Not given -
Bible never mentions a specific date for the Nativity.
- (Luke 2:1). Son of Julius Caesar, Augustus was originally known as Octavian,
the same Octavian who defeated Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC.
and Mary went to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar Augustus. Luke
All of the above
- Rahab was a prostitute, David & Uriah's wife were adulterers, Tamar &
Judah committed incest, and Ruth was from Moab. Matthew 1:3,5,6.
- Joseph wanted to dissolve their relationship. However, Joseph married Mary
immediately after the angel appeared to him. His obedience was quick, cheerful
and complete. Matthew 1:24.
The Bible does not say
- A donkey does not appear any where in the Biblical account. She probably
Pay their tax
- and enroll in the census. Because Joseph was of the
of David,” he had to report to Bethlehem, which was the “City of David” (Luke
2:3-4). It was Augustus (in question 2 above) who ordered the famous tax and
census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
Angel of the Lord
- Both Joseph and Mary were told that the baby was to be named "Jesus."
(Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31). In Judaism, babies were always named by their
father. Here we see God the Father (not Joseph) giving Jesus his name. By the
way, "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua," the successor of
Moses. (Joshua means "Yahweh saves").
they believed the angel. They were excited! They did not hesitate. They went
to see the baby right away, they spread the word, and they praised God for
what they had been permitted to see and hear. Luke 2:15-20. Shepherding was
not considered a very noble occupation. In fact, in first century B.C.,
shepherding was close to what we would consider garbage collecting. Shepherds
were unable to remain ritually pure according to Pharisaic laws and so were
considered unclean. Yet God chose them for His birth announcement!
9. C) A
baby in a manger
None of the above
An army of angels
- God sent an army of warrior angels. See Luke 2:13. "Company" and "host" are
E) Who knows?
– There is no innkeeper in the Biblical story. Lk 2:6-7
A) A feeding trough for livestock
– usually made of stone or wood.
the above – the Bible doesn’t indicate the presence of any animals.
Whenever babies usually cry
E) None of the above -
The wise men saw the star in the east (Matthew 2:2). But it did not take them
to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem they asked for directions. Once leaving Jerusalem
the star appeared again and led them to the house in Bethlehem (Matthew
D) None of the above
– The Bible only mentions “wise men,” but not kings
specifically. The wise men could have been diplomats, priests or astrologers
of Bethlehem. Also, Scripture does not tell us how many wise men came to visit
Jesus; traditions range from three to as many as 12. And there is no mention
of a little drummer boy in the Bible story.
When he was less than 2 years old
– Despite Nativity scenes that show the magi visiting Christ immediately after
His birth in the stable, they did not arrive on the night of Jesus' birth.
They arrived sometime after Jesus is born (Matthew 2:1), probably visiting
Him when He was anywhere from two months to two years old, in a house (Matthew
2:11). The wise men Jesus is called a child, rather than a baby (Matthew
2:11). He may have been as old as two (Matthew 2:7,16).
The wise men helped Herod determine when Jesus was born
– After seeing the Star, the wise men journeyed to Judea where they spoke with
left a different way, leaving Herod mocked. In hopes of eliminating this
“rival king” the wise men were visiting, Herod ordered the killing of all male
children under two years old because that was the time since the birth of
Jesus (Matthew 2:1-16).
B) Both are oil-based incenses
– derived from trees native to the Middle East and Africa, frankincense was
used as a medicine and for fumigation, while myrrh was used for embalming.
Both had high market value during ancient times, and were a common barter
currency. Mary and Joseph, in fact, probably sold these gifts to finance their
flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents (Matthew
is the Latin plural of “magus,” which means “magician.” However, in Greek, the
word also means “wise men,” and was applied to men of high status and learning
in the ancient world, such as priests.
E) None of the above
names of the wise men, with their places of origin, their stations in life,
and even their number, come from legend and story, not from strictly religious
tradition. However, according to Orthodox tradition, they were Gaspar,
Melchior and Balthasar, and they were baptized by the Apostle Thomas, who
founded a ministry in the Far East after the Resurrection. They are also
saints in the Orthodox Church.
A) It didn’t shine constantly –
normal star (Matthew 2:2, 10). To ancient astronomers, such an anomaly would
have been interpreted as a divine sign.
D) All of the above –
astronomers believe it could have been a comet, supernova, a planetary
alignment, or atmospheric phenomenon. However, evidence for any single
explanation is inconclusive.
D) 6 or 5 B.C. -
usually calculated from the date of King Herod’s
the spring of 4 B.C.
C) Birthdays were rarely celebrated
– Birthdays, even those of famous and important people, were almost never
celebrated during the time of Christ.
C) 700 years
Sticking their heads up the chimney and shouting out their desires
Burn either salt or an old shoe
– The pungent burning stench drives off, or at least helps discourage, the
Kallikantzaroi. Other techniques include hanging a pig's jawbone by the door
and keeping a large fire so they can't sneak down the chimney.
31. A) A
band of thirteen gift-giving goblins –
From December 12 until Christmas Eve, the yule lads come down one at a time
from the mountains. Each has a personal trick, such as stealing milk or
slamming doors. They often leave presents for good children, and sometimes a
potato for the bad ones. In olden times, the yule lads - who were themselves
the children of monsters - had a much darker nature. They were so feared that
in 1746 a law was passed to prevent them being used to frighten children.
Were supplied with boots made of sacking or leather –
mud of the road. Boots were not used for geese: instead, their feet were
protected with a covering of tar.
The flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter
– In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in
their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to
34. B) A
brew of hot ale with roast apples floating in it –
"Lambswool" was the drink that filled the wassail bowl. Sugar, eggs and spices
were added to the ale, and toast floated on top with the apples. Poor people
would bring their mugs to the door hoping for a share of the steaming drink.
Flames of burning brandy –
When the room is dark, a bowl of raisins soaked in brandy is lit. Who will be
brave enough to claim the prize from the fierce dragon flames?
36. D) A
method of saving to buy a goose for Christmas –
Goose clubs were popular with working-class Londoners, who paid a few pence a
week towards the cost of a Christmas goose. The week before Christmas, London
meat markets were crammed with geese and turkeys, many imported from Germany
- There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukrainian folk tale, that she could
not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she
awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children's tree with their webs.
When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold. An
artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian
– Scandinavian Christmas festivities feature a variety of straw decorations in
the form of stars, angels, hearts and other shapes, as well as the Julbukk.
Carrying a wren door to door, to collect money for charity
– One explanation for this St. Stephen's day custom refers to a legend in
which the saint was given away by a chattering wren while hiding from his
enemies. Children cage the wren to help it do penance for this misdeed. Often
the children carry a long pole with a holly bush at the top - which is
supposed to hide a captured wren. An artificial wren may also be used.
A) Eat it
- Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is thought
to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It has its origins in a
Celtic legend of the harvest god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all
the good things of the Earth.
41. C) A
- A ring means you will get married; while a thimble predicts spinsterhood.
The idea of hiding something in the pudding comes from the tradition in the
Middle Ages of hiding a bean in a cake that was served on Twelfth Night.
Whoever found the bean became "king" for the rest of the night.
C) In the 4th Century -
Christmas became a Federal holiday in the U.S. when
President Ulysses S. Grant declared it a legal holiday in 1870. Louisiana and
Arkansas were the first states to make Christmas an official holiday, in 1831.
- In ancient Scandinavia, mistletoe was associated with peace and friendship.
That may account for the custom of "kissing beneath the mistletoe".
Evergreens such as holly, pine and mistletoe are common elements in Christmas
decor. But the one evergreen plant that is traditionally
Christmas decorations is Ivy, which many still consider to be bad luck when
C) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer –
wrote the lyrics as copy for a book, of which Montgomery Ward department store
chain gave away 2.4 million copies. In 1947 the lyrics were set to music, and
recorded by Gene Autrey.
– The company used Santa Claus to promote the idea that a soft drink was a
winter beverage as well as a summer beverage. In 1931, Coca-Cola began a
tradition of featuring Santa in their packaging and advertising at Christmas
B) Candy Cane -
canes are generally considered to be modeled after shepherds’ crooks, and the
first record of them dates back to Eighteenth Century France, where they were
given to children to keep them quiet during church services. Folklorists
disagree on the significance of the red and white striping; some say that it’s
symbolic of Jesus’ blood (red) and purity (white), but others claim there’s no
meaning to the colors at all.
practice of brining evergreen trees indoors and decorating them for winter
festivals predates Christianity in Northern Europe. Franklin Pierce
(President from 1853 to 1857) was the first to have a Christmas tree in the
White House. Theodore Roosevelt (President from 1901 to 1909). Legend has it
that the Roosevelt children had a secret tree, which they hid in the closet
when their father was nearby.
B) To compete with a pagan celebration
- The choice of Dec. 25 was made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD to
coincide with Roman winter festivals, notably those of the pagan gods Mithra
and Saturn. Christmas is originally the Pagan Sun Festival which was
celebrated on December 25, later, the birthdate of Jesus was changed from
March 1, to December 25 to coincide with and then eventually replace the Pagan
D) The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted
– The early church viewed mistletoe as pagan. To Christians, the berries are
symbolic of Christ’s blood, and the thorny leaves suggest the thorns in His
D) The early church banned mistletoe, so holly was substituted
Dr Joel Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico, brought the plant back in
1828. Mexicans had long revered poinsettia because it resembled the Star of
Bethlehem. By the way, the flower portion of the plant are the small yellow
blossoms. The large red or white ‘flowers’ are actually leaves.
C) Martin Luther
- In the 16th century. Supposedly awed at the brilliance of stars shining
through evergreen branches, Luther attempted to replicate the vision for his
family by placing candles on his Christmas tree. In 1895, Ralph E. Morris
contributed to our Christmas heritage with the invention of electric Christmas
lights. In addition to literally making the season brighter, Morris’ lights
made it safer, as they were an alternative to candles and open flames.
C) Massachusetts -
England Puritans forbade Christmas celebrations. They considered Christmas
trees and decorations to be pagan, and outlawed
Massachusetts until 1859.
– The silvery strands (once made from metal foil but now made from Mylar) are
often placed on Christmas trees to simulate icicles. But some German and
Ukranian traditions tell the tale of a poor old woman who had nothing to put
on her Christmas tree but spider webs; on Christmas morning those webs were
turned to silver strands. In another telling, spiders wanted to give the
Christ Child a gift at the Nativity. He thus gave them the power to weave webs
of silver on Christmas Eve.
The X represents the Greek word for Christ –
The X in
Xmas stands for the Greek letter “chi”, which looks like an “X” Since the
name of Christ( “Xristos”) begins with chi (x), Christmas became abbreviated
in Europe around the 16th century as "Xmas." Despite popular belief, it is not
an attempt to remove Christ’s name from Christmas. Unfortunately, in today's
culture X often stand for the unknown or something that has been X'ed out.
And, more unfortunately, Christ has indeed been X'ed out of many Christmas
C) To protect the household from harm during the coming year –
Europe, burning of the yule log was an important ritual that, if done
protected the household from harm during the coming year. Among other parts of
the ritual, the log had to be found or received as a gift (never purchased),
and lit on the first try.
Santa & Friends
E) All of the above
– Nicholas, a fourth century bishop in Asia Minor, was known for his
generosity toward children and the poor. He suffered persecution until the
Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity in 312 AD. After that,
Nicholas became a high Church official. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of
sailors, because he supposedly once saved ships by miraculously quelling a
also the patron saint of children (surprise!), as well as the national patron
saint of Russia and Greece. Early Dutch settlers in America called St.
Nicholas “Sinterklass”. Later, English settlers adopted the name but changed
the pronunciation slightly. A 19th Century European folk legend told of “Christkindlein”,
or the Christ child, who brought gifts to good children on Christmas Eve with
the aid of an elf (sometimes called Pelznickel or Belsnickle). Eventually,
this legend was combined with that of St. Nicholas, and in America, the
pronunciation became “Kriss Kringle”.
A) A donkey
B) Stockings expand and can hold lots of goodies –
practice of hanging stockings evolved from the Dutch practice of filling
children’s wooden shoes with treats on Christmas Eve. Stockings were later
substituted because they could expand and hold more goodies.
F) All of the above
C) C) He wrote “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” –
Civil War correspondent Francis P. Church wrote the famous “Yes, Virginia,
There Is a Santa Claus” response to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter
to the New York Sun asking if Santa were real. Church, a long-time
editorialist for the Sun, was well-known for taking on controversial topics.
His “Virginia” editorial became instantly famous, and the Sun reprinted it
annually until it closed in 1949. Today, many newspapers carry on that
tradition. Virginia O’Hanlon, by the way, went on to earn a masters degree and
become a school principal.
- A klaxon is actually a powerful electric horn. Its name comes from a German
word meaning "shriek".
Books, Movies & TV
63. B) A
blue diamond found in a goose
– In "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" Holmes manages to recover the jewel
but, in the spirit of the Christmas season, allows the repentant thief to go
free - on the condition that he leave England for ever.
B) J.R.R. Tolkien
– The Father Christmas Letters
consists of letters written to the Tolkien children by Father Christmas. It
was published in 1976. The illustrated letters describe adventures and events
at the North Pole.
Charles Dickens –
A Christmas Carol tells the story of one harrowing Christmas Eve in the
life of a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge. The book was an instant hit, and
Dickens wrote a new Christmas story each year from then on.
– the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, as well as the ghost of
67. C) A
hot spiced drink –
Mulled wines were popular festive drinks in 19th-century London. They were
undoubtedly much safer to drink than the untreated water. To make Smoking
Bishop, take 6 bitter oranges and stick them with 6 cloves each. Put them in a
bowl, cover with (cheap) red wine, and set in a warm place for a day. Squeeze
the oranges into the wine and strain. Add port. Heat, and serve with a
– Moore never intended for the poem to be published, and it appeared in print
only after a family friend sent it to a magazine in 1822. A religious scholar,
Moore was embarrassed by the poem and for years actually denied having written
it. In fact, some scholars believe that Moore may not have been the author.
By the way, “The Night Before Christmas” is not the proper title for this
official title is “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”. However, most
know it by the vernacular title.
Popeye's Christmas Carol –
The Internet Movie Database lists hundreds of movies with "Christmas" in the
title. Amongst those you may not yet have seen: A Messy Christmas
(1921), An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998), Goat Christmas
(1997) and The Bad Man's Christmas Gift (1910).
C) A Christmas Story
– in 1983
B) The Bible was read on national TV
– After achieving the first manned lunar orbit, the crew of Apollo 8
celebrated Christmas Eve by reading from the first chapter of the Book of
Genesis. The event was broadcast around the world.
B) Tony the Tiger
– of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes fame. Ravenscroft has had a long and varied
career in film, television and music.
Songs & Carols
"Shepherds in the fields abiding"
- The other suggested lines come from (a) Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,
(c) Angels We Have Heard On High and (d) Deck the Halls. The
words to Angels from the Realms of Glory were written by Scottish
journalist and poet James Montgomery (1771-1854). Montgomery was a supporter
of parliamentary reform and a prolific writer. About 100 of his hymns are
still in use.
Handel (1685-1759) seems to have been a kind and generous man. The Messiah
was written to aid charities in Ireland. It was a success there from its
original performance, though it was not immediately popular in England.
Handel's favorite charity in London was the Foundling Hospital. He conducted
performances of The Messiah there until 1754.
The King of the Mice
– The King of the Mice, usually represented with seven heads, leads his troops
against the nutcracker's toy soldiers. He loses the battle when Clara, the
heroine, stuns him with a shoe.
A) “Silver Bells”
– “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was sung by Judy Garland in the
film version of “Meet Me in St. Louis”. “White Christmas” debuted in the 1942
film Holiday Inn (and was almost cut out of the final version!). The
melody of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” was originally intended to honor
Johann Gutenberg and his invention of printing.
C) None of them mentions Christmas -
Bells”, in fact, was originally composed in 1857 for a children’s Thanksgiving
program at a Boston church. The song, originally titled “Dashing Through the
Snow”, proved so popular that it was repeated at Christmas... and the rest is
A) A true Christmas carol has to have a religious theme.
B) To decorate the house
- with all sorts of greenery (not just “boughs of holly”). Traditionally, to
“deck the halls” before Christmas Eve is considered bad luck.
D) Toasting one’s crops and livestock to ensure prosperity for the coming year
– Often, wassailing parties were held in the barn, and farm animals were
sometimes given treats.
C) The twelve days between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan.
– Traditionally, this period represents the time it took for the wise men to
travel to see the Baby Jesus.
Twelve Days of Christmas
A) Who knows?
– Some claim that the gift items have religious meaning and that the song was
written as a teaching aid. But most scholars believe it originated as a parlor
game in which a leader recited a verse, and the others had to add on verses
until someone made a mistake. Whatever significance the gifts had is now lost.
The song is believed to have originated in France, but the first published
version appeared in England around 1780.
C) Duke of Bohemia –
song, written in 1853 by John Mason Neale, celebrates the life of Wenceslas, a
10th century Duke of Bohemia (not a king) who was famous for his
generosity and moral character. The “Feast of Stephen” refers to St. Stephen’s
Day, Dec. 26. Technically, the song has nothing to do with Christmas, but is
sung during the holiday season because of its theme and winter imagery.
84. D) “Silent Night”
– What is arguably the most famous of all Christmas carols began life as a
poem by Father Joseph Mohr, an Austrian priest. His colleague Franz Gruber set
it to guitar music in 1818, and it made its debut that year at a Christmas Eve
mass in Oberndorf, Austria. Exactly why Gruber chose guitar accompaniment is
unknown, but he was known to have had a fondness for the instrument.