The history behind holiday traditions

Enough with the fruitcake, already.

As we have heard throughout time, the United States is a melting pot of ideas, language and culture. With that in mind, it stands to reason that the traditions surrounding the holidays here in the states would share an equally diverse background.

With the end of the year hurtling towards us at breakneck speed, we take a moment to examine where some of those traditions originated. Do you have a favorite tradition that this article didn’t get to? Let us know when you sign up for a free trial!

Certainly you know Nat King Cole’s famous song “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” but what are chestnuts and why don’t we have many here in the US? Well, that all comes from chestnut blight which was introduced in 1904 and nearly wiped out all of the chestnut trees in America.

In 2006, a stand of chestnut trees was discovered near Albany, Ga and since then, Penn State, University of Georgia and the US Forestry Services are working together to re-establish a hybrid chestnut tree able to withstand the parasite. For now, most of our chestnuts come from Italy.

I had never thought about it myself but for years I have received a pomegranate in my stocking. I didn’t know why and I didn’t ask. Believe it or not, it has a tradition behind it!

Originally an orange, oranges were used as substitutes for bags of gold left by the fabled St. Nick. In North America, the transcontinental railroad made it so California and Florida citrus were able to be distributed in a timely manner for the first time in our country’s history.

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