How Christmas evolved from raucous carnival to domestic holiday

圣诞节是如何从喧嚣的狂欢节演变为家庭节日的
时间:2017-12-29 单词数:5800

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导读:19世纪的城市化对这个节日转变为家庭节日有着至关重要的作用。

圣诞节是如何从喧嚣的狂欢节演变为家庭节日的_最新英语新闻

THERE were no neatly wrapped presents. Nor were there tinselled trees or Santa Claus. Christmas in preindustrial Europe and America looked very different from today’s iteration. Drunks, cross-dressers and rowdy carollers roamed the streets. The tavern, rather than the home or the church, was the place to celebrate. “Men dishonour Christ more in the twelve days of Christmas, than in all the twelve months besides,”—so despaired Hugh Latimer, chaplain to King Edward VI, in the mid-1500s. Some 200 years later, across the Atlantic, a Puritan minister decried the “lewd gaming” and “rude revelling” of Christmastime in the colonies. Those concerns seem irrelevant now. By the end of the 19th century, a rambunctious, freewheeling holiday had turned into the peaceable, family-centred one we know today. How?

工业化前的欧洲和美国的圣诞节和今天的圣诞节大不相同——没有包装整齐的礼物,没有嵌金银丝的圣诞树,也没有圣诞老人。酒鬼、伪娘和吵闹的人群在街上游荡。人们在小酒馆,而不是在家里或教堂庆祝节日。“在圣诞节的十二天里,人们对基督做出的不敬行为比过去的一年中做的还多。” 十六世纪中叶,爱德华六世的牧师休拉蒂默对此情此景绝望地感慨道。200多年后,在大西洋彼岸,一位清教徒牧师在殖民地谴责圣诞节为“猥亵游戏”和“无礼的狂欢”。当时的这些担忧与当下似乎毫不相干了。19世纪末,一个曾喧嚣吵杂、自由放纵的节日变成了我们今天所熟知的其乐融融、以家庭为中心的节日。这是怎么回事呢?

In early modern Europe, between about 1500 and 1800, the Christmas season meant a lull in agricultural labour and a chance to indulge. The harvest had been gathered and the animals slaughtered (the cold weather meant they would not spoil). The celebration involved heavy eating, drinking and wassailing, in which peasants would arrive at the houses of the neighbouring gentry and demand to be fed. One drinking song captured the mood: “And if you don’t open up your door, / We will lay you flat upon the floor.” Mostly this was tolerated in good humour—a kind of ritualised disorder, when the social hierarchy was temporarily inverted. Some were less tolerant. In colonial Massachusetts, between 1659 and 1681, Puritans banned Christmas. They expunged the day from their almanacs, and offending revellers risked a five-shilling fine. The ban did not last, so efforts to tame the holiday picked up instead. Moderation was advised. One almanac-writer cautioned in 1761 that “The temperate man enjoys the most delight, / For riot dulls and palls the appetite.” Still, Christmas was a public ritual, enacted in the tavern or street and often fuelled by alcohol.

在早期现代欧洲,也就是大约在1500年到1800年之间,圣诞节意味着农业劳作的间歇和放纵的机会。人们迎丰收,宰牲畜(寒冷的天气意味着它们不会那么容易腐烂),大快朵颐,开怀畅饮。农民们跑到邻近的士绅的门前索要食物。有一首酒歌诠释了这种现象:“门若不开,门前乱躺。”大多数情况下,乡绅会谅解这种行为——这种无序是庆祝圣诞的一种仪式——人们暂时把社会等级抛到脑后。但有些人却没有那么宽容。在马萨诸塞湾殖民地时期(1659年至1681年),清教徒禁止人们过圣诞节。他们从年历中删掉了这个节日。人们只能偷偷喝酒庆祝,被发现了的话会被罚五先令。禁令没有持续很久,取而代之的是管控节日的措施——建议人们适度饮酒。一位年鉴作家在1761年告诫说:“不加节制者必食欲不振,有节制者方能获得无上快乐。”然而,此时的圣诞节仍是一个公共的节日,人们在酒馆或街道上饮酒作乐。

That soon changed. Cities had expanded at the turn of the 19th century to absorb the growing number of factory workers. Vagrancy and urban poverty were by now common. Rowdiness at Christmas could turn violent, with bands of drunken men roaming the streets. It’s little surprise that members of the upper classes saw a threat in the festivity. In his study of the holiday, Stephen Nissenbaum, a historian, credits a group of patrician writers and editorialists in America with recasting it as a domestic event. They refashioned European traditions, like Christmas trees from Germany and Christmas boxes from England, in which the wealthy would present cash or leftovers to their servants. St Nicholas, or Santa Claus, whose December name day coincided with the Christmas season, became the holiday’s mascot. Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St Nicholas”, first publised in 1823, helped popularise his image. In it, a jolly Santa descends via reindeer-pulled sleigh to surprise children with presents on Christmas Eve. Newspapers also played their part. “Let all avoid taverns and grog shops for a few days,” advised the New York Herald in 1839. Better to focus on “the domestic hearth, the virtuous wife, the innocent, smiling, merry-hearted children.”

不久后这种情况发生了改变。城市在世纪之交不断扩大,越来越多的工人涌入其中。此时,街头流浪和城市贫困变得常见。当圣诞节来临,大批醉汉在街上游荡,城市变得更加喧嚣。上流社会在节日活动中察觉到了威胁,这并不令人惊讶。历史学家斯蒂芬尼森鲍姆对圣诞节做了研究,他认为,美国的一群贵族作家和社论作者重塑了这个节日,使它变为了家庭节日。他们改造了欧洲的圣诞传统,比如,德国的圣诞树和英格兰的圣诞礼盒——富人们将现金或剩饭置于盒中赠送给他们的仆人。圣尼古拉斯成为了节日的吉祥物,因为他的命名日恰好与圣诞节日相一致。1823年,克莱门特克拉克摩尔首次公开发表了诗歌《圣尼古拉斯的到访》,这一形象得以传播开来。诗歌中,快乐的圣诞老人驾着驯鹿雪橇,在圣诞节前夕带着礼物给孩子们送去惊喜。报纸也发挥了作用。1839年,《纽约先驱报》建议道,“这几天别去酒吧啦!”。最好把重点放在“家里的壁炉、贤惠的妻子、天真无邪、笑容满面又心地善良的孩子”上。

It was a triumph of middle-class values, and a coup for shop-owners. “Christmas is the merchant’s harvest time,” one industry magazine enthused in 1908. “It is up to him to garner in as big a crop of dollars as he can.” Soon this new Christmas would become a target of criticism in its own right: as commercialised and superficial. Nevertheless it lives on.

这是中产阶级价值观的胜利,也是商店老板的一大成功之举。“商人在圣诞节赚得盆满钵满,”某业界杂志在1908年对此津津乐道,“能赚多少完全取决于商人。”不久,这种新型的圣诞节就被批评流于商业化和表面化。尽管如此,它的形式沿袭至今。

来源:经济学人爱语吧作者:DebbieHuang

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