Angielski dla Wymagających


Chrstmas Wreath

One of my friends has said that Americans 'go big' at Christmas time. That's why today we're gonna have a closer look at the history of Xmas celebrations in America

The word CHRISTMAS comes from Old English Crīstesmæsse, meaning "Christ's Mass". Christmas is also called Nativity, Yule or Xmas. It is an annual commemoration (corocznym upamiętnieniem) of the birth of Jesus Christ generaly celebrated on  December 25th .  December 24th is Christmas Eve (Wigilia Bożego Narodzenia) and although in Poland it is probably one of the most important holidays, or evenings, in Anglo-Saxon countries it is of less importance (ma mniejszą wagę).

The pilgrims (pielgrzymi) who came to America in 1620 were very orthodox in their Puritan beliefs (purytańskie wierzenia), which meant not celebrating Christmas and therefore (zatem) it wasn't a holiday in early America. The Puritans made it illegal to mention (wspominać) St. Nicolas' name. People were not allowed to (nie było im wolno) exchange gifts (wymieniać się podarkami) or sing Christmas carols (kolędy bożonarodzeniowe). Between 1659 and 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed (zakazana) in Boston. If you had showed the Christmas spirit (duch świąt Bożego Narodzenia) then, you would definitely have been fined (ukarany grzywną) for it. By contrast, it was reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all in the Jamestown settlement (osada)

 In the 17th century Dutch immigrants brought with them the legend of Sinter Klaas and in 1773 Santa first appeared in the media as St. A Claus. It was also the Dutch who brought the custom (zwyczaj) of gift-giving to America.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favour (wypadły z łask), including (włączając) Christmas. Christmas wasn't declared a federal holiday until June 26th , 1870.

Americans began to embrace (przyjmować; zostawać zwolennikiem) Christmas only in the 19th century. The beginning of century witnessed (było świadkiem) a period of turmoil (zgiełk; wrzawa) and conflict. During the time, the unemployment (bezrobocie) was high and during Christmas people often protested and rioted (buntowali się). In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city's first police force (służby policyjne) in response to (w odpowiedzi na) a Christmas riot. This in turn (w zamian) motivated certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated. 

Washington Irving
In 1819, a best-selling author Washington Irving wrote "The Sketchbook of George Crayon", a series of stories about Christmas in an English manor house (rezydencja; dwór). The sketches (szkice) feature a squire (dziedzic; ziemianin) who invited the peasants (chłopi) into his home for Christmas. In contrast to what was happening in American society at that time, the two groups mingled (mieszać się) easily. Moreover, in "A History of New York" Irving included Saint Nicolas.  In Irving's mind, Christmas should be a peaceful (spokojne), warm-hearted (serdeczne) holiday bringing groups together across lines of social status. Many historians say that Irving's account (sprawozdanie) of Christmas celebrations actually invented tradition and customs.

Clement Clarke Moore's Santa

In 1822 dentist Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem which later became known as "The Night Before Christmas". He portrayed Santa as an elf with sleigh (sanie) equipped with (wyposażony w) eight reindeer (renifery): Blitzem, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donder, Prancer and Vixen.

In the times before the Civil War (wojna domowa) the North and the South were divided (podzielone) on the issue (kwestia) of Christmas, as well as on the issue of slavery (niewolnictwo). Many Northerners saw sin (grzech) in the celebration of Christmas. It was more appropriate for them to celebrate Thanksgiving (święto Dziękczynienia). In the South, on the other hand, Christmas was an important holiday. The first three states to make Christmas a legal holiday were in the South: Alabama in 1836, Louisiana and Arkansas in 1938. 

Our Popular Image of Santa was Created by Cartoonist Thomas Nast During the Civil War

Most people do not associate Santa Claus with war, but in fact the connection goes back to Santa’s very beginnings.. Nast’s first Santa illustrations, published in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly, featured Santa visiting dejected Union soldiers.-New York Historical Society

What's interesting Abraham Lincoln used the image of Santa with some Union soldiers (żołnierze Unii) to demoralize the Confederate army (armia konfederacka), which seems to be an early example of psychological warfare (wojna psychologiczna).

After the Civil War, Christmas traditions spread (rozprzestrzeniły się) across the country. Sunday schools encouraged (zachęcać) the celebration of Christmas. Women's magazines were also very important in suggesting ways to decorate for the holidays, as well as how to make these decorations.

By the last quarter (ćwierć) of the 19th century, America eagerly (chętnie) decorated trees, caroled (śpiewali kolędy), baked and shopped for the Christmas season. Since that time, materialism, media, advertising and mass marketing has made Christmas what it is today. Today's traditions have been invented by blending (łączyć; mieszać się) together customs from many different countries.

The famous image of Santa present in Coca-Cola ads (reklamy) was invented in 1931 by Haddon Sundblom. The company holds the trademark (znak handlowy) for this image and uses it in the ads to the present day.

Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer

In 1939 Robert L. May created a poem about Rudolph, the ninth reindeer which in 1949 became the protagonist (główny/tytułowy bohater) in one of the most popular Christmas songs ever made (the song was written by Johnny Marks,  I wrote about this song in the previous post).

Some popular Christmas symbols:

Christmas  Stockings

Christmas stockings are hung near the chimney on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill it with presents for children. The items that are believed to be left by Santa in stockings are called stocking stuffers. It is believed that a child who misbehaved during the year will not get a present in their stocking. 

Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. The ancient Celts believed mistletoe to have healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility and to ward off evil spirits.
Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, the goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe.

Holly, Ivy and Greenery

Holly, which was believed to have magical powers, was hung on the doors to drive evil away. Greenery, on the other hand, was brought indoors to freshen the air during the long winter time.


In 1828 a U.S. ambassador to Mexico Joel R. Poinsett brought the plant to America. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ. He gathered green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. When he left the leaves at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. 

The Candy Cane
Candy Cane

The Candy Cane remains a favourite holiday treat and decoration. It's roots go back to the times when Europeans began using Christmas trees and one of the things they used to decorate the trees with were, among others, candy canes. Candy canes have also been given to children as gifts for Christmas till the present day.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a large Christmas tree placed annually in Rockefeller Center in mid-town Manhattan in New York. The tree is erected and lit in late November or early December.

ABC News:  Barbara Walters sits down with President Obama and the First Lady.


3 komentarze:

  1. Hej Moniko:)
    Mam kilka rzeczy jeśli można:)
    ambassador to Mexico-> to jest po prostu ambasador Meksyku, tak? czyli nie mówi się ambassador in Mexico?

    Jeśli oczywiście można, to tylko chciałam Ci powiedzieć, że pod obrazkiem candy cane, masz napisane: candy candy, to nic ważnego, ale przy okazji piszę:)

    i na początku w zdaniu: .... which meant not celebrating Christmas and therefore, nie ma w therefore"e".

    Tak jak mówię, to nic ważnego, ale przy okazji czytania wyłapałam, a wiem z tego jak się przygotowujesz, że jesteś perfekcjonistką, to przy okazji wspominam:)

    Dzięki za super lekcję! :)

  2. Ambassador to Mexico jest ok, ale można też powiedzieć ambassador in Mexico z tego co wiem.
    Thanks for all the corrections, btw ;)

  3. Nie ma problemu, to ja Ci za wszystko dziękuję!:)


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