The changing traditions

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Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. And passing ornate pieces of lit fruit wrapped in ribbons and foil. Dangerous stuff.

It’s approaching that time of year when traditions rear their ugly heads. Carols. Mince pies. Mistletoe. I’d wager in the era of commercialism we live that few people know what they stand for any more.

One such tradition is the giving and receiving of a Christingle; a lighted candle stuffed in an orange. I don’t know where it came from, but I recalled the various elements of this curious traditional item to my wife, checking what each part represented (I’m not the sharpest religious tool in the congregation):

“So the orange is the world, the candle is Jesus — the light of the world — the cocktail sticks represent the four seasons, and the sweets on the end are the fruits of the earth. And the red ribbon wrapped around the circumference is the blood of Christ, right?”

“Yes,” she confirmed.

“So what does the foil under the candle represent?”

Quick as a flash she replied, “Health and safety.”

Brilliant! And, sadly very true that in this age of litigiousness and lack of common sense, even traditions reaching back as for as the 1700s have to be altered to cater for the stupid.

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