Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact(s) # 11 & # 12

Christmas Countdown Fact #11: History of Christmas Reindeer is associated with Santa Claus riding on it from the far off north to present gifts to children on the Christmas day. Santa has eight reindeers that magically pull his sleigh through the sky. They are named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder (thunder in Dutch) and Blitzen (lightning in German).

Reindeers were ancient domestic animals that came into being several thousands years ago. Rock paintings as well as carpentries were made from parts of this animal. Reindeer is the beloved symbol of Christmas.

History of Christmas Reindeer carries with it numerous legendary interpretations. The mythical stories of the Norse narrate the tale of Thor, the god of Thunder who flew through the stormy sky in chariots drawn by magical goats termed Gnasher and Cracker. Goat was also a popular Christmas symbol in Sweden during the 18th c. It was the bearer of Santa Claus. In Finland the traditional gift bringer during Christmas was Joulupukki or the Yule buck.

The names of the reindeers appeared from a Christmas rhyme ‘Twas the night before Christmas written by Major Henry Livingstone Junior in 1807. It was entitled as Account of a visit from St. Nicholas. The renowned educationist Clement Clark Moore made many alterations to it.

Robert L May wrote the story of Rudolf the red- nosed Reindeer May in 1939 in a booklet for the Montgomery Ward department stores. The Rudolph story reached its heights later when May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, developed the lyrics and melody for the song. The song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949, and sold two million copies in the first year, going on to become one of the best-selling songs of all time.

Christmas Countdown Fact # 12: White Christmas Song History offers historical details about the Russian song White Christmas penned down by Irving Berlin in early 1940. Bing Crosby first performed it in his popular radio show, The Kraft Music Hall in 1941. He re-recorded the song with John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby singers for Decca Records on 1942. The song gained popularity within a fortnight.

Again Bing Crosby introduced the song in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. In the film, he sings it in a duet with Marjorie Reynolds.The song earned the honor of Academy Awards.

The lyrics of the song reminsce about White Christmases. A White Christmas refers to the snowy weather on Christmas day in the Northern Hemisphere.

Berlin, a Russian-Jewish immigrant struggled a lot to compose the Christmas song as he had little experience of the Holiday. The theme is lighthearted evoking fun. It speaks about Los Angelas who amidst orange and palm trees celebrate Christmas gayfully. Berlin later dropped the verse but kept the now-famous chorus.

White Christmas, a song of peace and yearning for "the ones we used to know," was released to a war-torn public during the darkest days of World War II. By the end of the War it had become the biggest-selling single of all time. The success of the song led eventually to a movie based on the song. The movie White Christmas was released in 1954 and became the leading box-office draw of the year.

Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. The song remains as the best-selling Christmas single of all time.

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