Showing posts with label Paul Ringel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Ringel. Show all posts

"In his book The Battle for Christmas , the historian Stephen Nissenbaum presents the 19th-century reinvention of the holiday as a triumph of New York’s elites over the city’s emerging working classes. New York’s population grew nearly tenfold between 1800 and 1850, and during that time elites became increasingly frightened of traditional December rituals of “social inversion,” in which poorer people could demand food and drink from the wealthy and celebrate in the streets, abandoning established social constraints much like on Halloween night or New Year’s Eve. These rituals, which occurred any time between St. Nicholas Day (a Catholic feast day observed in Europe on December 6th) and New Year’s Day, had for centuries been a means of relieving European peasants’ (or American slaves’) discontent during the traditional downtime of the agricultural cycle. In a newly congested urban environment, though, aristocrats worried that such celebrations might become vehicles for protest when employers refused to give workers time off during the holidays or when a long winter of unemployment loomed for seasonal laborers. In response to these concerns, a group of wealthy men who called themselves the Knickerbockers invented a new series of traditions for this time of year that gradually moved Christmas celebrations out of the city’s streets and into its homes. They presented these traditions as a reinvigoration of Dutch customs practiced in New Amsterdam and New York during the colonial period, although Nissenbaum and other scholars have established that these supposed antecedents largely did not exist in North America. Drawing from two story collections by Washington Irving, their most well-known member, these New Yorkers experimented with domestic festivities on St. Nicholas Day and New Year’s Day until another member of the group, Clement Clark Moore, solidified the tradition of celebrating on Christmas with his enormously popular poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (better known as “The Night Before Christmas”) in 1822." - Paul Ringel

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"In his book The Battle for Christmas , the historian Stephen Nissenbaum presents the 19th-century reinvention of the holiday as a triumph of New York’s elites over the city’s emerging working classes. New York’s population grew nearly tenfold between 1800 and 1850, and during that time elites became increasingly frightened of traditional December rituals of “social inversion,” in which poorer people could demand food and drink from the wealthy and celebrate in the streets, abandoning established social constraints much like on Halloween night or New Year’s Eve. These rituals, which occurred any time between St. Nicholas Day (a Catholic feast day observed in Europe on December 6th) and New Year’s Day, had for centuries been a means of relieving European peasants’ (or American slaves’) discontent during the traditional downtime of the agricultural cycle. In a newly congested urban environment, though, aristocrats worried that such celebrations might become vehicles for protest when employers refused to give workers time off during the holidays or when a long winter of unemployment loomed for seasonal laborers.

In response to these concerns, a group of wealthy men who called themselves the Knickerbockers invented a new series of traditions for this time of year that gradually moved Christmas celebrations out of the city’s streets and into its homes. They presented these traditions as a reinvigoration of Dutch customs practiced in New Amsterdam and New York during the colonial period, although Nissenbaum and other scholars have established that these supposed antecedents largely did not exist in North America. Drawing from two story collections by Washington Irving, their most well-known member, these New Yorkers experimented with domestic festivities on St. Nicholas Day and New Year’s Day until another member of the group, Clement Clark Moore, solidified the tradition of celebrating on Christmas with his enormously popular poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (better known as “The Night Before Christmas”) in 1822." - Paul Ringel
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