The answers you've been waiting for.
BEIT SAKHOUR still has its shepherds, and though
Christian denominations disagree as to which is the "Shepherds Field"
in the Bible story, local people know and are proud of their part in modern history.
ON the night before Xmas, all through the house, not a sound could be heard except my keyboard and mouse. "Sad bastard", I hear you say, but I hope some of you had as much fun with my Quiz, as I had setting it. And now here are the answers, as promised:
IN THE NICK OF TIME
1) Saint Nicholas was born in the Third Century at Patara, in what is now Turkey.
2) January 6, Epiphany, is the Feast of the Three Wise Kings, who were said to have brought gifts to the baby Jesus, and in Spain, and some other countries, children traditionally hope Los Tres Reyos Magos, three wise kings, will bring gifts on that date.
3) Nollaig na mBan, or Women's Little Christmas, is traditionally celebrated in Ireland, particularly Cork, on January 6. It is a day when husbands are supposed to cook and perform domestic chores more usually done by their wives, who may take it easy or go out for a drink with their mates. Apparently Irish women don't mind this one enjoying a bit of a revival.
4) Who come to town in Iceland in the fortnight before Xmas? If you said British local government leaders with their collecting tins you were out by a week. The correct answer, as per tradition, is the Yule Lads, sons of mountain trolls, who used to inflict mischievous pranks on people, but nowadays are expected to leave presents for children.
5) St.Nicholas is patron saint of, inter alia, children, sailors, prostitutes and Liverpool (any connection?) , but also of the Palestinian town of Beit Jalla, where he is said to have stayed during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, as Bishop of Myra. The town has a festival in his honour, and it is reasonable that as protector he would assist the Beit Jalla Lions rugby team. .
Moving on to some SEASONAL FARE:
6) 'Stir-up Sunday', the last Sunday before Advent, took its name from the words Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people, in the Book of Common Prayer. That families mixed and stirred up their Christmas puddings that day was sheer coincidence.
7) Norwegians (and other Scandinavians, though they may spell it differently) drink gløgg at Christmas. It is mulled wine.
8) Persimmons are often in puddings eaten in the United States, though pecan pie is also popular.
9) hallachas, are eaten on Christmas Day in Venezuela.
10) Burtugal, from Portugal, is an Arabic word for an orange, popular at Christmas not only in Arab countries but in Britain and the USA, where Santa may pop a tangerine or clementine down the toe of the children's Christmas stockings.
ROUND THIS TIME OF THE YEAR:
11) Miners in Bosnia, then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, or Yugoslavia, went on strike strike in December 1920, and fought government troops.
12) The Russian revolutionary writer Stepniak was knocked down and killed by a train on a level crossing in Bedford Park, Chiswick, on December 23, 1895.
13) Libya became independent on December 24, 1951, under King Idris. Idris, as in Cader Idris, is Welsh for Arthur, but so far as I know this was purely coincidental.
14) John Stonehouse, MP, a former Postmaster General in Harold Wilson's Labour government, faked his own death by leaving a pile of clothes, Reggie Perrin-style, on a beach at Miami. He was discovered by police in Melbourne on Christmas Eve 1974, and eventually served time for fraud in Wormwood Scrubs.
15) Home Secretary Jack Straw's son William, aged 17, was arrested on December 24, 1997, for supplying cannabis to a newspaper reporter.
WHERE IN THE WORLD?
16) Camille Pissarro, the artist, was born on St.Thomas - in the Virgin Islands.
17) Natal, the city and resort is in Brazil.
18) Beit Jalla is near Bethlehem, where both King David and Jesus were born, so the Bible says.
19) The Shepherds' Fields, where an Angel supposedly announced an important birth to night workers are at Beit Sakhour, a village near Bethlehem. Franciscans and Greek Orthodox each have their own claims as to the correct site, but neither will confirm whether the shepherds wore socks, let alone that they were darning them that night. Beit Sakhour does mean the home of the Night Watch. Besides being a Christian tourism spot, the village is proud of its part in non-violent resistance in the first and second Intifada.
20) Kirimati, or Christmas Island in the Pacific, was used by the British government for nuclear weapons tests. Nowadays, having been officially placed just west of the International Date Line it is the first place in the world to celebrate New Years Day each year.
I'm sorry to hear some blog readers thought these questions a bit obscure or difficult. Vicky in Manchester says she and her boyfriend, both students, could only answer the first two. Anna in London, aka Madam Miaow, reputedly a quiz wizz, also managed but a couple. It was not my intention to show off, and in fact I'd not have been able to put the quiz together without looking everything up on the Internet, where most if not all the answers can be found. Stll, Madame Miaow said she was intrigued to know what the answers were, and could not wait till December 30. If you were similarly intrigued, and it got you talking, fine.
If, on the other hand, you were having too much fun over Xmas to chew over a quiz or look up stuff on the Internet, then ... Nu, what are you complaining about?