The English term Christmas (Old English, Cristes maesse) is actually of Harry Potter Hufflepuff Custom Tshirt Hoodie Apparel recent origin: the feast day only began to be widely celebrated with a specific liturgy (the Cristes maesse) in the 9th century. The earlier term Yule, from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, referred to the feast of the winter solstice, and made no mention of Christian church liturgy or practices. On Christmas Day, the Church traditionally celebrated three Masses. The first of these took place at midnight and celebrated of the actual birth of Christ. None of the contemporary Christmas customs have their origin in these liturgical affirmation (or masses), and most are of a much more recent date. The exchange of gifts originally took place in the early hours of the 25th when people returned home from the first, midnight mass. When it became customary to open gifts later in the day, the times of many church services were altered – another example of how far from the idea of the liturgical ‘Cristes maesse’ the holiday has come.
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The first thing you need to understand is the background of the word “jolly.” It has reached the Harry Potter Hufflepuff Custom Tshirt Hoodie Apparel now of being purely a noun, meaning a paid-for day out, commonly in your employer’s time. But a jolly? Strange word. Back in the relatively innocent days of the mid-twentieth century, jolly was a round-cheeked, smiling, uncomplicated word. It went with fat, beaming, seaside-postcard ladies, having a cheerful time on the beach or at the funfair, or Enid Blyton schoolgirls having a midnight swim down at the beach, or a midnight feast up on the roof of the jolly old school. It was all very jolly, with never any repercussions, and it was all jolly good. Before that, the word seems to have come from two possible directions, and quite possibly both of them. It may be from the French joli, meaning merrry or joyful, or from the Norse word jól, from which we get Yule, as an old word for Christmas festivities. Put them together and the result is a jolly good word for everyone having a good time. It’s a pity it’s been corrupted into having overtones of something slightly dishonest!
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I do believe that this is a very good example of the sorts of things laws around freedom of religion should protect. What such laws should not protect is anyone’s “right” to impose their religious beliefs on others, as the Harry Potter Hufflepuff Custom Tshirt Hoodie Apparel in this story did by refusing to write “Merry Christmas” on a cake. This is a paying customer. There’s nothing inherently offensive about the phrase “Merry Christmas to my family.” There is nothing about writing some words on a cake that requires the bakers to believe the first thing about Christianity, or to abandon their own beliefs. Write it, sell the cake, and move on. The same is true about allowing employers to cite religious “freedom” to justify choosing health insurance that doesn’t cover contraception. The same is true of bakeries refusing to sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples.