Posted by Goody Sandy on December 19, 1999 at 14:01:01:
When Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol," employers like Ebenezer Scrooge were the norm and not an exception to the rule.
In 1645, Oliver Cromwell and his Roundheads established a conservative religious rule In England and banned Father Christmas, carols, wreaths and gifts. Christmas was declared to be an ordinary day and anyone celebrating would be prosecuted.
In 1660, Charles II and the Royals returned to power and Christmas was once again in favor. But the 15-year ban on celebrating the holiday had long-term effects. Employers enforced their own regulations and continued to treat Christmas as a working day.
By the early 1830's, Christmas in England was celebrated by some in church, by some in their homes, and not all by many. Dickens loved Christmas and deplored England's uneven celebration of December 25.
One episode of "The Pickwick Papers" included a character who recounted a folk tale about Gabriel Grub, a nasty, friendless man who spends Christmas eve digging a grave and chastising anyone trying to celebrate the holiday. Alone in the churchyard at midnight, Grub is confronted by goblins who drag him underground and force him to watch visions of families who find joy in life, even through their own lots are hard. Grub repents his evil ways and becomes a happier and kinder man.
In 1843, Dickens reprised this story and named his protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge who humbugged anyone foolish enough to celebrate Christmas. Published on December 19, "A Christmas Carol" was a smashing success.
I hope that everyone has a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year.
(Source: "'Christmas Carol' rooted in love for holiday" by Jeff Quinn, Fort Worth Star-Telegram re-printed in The Patriot Ledger)
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