1o Explain B4
By The Associated Press
In the mysteries of the heavens
e three possible explanations
'om modern astronomers for the
azzling Star of Bethlehem.
The Bible says the Star ap-
eared suddenly and led the Magi
the manger in Bethlehem.
If the Star was not supernatur-
it might be explained by any
nearness of two or even three
planets, which shone brilliantly
for a time.
Historically, astronomers have
produced arguments for and
against each, of these possibili-
New-born stars and supernovae
are not uncommon among the bil-
lions and billions of stars in the
universe. But a supernova would
be relatively fixed in the back-
ground of stars and would not
move as readily -or rapidly as the
Star of Bethlehem.
A new and brilliant comet could
have been the Bethlehem Star.
But such con'ets are generally
seen 'widely over the world, not
merely in one quarter or area.
The arrival of a new comet
probably would have been record-
ed by astronomers of the day
somewhere in the world. Also,
comets are popularly thought to
be omens of disaster rather than
of joyous events.
Perhaps, the astronomers say,
the Star could have been a con-
junction of the planets Jupiter
and Saturn as they passed one
another in our skies. Even Mars,
the red planet, could have joined
them at the time of the birth of
Christ in a close configuration for
a brilliant triple display and
seemingly new phenomenon.
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
For Unto Us.. .
THE THREE KINGS
. . . follow. star
one of three natural stellar events.
One, it might have been a sup-
ernova. Two, it might have been a
comet, a speeding visitor from
May Have Joined
Three, it could have been an
unusual conjunction or apparent
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"A CHILD IS BORN"-1,959 years ago, attended only by His parents and a motley gathering of sheph
The first Christmas was amid such simple surroundings that only God could have planned it. Man,I
glittering pageant. A brief inscription marks the site of the Saviour's birthplace in the Grotto over w
was built. A bright silver star bears the inscription: "Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary."
IN ATOMIC AGE:
Germany Observes Heathen Customs
MUNICH OP) - Centuries-old
Christmas customs dating from
heathen times are still being ob-
served in atomic a'ge Germany.
In lonely mountain villages
tucked away in the towering Alps,
Christmas is possibly more color-
ful than anywhere else in the
world. Because of their isolation,
these Yuletide celebrations have
been less affected by commercial-
ization and two world wars than
those in the rest of Germany.
To German-speaking people,
Christmas has a deep-rooted sen-
timental importance. The cus-
toms developed here from aft an-
cient mixture of heathen and
Christian cultures - many of
them still widely observed in an
almost pure form-are the source
of many traditions now thriving
in the United States.
Folklore experts say that Santa
Claus - as we know him today -
probably first 'presented his gifts
to German children; The Christ-
PWPWW drspww- "Ir- e. -A v w oamw 7AN pp p w -
For Those Special
MATCHES PLAYING CARDS
mas tree also originated in Ger-
many or its German-speaking
But some customs are unique to
the snow-clad villages of Ger-
many's Bavaria. In the Berchtes-
gaden area, the villagers shoot off
medieval firearms during the
Christmas season. The purpose is
-like that of many other German
Yule customs-to chase away de-
Another custom originating in
the pre-Christian era and still ob-
served in Bavaria is the "Kloepfi-
naechte" (Knock Nights). These
start on Nov. 30 with children and
needy adults parading through
the village streets after nightfall,
singing Christmas carols and get-
ting food from those they visit.
They knock at doors with ham-
mers and brushes and ring bells
to drive away evil spirits.
Berchtesgaden villagers also run
around during the pre-Christmas
period clad in straw and ringing
big cowbells. They accompany
"Sankt Nikolaus" (Santa Claus)
and the "Gangerd" (a devil-like
creature) from door to door.
The Santa Claus figure had its
origin in a Bishop Nicolaus of
Myra, who lived in the Fourth
Century in what is now Turkey
and gained sainthood as a bene-
factor of the poor..
Veneration for this saint spread
to all of western Europe in the
Middle Ages. In Germany, "Sankt
Nikolaus" was known as a giver
of gifts at the turn of the 14th
His figure apparently fitted into
pre-Christian worship of Wodan,
a Germanic god.
In some rural areas of Ger-
many, children still believe that
Santa Claus comes riding through
the air on a white horse, dropping
his gifts into the chimney. Ac-
cordingly, they place a shoe into
the fireside: to receive the gifts.
In most areas, however, stockings,
plates or shoes are put before the
door or on the window sill for
Sankt Nikolaus visits German
children twice during the Christ-
mas season - on Dec. 6 and Dec.
24. But he has a different name
for his second visit. Then he's
Weihnachtsmann or Christmas
an Dec. 6, he usually brings
only apples, nuts or a small toy
in his bag for the "nice children."
To the bad ones, he points warn-
ingly to his traditional rod.
'On Heiligabend (Christmas
Eve) and again on Christmas Day
Germans swarm into their
churches by themillions. This na-
tion is divided almost half and
half among Catholics and Protes-
Most German 'families light
their trees before or after going
to church for Christmas Eve serv-
ices. The holiday extends to Dec.
New Year' s
New Year's, customs and super-
'stitions are inseparably linked in
countries all over the world.
Chances are that an old Ameri-
can tradition-mistletoe- ill be
But Italians believe mistletoe
hung in the doorway brings good
luck, while in England on New
Year's day, the ancient Druids (not
a paid advertisement) used to dis-
tribute branches of the sacred
parasite to other members of their
England had another equally
curious custom associated with the
New Year. The first person over
the doorstep in a home there used
to determine the family's luck for
the year. -
A man with a dark complexion
was good luck; with fair, bad; and
a woman meant death.
Some families employed an es-
cape mechanism-a hired person
with the right specifications to be
on the doorstep bright and early.
In Scotland, the first foot (as
he was called) was better received
if he brought a gift of whiskey
(aren't we all?). In Macedonia, he
carried a twig signifying life or a
stone signifying strength.
Boys used to sprinkle cider on
apple trees in- England to remind1
them of their duty to bring in a
good harvest in the coming year.
The Danes set off firecrackers or
broke earthenware against the
doors of friends' (or perhaps, "ex")
Then there's "Auld Lang Syne,"
booze, wild parties ...
Christmas Rush Creates
Work for 'U' Students
It's amazing the things people
can do to earn money over Christ- from odd-shaped objects, like bot-
mas vacation. ties and stuffed teddy bears. The
Among the more mundane, if card designers are mostly sick.
moderately lucrative vacation jobs, Some people work the store-bit
are those created by the Christ- two ways. For the first half of the
mas rush. There are openings for vacation they sell everything from
salesgirls and men, which require lingerie to food and then, as soon
little more than patience, good as the first job ends, go to work
arches, and a passionate desire for for the complaint department and
work. take it all back again.
Applicants must be capable of Another Writes
overcoming the millions of scream- One rather disreputable student
ing shoppers who flood the stores- has set up a steady holiday busi-
buying the week before the holi- ness which depends rather exclu-
day, returning the week after-in sively on his fellow students. This
the yearly cycle. fellow, for a certain fee per page,
Another job created by the will write you a term paper on
yr$American Christmas-communica- virtually any subject - C guar-
tion mania is the role of the anteed.
Christmas postman. Thousands of For the plump and bearded beat-
?-students are hired each year -to nik another road is open. With a
supplement the regular forces bottle of peroxide and a couple of
\ spreading holiday cheer through grease paint lines, you too can be
sleet and snow and all. a Santa Claus.
When this Santa enters private
Student Works homes via the chimney, he steals.
- One enterprising student gets Anyone with specific talents can
a job every year in one of the huge find several things to do over
New York office buildings. He is a Christmas. If you are the kind who
temporary janitor the night of the amazes and bewilders your friends
24th and does everything from with the quality and quantity of
sweeping up cups and bottles after your festive beverages, maybe you
office parties to putting the par- can get a temporary job as a bar-
ticipants in cabs and sending them tender.
home. Of course, those ads do tend to
More creative types do every- request "mature, responsible, so-
erds, the Christ Child was born. hing from professional gift-wrap- ber" types to minister to the needs
erds th ChistChid ws brn. ping to personal card designing, of the tired and cheery.
no doubt, would have made it a Some of the yearly gift-wrappers And then again, if you can't get
hich the Church of the Nativity have learned to specialize in creat- a job, you can always go to Lau-
ing weird and wonderful packages derdale and be a beach bum.
. TWO-PIECE SEPARATE
Sin black scalloped ace
with American Beauty
r _ .
OPEN MONDAYS AND
FR IDAYS UNTI L 8:30
the "Esquire" Gift Store
featuring the styles appearing in
the Christmas issue of "Esquire"
Imported and domestic sweaters $8.95 up
Gates-Mills fined and unlined gloves $4.95 up
Byford British wool hose $1.50
Tex Tan billfolds and fine belts
Weldon "First Nighter" pajamas $5.95
McGregor Sport shirts, sweaters, jackets
and car coats
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