Naturally when I was a child I wasn’t too impressed by the word “Christmas”. It was an acceptable word, if not too creative. Then when I got into high school we read a Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles IIRC. And they mentioned the holiday Michaelmas (pronounced “mik’l-mus” [short “I”]), Sep. 29, for the Archangel Michael. This peaked my interest a little, because after all, I thought Christmas was the only “-mas”. I now knew there were more. But I didn’t make any conscious effort to uncover them. But they did come up here and there, in books, with random searches in dictionaries, etc.
So far this is the comprehensive list of all the “-mas’s” I have uncovered (I hope I don’t forget any, because I am saying from memory): Candlemas (Feb. 2), Lammas (Aug. 1, in England esp.), Michaelmas (Sept. 29), Hallowmas (an old name for All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1), Martinmas (Nov. 11, the patron saint of reformed drunks interestingly), Christmas (duh), and Childermas (Holy Innocents’ Day, Dec. 28–an “old-fashioned” name). I also once read in a book by an British author “Roodmas”. No further explanation was given. Now the “rood” was another name for the cross of Jesus. But I have no idea when this date is or what exactly it is for–does anyone else know (esp. from Britain):)?
Well, that is my comprehensive list to-date. Did I miss anything? And please tell me if you find this subject interesting too. I find it hard to believe I am the only person fascinated by words–esp. when they are variations on a theme.
Thank you in advance to all who reply:)