7 Jan /16


Charity – Word of the day - EVS Translations
Charity – Word of the day – EVS Translations

Traditionally, Christmas is the time to share love and warmth with our family and loved ones. We exchange gifts, symbols of our good will, appreciation and gratitude. The act of giving strengthens the hope for a better year ahead of us and the whole mankind.

It is the time to sing the Auld Lang Syne and raise a glass together for old time’s sake. And revising our achievements and growth through the year, hopefully we all find the balance in our actions and make peace with ourselves.

As Christmas is all about kindness and shared love and affection, it comes natural that people become more willing to help others and show compassion and support to their fellow men. And one of the ways to share the festive spirit is through donations and charity.

The word charity has an interesting etymology with its roots in the Latin cartāt-em with the general sense of “dearness, affection”, that later became caritas (love, founded on esteem) as sense especially used in the New Testament and Christianity. From there derives the Old French charite (compassion), which was later adopted into the English language. With other words, in devotional language, charity is Christian love – both God’s love of men and our love of God and other men.

One of the earliest record in English sources dates from circa 1175, from the latest example of the Old English language, the collection on homilies found in a manuscript in the Lamberth Palace Library and known as the Lambeth Homillies.

Charity has also referred to the Christ-like behaviour and mainly the Christian benignity with some of the earliest written references coming from The Wycliffite Bible, 1380s.

In its popular sense today we use charity generally as a synonym of kindness. In the western culture there are the so called charity shops – a fund-raising activity hosted by volunteers who sell donated used goods at competitive prices and all proceeds are directed to the organisation’s charitable cause.

The first written record to mention charity money comes from 1711, from Narcissus Luttrell’s A brief historical relation of State affairs from September, 1678 to April 1714: “There was remaining..of the charity money gathered..upwards of 2000£.”

One of the earliest charity shops in the United Kingdom was that of the Wolverhampton Society of the Blind in 1899. Before that charity bazaars were a thing, firstly reported in the William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic novel Vanity fair, in 1847: “Martha painted flowers exquisitely, and furnished half the charity-bazaars in the county.” The first charity concert in the US was documented in 1864’s diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut.