As the old winter festivities became repressed they turned more bitter and vehement. Christmas carolers, or wassailers, asserted their right to seasonal largess with the threat of violence. A Scottish wassailing song contains such lines as
We’ve come here to claim our right …
And if you don’t open up your door,
We’ll lay it flat upon the floor …
God bless the mistress and her man,
Dish and table, pot and pan:
Here’s to the one with yellow hair,
She’s hiding underneath the stair:
Be you maids or be you none,
Although our time may not be long,
You’ll all be kissed ere we go home.
Young men from the fringes of society formed bands who went from house to house demanding gifts of food and drink. One wassailing song asserted the petitioners’ right to sample the lord’s best goods and not just ordinary stock:
Come, butler, draw us a bowl of the best
Then we hope your soul in heaven shall rest
But if you draw us a bowl of the small
Then down will come butler, bowl, and all
If the petitioners were not let in, they would sometimes enter homes by force. On Christmas night of 1679 one landholder near Salem refused to grant the demands of such a gang of young men. His case is known through the court record it has left; it is retold in Stephen Nissenbaum’s excellent “The Battle for Christmas.” After his refusal, he testified, “they threw stones, bones, and other things … They continued to throw stones for an hour and a half with little intermission. They also broke down about a pole and a half of fence, being stone wall, and a cellar, without the house, distant about four or five rods, was broken open through the door, and five or six pecks of apples were stolen.”
The colonists succeeded, with difficulty, in suppressing Christmas for a time, but immigrants to North America from other parts of Europe (such as Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia) continued to bring their various seasonal traditions with them. With a more diverse populace, by the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was on the way to revival. It emerged from its years of suppression in a new form. Since each group observed the holiday in its own way, it no longer took the form of a rowdy public festival, gradually becoming transformed into a quieter domestic observance.
The idea started with some colleagues about a year ago. But then Sascha Mehlhase decided to start over and make a 3D model all by himself.
»During the construction I had some help from students and mostly my wife sorting pieces and assembling small bits. But I guess I spent about 27 hours myself«, he says.
The model is made of 9,500 lego bricks and is about 1:50 in scale. There is no construction manual yet, but there will soon be one, he says on his website. The model is very intricate, even showing the innermost pixel detector.
Additionally it encourages (although in the scheme of things it isn't a huge amount of money) a shift away from coal. In the short term this means natual gas which isn't great, but it is much better than coal for many reasons.
Why the Republicans fight this sort of thing is beyond me. They would be pushing buggies and buggies over cars in the early 1900s...
Sometimes it is fun to spend an hour or so in the imagination away from reality. Places with gods, ghosts and other figments of the imagination of man. I sometimes listen to PodCastle (also EscapePod) for some good story telling when I'm exercising and this week's show was delightful
Lethal stuff, but a part of the season. I strongly recommend the stuff from Ronnybrook Dairy. It is only distributed in parts of the Northeast (Kings in central NJ has it), but is *easily* the best we've ever had.