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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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The Reinvention of Christmas

The Reinvention of Christmas

Chapter:
(p.112) 10 The Reinvention of Christmas
Source:
The Stations of the Sun
Author(s):

Ronald Hutton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.003.0010

The Christmas season is the most important complex of festivals in the modern year in Britain and contains by far the largest number of customary practices. There has been a flowering of books and essays devoted to the ‘making’ or the ‘construction’ of the modern Christmas. The object of this chapter upon the season is to pool the findings of this research, with a few additional reflections. A tone of elegy was, indeed, predominant among the writers contemplating Christmas in the first four decades of the nineteenth century. In part this was the product of the illusion of nostalgia. They turned instinctively to traditional festivities as relics of a time of greater order, deference, and harmony, an impulse even more pronounced in the case of May games. On the other hand, the perception of decline was firmly anchored in reality.

Keywords:   Christmas, festivals, Britain, elegy, illusion, nostalgia, relics

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