Most people cannot imagine New Years and Christmas without these fragrant fruits. But where did this tradition come from?
We offer you two options for choosing why we stock up on tangerines and oranges for the New Year holidays.
Version 1. Fresh fruit in the middle of winter was considered a luxury
In the old days, when there were no supermarkets where everyone can buy a variety of fruits relatively inexpensively, children were more than happy to find an orange or a tangerine in a Christmas stocking. In wealthy families, they even decorated Christmas trees, which after the holiday were given to the children to "plunder": they were allowed to pluck sweets, gingerbread, fruits and other edible decorations.
And even in the 20th century, it was considered a great success to receive a golden fruit as a gift, especially in the post-war period. In Shirley Conran's novel Lace, there is a fragment that vividly illustrates this version: it talks about a girl named Kate who found an orange in a stocking with gifts. Her father bought the fruit from some sailor for wild money, because after the war in England there were no oranges, no bananas, no ice cream. Kate ate this orange all day, savoring every wedge, and then nibbled the peel for another week.
Version 2. Remember who was the prototype of Santa Claus
This version is probably known to those who are familiar with the life story of the very first "Santa Claus" - St. Nicholas, who is especially revered in Christianity as the patron saint of children. His life story has come down to us, in which there was such a story.
The father of three daughters could not collect a dowry for them, so he decided to extract income from their beauty, and this would have happened if it were not for Saint Nicholas. Being humble, he discreetly threw a bag of gold into their house through a chimney or an open window - here the sources differ. According to legend, the gold got into the stockings hung in front of the hearth to dry, where it was found in the morning.
The delighted father gave his daughters in marriage, and people developed a tradition of hanging stockings for gifts and putting golden oranges or tangerines in them as a symbol of the gold donated by Saint Nicholas.