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Did you know it's illegal to eat Mince Pies on Christmas Day?

Added: (Wed Dec 21 2005)

Pressbox (Press Release) - UK text service AQA (Any Question Answered) answers over 6,000 questions a day texted in to 63336. AQA's specially trained researchers have been bombarded with last minute requests for xmas advice, holidays, presents and even how to cook a turkey. Some of the bizarre facts that AQA has unearthed are listed below. So whatever you do, don't drive to mass on Christmas day whilst eating a mince pie or you could fall foul of arcane laws!

AQA can answer any question, 24 hours a day. To use AQA, simply text a question to 63336. Each question costs £1 and the answer will be returned in minutes.

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Strange and wonderful Xmas questions texted to AQA on 63336

Q: Is it illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day?
AQA: Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding, mince pies and anything to do with gluttony. That law has never been rescinded so mince pies are illegal.

Q: Can you drive to mass on Christmas day?
AQA: According to the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act of 1551, which has not yet been repealed, everyone must attend church on Christmas Day on foot.

Q: Is it really true you canít play footie on Christmas day?
AQA: Henry VIII banned all forms of sport on Christmas day, except archery. However the ban has never been enforced, as Henry also liked a kickabout.

Q: Can I go fishing on Christmas day?
AQA: As Xmas falls on a Sunday, under a law imposed by Elizabeth I but never repealed you can go fishing, but not for salmon.

Q. What should I have for Xmas dinner?
AQA: AQA advises that you should eat goose, as in 1588 Elizabeth I enacted a law making it an offense to eat any other bird on Xmas day.

Q. Has Christmas ever been banned?
AQA: English Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas between 1647 and 1660 because he believed such celebrations were immoral for the holiest day of the year

---folklore and traditions

Q. Should I get a pet a Christmas present?
AQA: Although you wonít get one back, you both will enjoy the petís Christmas present so yes. 7 / 10 dogs receive a present at Christmas in the UK.

Q: Iíve heard its wrong to put up decorations before Xmas eve?
AQA: Traditionally, anyone who puts up decorations before 24 Dec will attract evil spirits. AQA fears for Oxford St traders who put lights up on 15 Nov.

Q: Who invented the Christmas cracker?
AQA: Christmas crackers were invented almost by accident by Tom Smith in 1847 originally using sweets in a twist of paper. The tradition only stuck in the UK.

Q: How many christmas cards are sent in the uk?
AQA: Over 1.8 billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the UK. Producing these cards requires over 200,000 trees to be felled each year.

Q: Why do we change Christmas to Xmas?
AQA: We write "Xmas" as X represented the Greek letter chi. It was pronounced with an aspirated [kh], which is the first letter of Christ's name.

Q. How many presents are given out in the 12 days of Christmas?
AQA: In the Christmas carol 'Twelve Days of Christmas,' the total number of gifts that 'my true love gave to me' is 364.

---food

Q: Do christmas mince pies have mince meat in them?
AQA: Mince pies were originally made with real minced meat, along with the fruit & spices we include nowadays. The pastry represents Jesus' manger.

Q: Whatís the strangest thing ever put in mince pies?
AQA: In 1861 James Swan, an American trader, served up mince pies with whale meat in them. Although he was unsure whether they were any good, people demanded seconds

Q: How much turkey is cooked over Christmas?
AQA: Over 19,000 tonnes of turkey is cooked each Christmas. Around 6,711 tonnes of fresh whole turkeys and 12,472 tonnes of frozen whole turkeys.

Q: How many turkeyís are killed over Christmas?
AQA: About 10 million Turkeys are eaten at Christmas each year. The UK is alone in making this a Christmas tradition although the US does so for Thanksgiving.

Q: Is more chocolate consumed at easter or christmas?
AQA: Over 250,000 tonnes of chocolate is sold worldwide over Easter and 200,000 tonnes manufactured at Christmas, so Easter wins by a bunny's whisker.

---xmas people

Q. My birthdays on Xmas day and I really hate it. Can I change?
AQA: When Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson died in Dec 1894 he willed his Nov 13 birthday to a friend who disliked her own Christmas birthday.

Q: Can you name me some famous people that were born on christmas day?
AQA: Famous people who have their birthdays on Christmas Day include Dido, Annie Lennox, Sir Isaac Newton, Anwar Sadat, Humphrey Bogart and Sissy Spacek.

Q: Which famous people have been killed on Christmas day?
AQA: Romania's communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were executed by firing squad on Christmas Day 1989. They fled Bucharest 3 days earlier.

Q: Is Father Christmas real?
AQA: Santa Claus is real and based on St Nicholas of Myra, 'Sinterklaasí who lived in 4th century Byzantine Anatolia and gave secret gifts.

Q: Did Coca Cola invent Xmas?
AQA: 'Santa Clause' is a distortion of 'St Nicholas', a 4th century bishop on whom Father Xmas is partly based. The Coca Cola Company invented the red suit.

---music

Q. What are the origins of silent night?
AQA: Silent Night was written because a church organ had broken and the congregation needed a carol that could be sung to a guitar accompaniment.

Q: Has father xmas ever been signed to a record label
AQA: Unfortunately, Father Christmas has reputedly refused to sign with any record label. He is upset that Rudolf gets better coverage in popular songs.

Q: Whats the only xmas no1 with no music?
AQA: The only Xmas number 1 with no music was "Only You" by the Flying Pickets in 1983. The song was performed "a cappella" or without musical accompaniment.

Q: What two non humans have topped the xmas charts?
AQA: Bob the Builder was Xmas No.1 in 2000, and Mr Blobby in 1993. AQA thinks Mr Blobby was the worst No.1 single ever.

---and finally

Q: How can I get out of going to the in-laws at Xmas?
AQA: Surprise your wife by staying in a lovely hotel on the 25th that will get you out of going to the in-laws' and everyone will think you're romantic too.

Q: Please tell me a xmas joke
AQA: What do elves learn in school? The elf-abet. What Christmas Carol do parents like? Silent Night. Why has Santa 3 gardens? So he can hoe hoe hoe.

--a few non xmas ones for good luck

Q: Whatís the right way to crack a boiled egg?
AQA: Under an arcane law set up Edward VI, you must break an egg at the round end otherwise you will be sentenced to 24 hours in the village stocks.

Q. What sport should I take up?
AQA: A law from the middle ages states that all English males over the age 14 are to carry out 2 or so hours of longbow practice a week supervised by the local clergy.

Q. Can I take a cow to the pub?
AQA: You can take the cow to the pub but don't get drunk, under an arcane law it's illegal to be drunk and in possession of a cow.

Q. Why do men have nipples?
AQA: (Sorry, you'll have to text 63336 to find out)

Submitted by:Paul Cockerton
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