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Seasonal Trivia

A Hanukkah menorah has nine candles, one for each day the oil lasted after the ancient Temple was reclaimed and one to light the rest. The original menorah had only seven, symbolizing creation.

Production of stollen, a sweet holiday bread that originated centuries ago in Dresden, Germany, is still regulated by the Protection Association for Dresden Christostollen. Each loaf made in the city comes with an official seal.

The first electric Christmas tree lights, invented by Edward Johnson in 1882, consisted of a string of 80 red, white, and blue bulbs.

The pale wood of holly trees is very hard, polishes well, and has a fine grain. It is frequently dyed black and used as a substitute for ebony on piano keys.

According to Guinness World Records, the tallest snowman loomed 113 feet high and took the residents of Bethel, Maine, two weeks to build in 1999.

Wreaths evolved from diadems, which were worn as crowns by ancient Persian royalty and were later used to honor victors during the Olympic Games. It is believed that the winners would then hang the souvenirs on their doors.

Halley's Comet may have a circumstantial link to Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Records show that in 164 B.C.E., when the first celebration took place, the comet produced an unusually spectacular show.

According to one legend, a seventeenth-century German choirmaster created the first candy canes to quiet restless children during Christmas services.

Although most snowflakes form around dust stirred up from the surface of the earth, some have particles of disintegrated meteors at their core.

According to German folklore, the first strands of tinsel were spiderwebs, miraculously transformed.

Take our time-tested Christmas traditions quiz.

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Comments (1)

  • 9 Nov, 2008

    Dec. 2008 issue I read in the "Do You Know?" section that reindeer are the only deer species in which both sexes grow antlers. That is not correct. Caribou are also from the deer species. Both sexes of caribou grow antlers. I do not know if the males shed their antlers every fall or if adolescnets every spring, but from living in the beautiful state of Alaska for 18 years, I know both sexes of the caribou grow antlers.