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Quiz: Holiday Traditions Fun Facts

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Who invented electric Christmas lights?

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Who invented electric Christmas lights?

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Thomas Edison not only invented the electric lightbulb, he also created the first strand of electric lights. He hung them outside his New Jersey lab during Christmas season in 1880.

 

Lights for Christmas trees weren’t sold to the public until 1917.

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How many people know the carol "Silent Night"?

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How many people know the carol "Silent Night"?

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Of the roughly 7 billion people on Earth about 3 billion are familiar with "Silent Night." The carol was first heard on Christmas Eve 1818, in Oberndorf, Austria, and was written by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber. It has been translated into more than 300 languages.

What is the ninth candle in the Hanukkah Menorah for?

What is the ninth candle in the Hanukkah Menorah for?

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The ninth candle is the "shamash," which is used to light the other candles. Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday marking the defeat of an army that had invaded Israel. After the victory, the Jews celebrated at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

 

They found enough oil to light the lamp for only one day. But the oil lasted eight days and nights, and it's celebrated as a miracle.

What was the very first balloon character in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade?

What was the very first balloon character in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade?

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Felix the Cat led the way for huge, colorful balloons in the 1927 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The organizers didn't have a plan to deflate him, so when the parade was over, they let him fly off into the sky and pop.

Who flies through the air and fills children's stockings with candy and presents?

Who flies through the air and fills children's stockings with candy and presents?

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American children know Santa, but Italian children wait for La Befana, the good witch who rides a broomstick the night of January 5. The children wake up on January 6 -- the Feast of the Epiphany -- to find toys, candy, and fruit that she left

 

Some families in Hispanic communities in the U.S. practice traditions brought from Latin American countries. Children place hay and water under their beds the night of January 5, for the camels of the Three Kings, and wake up to find presents.

 

A popular dessert is the Rosca de Reyes, a wreath-shaped sweet bread with a small plastic baby Jesus hidden inside. If you get the piece with the baby in it, tradition says you must host a party on Feb. 2 for Candlemas

British people wear paper crowns at Christmas events because of…

British people wear paper crowns at Christmas events because of…

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Christmas crackers -- pretty paper tubes that you pull apart -- are a British tradition. The tubes pop open with a bang when pulled. Inside, there’s a small gift like a mirror and a joke written on a piece of paper. There’s also a paper crown, a nod to the Lord of Misrule, an old custom that put a peasant in charge of village Christmas events. Brits wear the crown and read the joke out loud.

What does "Auld Lang Syne" mean?

What does "Auld Lang Syne" mean?

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This well-known New Year’s Eve tune is from a poem by Robert Burns, based on a Scottish folk song. "Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne." It’s a tribute to days gone by.

 

The words are in the Scots language, which today is spoken in the Lowlands and Northern Isles of Scotland.

Why do Southerners eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Year's Day?

Why do Southerners eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Year's Day?

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The black-eyed peas stand for coins. The greens or collards stand for paper money. Eating these dishes is supposed to bring good luck and wealth in the coming year.

 

Cultures around the world celebrate the New Year with foods meant to bring prosperity: fish in China, lentils in Italy, and gold-colored food in Peru. (The tint often comes from the spice turmeric.)

Who first used live people in a nativity scene?

Who first used live people in a nativity scene?

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St. Francis of Assisi -- widely known today for his love of animals -- created the first live nativity scene, in 1223 in the Italian village of Greccio. He recreated the scene of Christ's birth with people playing Mary and Joseph and animals from the village as the creatures in the stable.

How much does the New Year’s Eve Ball in Times Square weigh?

How much does the New Year’s Eve Ball in Times Square weigh?

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It’s also covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles. Americans began dropping a giant ball at New Year’s Eve in 1907. The first was a 700-pound iron-and-wood beauty lowered from a flagpole atop One Times Square.

Candied lotus seeds are a popular Chinese New Year’s treat. They are said to bring:

Candied lotus seeds are a popular Chinese New Year’s treat. They are said to bring:

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In China, lotus seeds symbolize male children. Eating the sweetened seeds is supposed to bring boy babies into your family.

Poinsettias get their name from…

Poinsettias get their name from…

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The poinsettia is native to Mexico, where it's used to decorate churches at Christmas. It gets its name from American diplomat Joel Poinsett, who introduced the flower to the U.S. in the 1800s. The red and white parts of the poinsettia -- which some people think are petals -- are actually colored leaves called bracts.

What happens to the live turkey given to the president at Thanksgiving?

What happens to the live turkey given to the president at Thanksgiving?

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Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has given the president of the United States a live turkey and two dressed turkeys for Thanksgiving. The live bird then goes to Mount Vernon, the historic home of President George Washington, to live out the rest of its days.

What are the official colors of Kwanzaa?

What are the official colors of Kwanzaa?

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Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 to strengthen the bonds among people of African heritage around the world. Black represents skin color, red remembers struggles, and green is hope for the future. The world "Kwanzaa" comes from "matunda ya kwanza" which means first fruits in the African language Swahili.

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