Does Santa Claus own the moon?

Why Santa Claus really wears red

Do you sometimes run out of topics to talk about at Christmas and New Year's Eve? Don't panic: We provide four topics that will make you the king of small talk on the holidays!

Why is gift ribbon puckering?

A popular way to add the finishing touch to gifts is with the curly gift ribbon. If you run a sharp knife or scissors along the ribbon, it will curl up. But why does the ribbon curl?

The scissors generate friction when driving along the ribbon and this friction changes the nature of the ribbon. The surface of the gift ribbon is then no longer smooth, but the material of the surface shifts and piles up in a kind of wave at another point.

When viewed under a microscope, the surface structure is reminiscent of waves at sea. This creates tension within the gift ribbon, it warps and the ribbon curls.

Why is Santa Claus dressed in red?

In many small talk rounds, the myth persists that Santa Claus wears red and white clothes because Coca-Cola once dressed its advertising figure in the world-famous colors. And the Brause Group itself speaks in a video that the world without its advertising character Santa Claus would be a world without Santa Claus in a red suit.

It remains to be seen how much Coca-Cola's annual advertising campaign actually helped the figure of Santa Claus to establish himself as a friendly old man with a red coat, rosy cheeks, round belly and white beard. At least the red and white face does not go back to her illustrator Haddon Sundblom.

In fact, the legendary Bishop Nikolaus von Myra is said to have already worn a red bishop's robe. The man who is said to have secretly distributed gifts to the needy in what is now Turkey in the 4th century, appears to us in a double role: As that Nicholas who is said to have hidden gifts in shoes on the presumed day of his death and as a Santa Claus template, who - depending on tradition - more or less secretly brings the gifts on Christmas Eve.

One of the most influential drawings of Santa Claus, including the sleigh and Christmas tree, comes from a German immigrant who moved to the USA in 1846: As a successful caricaturist and illustrator, Thomas Nast not only made the figure of Uncle Sam and the dollar sign known, he drew for it in 1863 Political magazine "Harpers Weekly" also featured a plump man with a long beard who distributed gifts. The outfit, which was then black and white and still recognizable from the American flag, developed over the years into a striking red colored coat in Nast's drawings. This early Santa Claus, understood by historians as a political war figure of the American Civil War, will probably not only have served as inspiration for Cola illustrator Sundblom years later. Because even before Coca-Cola, a beverage manufacturer advertised in 1923 with the concise image of Santa Claus. The drink: a whiskey. Whether that is why the classic highball "Whiskey Cola" came about remains a mystery.

How do sparklers work?

Every year on New Year's Eve, sparkling sparklers are lit. But why do the chopsticks made of copper-plated steel wire actually spray all those sparks? A number of ingredients are required in the production of sparklers: In addition to water and glue, iron filings, aluminum powder and barium nitrate are used.

If you hold a burning match or a lighter to the sparkler, the barium nitrate, a salt, releases oxygen. This combines with the aluminum powder, which in turn serves as an energy supplier so that the tiny iron filings of the sparkler can start to glow.

And then the mini fireworks start: The tiny iron filings are thrown away in a flash - this is how the many small sparks are created. The carbon in the iron filings also means that there are non-stop many small explosions.

Why do champagne corks pop?

On special occasions, many people like to grab a sparkling wine or champagne bottle and let the cork blow from the bottle opening with a loud bang. The gas carbon dioxide, which collects in the cavity between the cork and the drink, is responsible for the popping of the cork.

The gas in the bottle creates an overpressure that pushes the cork outwards when it is not attached with a wire. If the wire is loosened and the cork is removed, the CO2 expands explosively - and escapes from the bottle as an air pressure wave. Tip: Carefully unscrew the cork with a towel so that it does not fly around in an uncontrolled manner.

Since when does the new year start for us on January 1st?

The Romans already celebrated the New Year on the night of December 31st to January 1st. Many early Christian followers, however, did not quite agree with this. The sixth of January, "Epiphany" - which marks the baptism of Jesus, the coming of the three kings and thus a new beginning - should be New Years Day, some said. Others said it could only be Christmas. And while Pope Liberius introduced December 25 as the first day of every new year around 350, January first was for a long time another day of penance for the Church - as a contrast to the Roman festivities, so to speak. In the 13th century, the circumcision of Christ was celebrated on January 1st.
It was not until Pope Innocent XII. decided in 1691 to celebrate the New Year, which is still traditional today: the first of January should from now on be the only date for it. And he could even name December 31st clearly: New Year's Eve - after the former Pope who died on this day in 335.

The New Year festival is entirely culturally shaped. No wonder, for example, that lunar or solar calendars set the date in other cultures: Buddhists and Iranians celebrate the New Year in spring, the Chinese on the second new moon after the winter solstice and Jews celebrate their Rosh Hashana on the first or second day of Tishri in September or October.

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