Christmas Crackers are very popular and accompany meals over the Christmas
period, especially on Christmas Day.
A Christmas Cracker is a brightly coloured paper tube, twisted at both ends, A person pulls on each end of the cracker and when the cracker breaks, a small chemical strip goes ''pop''
and the contents fall out.
It traditionally contains a paper crown, a small gift and a joke written on a slip of paper.
Who invented the Christmas Crackers?
They were invented by Thomas Smith in 1846. During a visit to Paris he came across the bon-bon, a sugar almond wrapped in tissue paper. Thomas decided to try selling similarly wrapped sweets in the lead up to Christmas in England. His bon-bons sold well at Christmas but not at other times of the year.
In the early 1850s Thomas came up with the idea of including a motto with the sweet. As many of his bon-bons were bought by men to give to women, many of the mottos were simple love poems.
In about 1860, Thomas added the banger, two strips of chemically impregnated paper that made a loud noise on being pulled apart. At first these novelties were called ‘cosaques’, but they soon became known as 'crackers'.
Unfortunately poor Thomas, his 'cracker' idea was copied by other manufactures and so he decided to replace the sweet with a surprise gift.
When Thomas died his two sons took over the business. The paper hat was added to the cracker the early 1900s and by the end of the 1930s the love poems had been replaced by jokes or limericks.
Why do poeple wear king's paper crowns on Christmas day?
The tradition of wearing hats at parties goes back to the Roman Saturnalia
celebrations (celebrated around 25th December) when the participants also wear hats.
The idea of wearing a paper crown may have originated from the Twelfth Night celebrations, where a King or Queen was appointed to look over the proceedings.
The paper crown hats we wear today are found inside the Christmas crackers. They are very traditional items to have at Christmas.
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