Gaudete Sunday

In the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion the third Sunday in Advent is sometimes called Gaudete Sunday Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin.


In the days before radio, television, video machines, and computers, people entertained one another during the long winter evenings of the CHRISTMAS SEASON. They told stories, danced, sang songs, or played games.


The Bible names only one of the ANGELS who appear in connection with JESUS’ birth. The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE states that the angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin MARY to tell her that she would bear a son whom she should name Jesus (Luke 1:26-35).

Frau Gaude

According to old folk beliefs, Frau Gaude, followed by her pack of phantom dogs, once haunted the streets of German-speaking EUROPE during the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS.


The sap of the frankincense tree (Boswellia carteri or Boswellia thu-rifera) dries into hard, yellowish brown lumps of gum resin known as frankincense. In biblical times frankincense was prized as the very best kind of incense. It was one of the GIFTS that the MAGI presented to the baby JESUS.

Football Bowl Games

Many Americans enjoy watching college football GAMES on New Year’s Day. This tradition dates back to the early years of the twentieth century when the first of these “bowl” games, the Rose Bowl, got its start.

Flight into Egypt

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW tells that soon after JESUS was born, King HEROD sent soldiers to BETHLEHEM to kill all the town’s male infants (see HOLY INNOCENTS’ DAY).

First Night

First Night is the name of an alternative New Year’s Eve celebration begun in Boston in the year 1976. The organizers of this event promoted the festivities as an alcohol-free, family-oriented New Year’s celebration.


In many parts of EUROPE old superstitions held that the first person to cross one’s threshold after the start of the new year determined the household’s luck for the coming year.