Category Archives: Superstitions

“A Christmas Carol ” by Charles Dickens Revived the Spirit of Christmas


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj.

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that–as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time.” – Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
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Here is the preface written by Charles Dickens for the memorable Christmas story of all time, “A Christmas Carol” published on December 17, 1843:

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Their faithful Friend and Servant,
C. D.
December, 1843.

Through this novella, Charles Dickens was the first person to introduce the phrase “Merry Christmas” to English. This masterpiece also added the name “Scrooge” and the exclamation “Bah! Humbug!” to the English vernacular.

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Charles Dickens by Frith (1859)
Charles Dickens by Frith (1859)

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Charles Dickens (born Charles John Huffam Dickens, February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870), an English writer and social critic rose from a downtrodden family background. His early experience of a life of poverty and deprivation helped him create some of the most memorable characters of all time.

During his later life, Charles Dickens enjoyed unprecedented fame through his works, and by the twentieth century, he was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars as a literary genius. Even now, readers consider Dickens as one of the greatest writers of the Victorian Period. His novels and short stories are still widely popular. His works include A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Hard Times, and many more.

Charles Dickens concerned about poor children wanted to publish a pamphlet titled “An Appeal to the People of England, on Behalf of the Poor Man’s Child,”  to draw the attention of workers and employers to the plight of poor children. Instead, he wrote A Christmas Carol, for he thought that an irresistible Christmas story with a plot that highlighted the struggles of the poor would have a better and broader appeal.

Dickens started writing A Christmas Carol in October 1843 and finished it by the end of November, in time to be published for Christmas. The book was illustrated by John Leech.

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Title page of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (First edition 1843)
Title page of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (First edition 1843)

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It was published in early Victorian Era Britain, a period when people longed for the old nostalgic Christmas traditions. It was at this time that new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards were introduced.

Dickens’ sources for the powerful, impressive, and enduring tale appear to be many and varied. He leaned on Washington Irving’s essays on Christmas published in his Sketch Book in 1820, describing the traditional old English Christmas; various Christmas stories, fairy tales and nursery stories; as well as satirical essays and religious tracts. However, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, the plight of the poor and their children during the boom decades of the 1830s and 1840s, impelled him to write the book.

The book’s first run of 6,000 copies sold out before Christmas Eve, and by the following May seven editions sold out. However, it did not produce a windfall for Dickens, who paid the original production costs due to a dispute with his publisher.

A Christmas Carol tells the story of the bitter old miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from supernatural visits by Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Yet to Come Christmases. The novella was an instant success and received wide critical acclaim. It became the most popular Christmas tale ever to be written. Dickens never anticipated that his characterization of Tiny Tim, the embodiment of England’s poor children, and the personification of Scrooge modeled after his estranged father, would receive such an accolade from his readers.

Many have credited A Christmas Carol with reviving the spirit of Christmas celebration, after a period of sobriety and sombreness, as one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America.

A Christmas Carol has been adapted in numerous plays, operas, ballets and films. It is in its 24th edition. It is estimated that about five billion copies have been sold to date.

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A Christmas Carol - Wall Paper

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Who made superstitions????


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sakshivashist

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By sakshivashist

Re-posted from ~Cruising through my Life~ journey since 1989…

I am a Hindu. A Brahmin that too. I have equal belief in all the one thousand Gods we follow and worship. As i mentioned in my previous post, I pray to ChristAllah and Guru Nanak Sahib too.

I am not sure which one of the religions or cultures gave birth to superstitions. I ardently disbelieve any sort of superstition.

The most recent one I heard and objected upon :

Do not go to the loo when temple bells are ringing

So I asked, what if someone is already in the loo, does he/she have to hold it? Or come out running cuz the bells are ringing?

And what if someone is ill, say has loose motions or weak bladder, what does that person do?

And what about kids, obviously they cannot control the pressure for 15 minutes of aarti time.

And infants? They don’t even know what is God and aarti and excretion and bladder. They are exempted of this rule of not-going-to-loo-when-temple-bells-ring?

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That’s not it. I was told another one:

 Do not sleep during aarti time

So does that mean specifically evening or morning aarti time too?

But what about the person who is already asleep? Is he supposed to wake up in respect of some everyday prayers being offered to one of our million Gods?

Oh and what about people who work in shifts, who have to work in night time and sleep during the day? God gets upset with them? Oh is that why they’re suffering in night shifts and have to work while the entire world sleeps. And here I thought it was their own career decision to work in such factories and plants and companies. :|

Oh, and don’t get me started on kids and babies and infants and old and sick people or hospitalized people or people under medication or coma.

Really, not sleeping when temple bells ringing so important? My my.

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But by far, the most ridiculous superstition:

 Do not to wash hair on Thursdays

And

Do not to cut nails on Saturdays.

And I question – exactly WHY?

Do we have a scientific explanation as to why I should think about a super-power being angry over my personal hygiene? C’mon think about the people who bite and chew their nails everyday. They must be upsetting God. And priests who take a dip in rivers or lakes every morning, thus wetting themselves completely (including hair), must be not THAT faithful to the Almighty. Otherwise why would they do such a thing.

Attention people. This is the 21st century. Agreed its good to keep faith in a certain super-power, to have belief in karma and doing the right thing. But doing things based on superstitions and hearsay things is foolishness.

Trust me, if you cross a road after a black cat crosses your way – you will not meet with an accident as long as you keep your eyes on the road.

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