Yesterday I watched one of my favourite films:
“A Christmas Carol” – The one with Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge.
As I’m sure you know, A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens and published on December 19th 1843. Its first print run was 6,000 copies and sold out in just 3 days.
That gives you an idea of how popular it was with our Victorian ancestors.
If you’re not familiar with the story (where’ve you been?) here it is in a nutshell:
Scrooge is a mean old duffer who gets a visit from his dead partner Jacob Marley. Marley has been punished in the afterlife for being greedy and self-serving and wants to spare Scrooge from the same fate.
He tells Scrooge he’ll be visited by 3 ghosts over the next 3 nights:
- The ghost of Christmas past.
- The ghost of Christmas present.
- The ghost of Christmas future.
Each ghost teaches Scrooge a valuable lesson.
At the end of the story Scrooge is delighted to realise he has a chance to redeem himself and he turns over a new leaf and becomes a really nice guy, much to the surprise of those who know him.
What I hadn’t realised was how Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol is responsible for many of the symbols we associate with Christmas:
- Giving presents
- White Christmas
- Christmas trees
- Roaring fires
And so on.
In fact whilst doing a bit of digging I found some people who argue that Dickens’s story saved Christmas from dying out during the Industrial Revolution.
So love Christmas or hate it – you can thank Charles Dickens.
I also discovered that the telling of ghost stories on Christmas eve was a very popular practice with the Victorians but is almost a forgotten tradition today.
Which I think is a shame.
I remember as a kid there used to be some really good ghost stories on the BBC during the Christmas season.
One I still remember is about a dude who finds a bone whistle in a graveyard. By blowing it he releases supernatural forces that cause him no end of trouble.
I did a bit of ‘Google-ing‘ to find out why ghost stories were linked with Christmas and discovered Christmas was ‘built’ on top of early pagan festivals like Yule and Sol Invictus and the Winter Solstice.
The Winter Solstice this year was on Friday just gone (21st) and marks the longest night of the year. It was also believed to be the most haunted time of the year due to its association with the death of the sun and light.
This was a time when the gap between the world of the living and the world of the dead was at its thinnest and unsettled spirits could cross the divide to complete their unfinished business.
Your rightly wondering what all this has to do with your Qigong practice.
And the truth is…
It’s Christmas Eve and I just felt like doing something a little different =)
But whilst I’m here I’d hate myself if I didn’t encourage you to check out the Qigong15 shop and treat yourself to something special.
It’s that time of year after all:
Enjoy your practice!