Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

Nollaig Shona Duit - or Merry Christmas. The shopping is done, my place is cleaned, the presents are wrapped and it's time for me to settle down for my long winters nap. Who am I kidding. It's Christmas Eve in Ireland. We still have to make some cookies and egg nogg.

Later tonight my room mate is going to have a Christmas party at our place with some of his friends. My man and I are going to stay for a little bit and then head to his place with my cats to spend a quiet, romantic Christmas Eve. After dark we will place a lighted candle in the window (an Irish tradition) and his table will be filled with all kinds of breads, cheeses, puddings, meats, wines, soda, and goodies for those who stop by to visit.

He has never seen the Golden Girls, so after things settle down for the night, I have a couple videos of them to watch on Christmas Eve while we drink some Egg Nogg and wait for Santa to come.

May everyone have a Happy Holiday season.

A Guinness Christmas

Silent Night In Gaelic - Enya in Dublin

The origin of the Christmas carol we know as Silent Night was a poem that was written in 1816 by an Austrian priest called Joseph Mohr. On Christmas Eve in 1818 in the small alpine village called Oberndorf it is reputed that the organ at St. Nicholas Church had broken. Joseph Mohr gave the poem of Silent Night (Stille Nacht) to his friend Franz Xavier Gruber and the melody for Silent Night was composed with this in mind. The music to Silent Night was therefore intended for a guitar and the simple score was finished in time for Midnight Mass. Silent Night is the most famous Christmas carol of all time!

Joyeux Noel- Merry Christmas

Ninety-Three years ago on Christmas Eve along the Western Front during World War One (The Great War), enemy trenches were just a few yards apart, divided by "no man's land. When night fell, the various troops took up singing their favorite carols and ballads, in French, English and German. At first, it was a competition as they tired to drown one another out. But their efforts soon led to applauding each other.

On Christmas Day, the soldiers began a truce. The men met in no man's land and exchanged gifts of tobacco, rum and chocolate. Some even showed off photographs of their family. Some of them played soccer while others buried each other's dead. As Christmas came to a close, they returned to their trenches, and the war resumed for another four years. Many of the men who took part in the Christmas Truce were sent to their deaths in the coming months as each countries governments wanted to set an example of them so this type of behavior would not happen again.

This Christmas Eve, please take a moment to remember those brave soldiers who for one brief moment showed the world what real humanity is.

Here is a letter from an unknown British soldier describing these events.

"This will be the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent or likely to spend: since about tea time yesterday I don't think there's been a shot fired on either side up to now. Last night turned a very clear frost moonlight night, so soon after dusk we had some decent fires going and had a few carols and songs. The Germans commenced by placing lights all along the edge of their trenches and coming over to us — wishing us a Happy Christmas etc. They also gave us a few songs etc. so we had quite a social party. Several of them can speak English very well so we had a few conversations. Some of our chaps went to over to their lines. I think they've all come back bar one from 'E' Co. They no doubt kept him as a souvenir. In spite of our fires etc. it was terribly cold and a job to sleep between look out duties, which are two hours in every six.

First thing this morning it was very foggy. So we stood to arms a little longer than usual. A few of us that were lucky could go to Holy Communion early this morning. It was celebrated in a ruined farm about 500 yds behind us. I unfortunately couldn't go. There must be something in the spirit of Christmas as to day we are all on top of our trenches running about. Whereas other days we have to keep our heads well down. We had breakfast about 8.0 which went down alright especially some cocoa we made. We also had some of the post this morning. I had a parcel from B. G's Lace Dept containing a sweater, smokes, under clothes etc. We also had a card from the Queen, which I am sending back to you to look after please. After breakfast we had a game of football at the back of our trenches! We've had a few Germans over to see us this morning. They also sent a party over to bury a sniper we shot in the week. He was about a 100 yds from our trench. A few of our fellows went out and helped to bury him.

About 10.30 we had a short church parade the morning service etc. held in the trench. How we did sing. 'O come all ye faithful. And While shepherds watched their flocks by night' were the hymns we had. At present we are cooking our Christmas Dinner! so will finish this letter later.

Dinner is over! and well we enjoyed it. Our dinner party started off with fried bacon and dip-bread: followed by hot Xmas Pudding. I had a mascot in my piece. Next item on the menu was muscatels and almonds, oranges, bananas, chocolate etc followed by cocoa and smokes. You can guess we thought of the dinners at home. Just before dinner I had the pleasure of shaking hands with several Germans: a party of them came 1/2way over to us so several of us went out to them. I exchanged one of my balaclavas for a hat. I've also got a button off one of their tunics. We also exchanged smokes etc. and had a decent chat. They say they won't fire tomorrow if we don't so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday — perhaps. After exchanging autographs and them wishing us a Happy New Year we departed and came back and had our dinner.

We can hardly believe that we've been firing at them for the last week or two — it all seems so strange. At present its freezing hard and everything is covered with ice…

There are plenty of huge shell holes in front of our trenches, also pieces of shrapnel to be found. I never expected to shake hands with Germans between the firing lines on Christmas Day and I don't suppose you thought of us doing so. So after a fashion we've enjoyed? our Christmas. Hoping you spend a happy time also George Boy as well. How we thought of England during the day. Kind regards to all the neighbours. With much love from Boy."


Anonymous said...

Yhis is my favorite posting you made. I loved reading the letter from the british soldiers diary.

Mike said...

Merry Christmas my friend. We'll be thinking of you and can't wait to see you in a few weeks.

Kelly said...

Merry Christmas baby. Love you lots. Drink some egg nogg for me and think of me, I will do the same.

budajsguy said...

Some days I think you're a bigger Great War hound than I am. Thanks for posting that story.

Myra said...

Merry Christmas babes!

Mark said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from across the pond!

Jen said...

Wishing you two a Merry Christmas. I'll call you later.

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