Christmases aren’t all the same: Some Christmases are real barrels of laughs, others are blessings in disguise, while others are utter nightmares. In this article, we will focus on the latter ones. 2020 was indeed stuffed full of pain and loss, yet when you compare it with some of these nightmarish years, you might consider it a blessing.
The Christmas Blitz (1940)
During 1940’s Christmas, England was repeatedly bombarded for 57 consecutive days. Bombers were ruthless, for they refused to relent as Christmas Eve drew closer. Manchester city was heavily bombarded as well as its neighboring areas in England. Such deadly shells were part of Adolf Hitler’s three major raids to capture England during the second world war. The raids are historically known as The Christmas Blitz or Manchester Blitz as a blitz is an intensive or sudden military attack.
Christmas in Massachusetts (1621)
Due to his unfailing love for Christmas, William Bradford— governor of Massachusetts at the time— legally prohibited games and festive celebrations. Bradford considered Christmas a sacred event— a one that’s treated with awe and respect. At the time, people had no choice but to obey their dictator or otherwise, to be put behind bars.
First World War (1914)
Celebrating Christmas at wartime was quite an arduous task: Food scarcity was highly common at the time due to the deterioration of economy, and attacks were sometimes expected. However, as funny as it may sound, governments gave priority to individual psychological wellbeing and public cheer because, you know, there were absent loved ones and such. To exemplify, in 1914, German soldiers brought a Christmas tree to their territory while English ones decided to go for fireworks, ensuring that their enemies had their satisfying share. In Belgium, the government decided to offer gifts to children of refugees. This brings to the mind Monsieur Gustav’s famous lines from The Grand Budapest Hotel (2013): “There are still faint glimmers of civilization in this barbaric slaughterhouse called humanity.”
Although attacks and raids were not quite frequent during Christmas, this year witnessed a change of scene. Usually during wartime Christmases, senior soldiers took holidays to celebrate The Eve with their families. However, some of them get the sense of festivity when they are at a deadly battlefield. American Gen. George Washington was one of them: While crossing Delaware River from Pennsylvania, Washington decided to say merry Christmas to The Hessians (German soldiers enlisted by The English to protect their colonies). Washington started a bloody shoot, capturing almost 900 of the 1,500 men.
The Spanish Influenza (1918)
In 1918’s Christmas, one fifth of Norway’s population was wiped out. Strangely enough, the Spanish Influenza was detrimental to young teenagers and adults, rather than the elderly as it turned out that those elderlies were more immune because of contracting an earlier equivalent plague. During this deadly Christmas, the bloom of youth was decimated. Schools turned into death camps at the debut of the new school year.
536 AD: Year of Darkness
Historians regard this year as the most cursed year of all times. It started with a volcanic eruption in Iceland, which altered the global climate and led to a massive famine. This eruption was enormous enough to create a black fog all over Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. The world went dark for full 18 consecutive months. The fog blocked the sun rays during the day, which resulted in falling temperatures, failing crops, and an upsurging mortality rate.
New Zealand (1953)
Once 1953 made its debut, Ruapehu volcano broke out in New Zealand, marking one of its historical disasters. The volcano captured the lives of 151 people. Moreover, some scattered pieces caused by the volcano along with some ice cubes subsided down into the river. The collapsing debris led to a massive flood that lashed the piers of a rail bridge as a Wellington-Auckland passenger train was crossing. The force was so violent and quick that the piers buckled, sending the engine and six passenger carriages to be thrust headlong over the bridge. The accident took place on the night of Dec. 24, Christmas Eve.