Merry Christmas all, and welcome to another of blog where we will dive into the rich and diverse world of Christmas facts and traditions!
What comes to mind when you think of a blue Christmas? Maybe you think of the 1978 cult classic Japanese sci-fi movie of the same name, or more likely the solemn song of unrequited love made popular in 1957 by country rock crooner Elvis Presley – let’s be honest, you’re singing “I’ll have a bluuuue, blue, blue, blue Christmas” right now! The phrase “blue Christmas” is definitely most associated with festive pop culture now, courtesy of The King, but we have learned there is another special meaning rooted in Western Christian festive tradition that often goes unknown.
Blue Christmas, for many Christian people, is marked during Advent on or around December 21st – an important date in many cultures as it marks the Winter Solstice or Longest Night, when the daylight hours are at their shortest. In Western Christian tradition, this night is often marked with a special ‘Blue Christmas’ church service which combines worship and remembrance as it acknowledges the struggle and grief that many people face over the festive period.
While the tradition appears to be fairly recent in origin, Blue Christmas has increased steadily in popularity and available resources as the event fills an important need for many who seek comfort and support during the difficult winter months when many others are rejoicing the festive season. For this reason, the ‘Blue Christmas’ services held in a number of Christian denominations are focused on finding hope and looking forward to brighter days ahead, which is a beautiful and important message to spread on the darkest day of winter as the days then gradually get longer and brighter as we move towards spring. This night is also an opportunity for those dealing with grief and loss in the lead up to Christmas to light a candle in memory of their loved ones and mourn with the support of their religious community, and for the community to acknowledge any losses from their congregation that year by leaving a seat empty in their honour.
The solemn yet beautiful tradition of Blue Christmas is an important reminder to us all, no matter what culture or religion: Christmas isn’t always a happy time for everyone, and we should all take time during the festive season to check up on and uplift those around us!
‘Blue Christmas (holiday)’, Wikipedia
‘Blue Christmas (1978), IMDb
‘Blue Christmas (song)’, YouTube
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