient times, American Indians have held religious dances to coincide with the winter solstice. Franciscan monks succeeded in bringing this Indian celebration and the Christmas Holy Day together. Thirty-five miles south of Santa Fe, in the San Felipe Pueblo, is held perhaps one of the most unique Christmas Eve dances. Shortly after the priest has delivered his Christmas Eve sermon and departed, birdcalls burst from the loft while an insistent drum takes over and dancers move into the blazing light of the altar. Dressed in masks, animal skins, feathers, coral, shells, turquoise and head dresses with real antlers, they perform the deer, turtle, eagle and buffalo dances. Women carry a sprig of HAKAK, the sacred spruce tree, which represents eternal life and which they believed helped to create mankind.
From the Appalachian mountains came one of today’s most popular Christmas songs, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” This was originally a “counting song” of magical or pagan origin, and no one seems to know what it originally meant. However, today it has become the theme of many Christmas cards and displays.
Downtown shopping centers in Hawaii display Santa’s helpers as “menehunes,” the legendary little people who are supposed to have been the first inhabitants of Hawaii before the Polynesians seized the islands. Palm trees are strung with decorate delights and fragrant flowers are hung in leis around the indoor Christmas tree.
Pennsylvania’s Moravian population embrace Christmas with a “Love-Fest.” These are musical services in which the congregation partakes of simple food while the choir sings appropriate hymns and anthems. Usually, the congregation must be served sweet buns and coffee in the time it takes to sing three hymns. Candles are distributed, made of beeswax (for until the 15th century, it was believed bees were made in Paradise), and as the final anthem is sung, all raise their lighted candles to “Praise to Our Heavenly King.”
Whatever the region, Christmas is one of the most celebrated and enjoyed holidays in the nation. Make your travel with Boston Coach part of a new holiday tradition. Because when it comes to holiday transportation, you can trust the industry leader, Boston Corporate Coach™. Just call us at +1-800-664-4480 to make your reservations or visit https://bostoncorporatecoach.com/reservations/. You can also download the Boston Corporate Coach app on Apple or GooglePlay. Happy Holidays to all!