Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace. Sadly, a great many devastating things have happened on Christmas Day. For people around the world, it’s the one time to be with family, the one time for hope, and love, and thanksgiving. Unfortunately, as we’ll soon find out, that hasn’t always been the case. Some people have experienced disturbing and horrible events on this holy day, drastically changing their lives for the worse. Instead of presents wrapped in cheerfully decorated paper, they received misery wrapped in more misery with a bow of despair. That’s dark. I know. I’m laying it on thick because this list isn’t for the faint of heart. So, get out the tissues and prepare yourself for some of the most shocking Christmas tragedies Ever.
The Bam Earthquake
On the December 26th 2003, a powerful 6.7 earthquake (according to the United States Geological Survey) rocked the ancient Iranian city of Bam. Even though the earthquake only lasted about 8 seconds, it managed to kill over 26,000 people and destroyed around 70 to 90 percent of the residential areas.
Boxing Day Tsunami
Speaking of earthquakes, in 2004 one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded at 9.1 on the richter scale triggered one of the most devastating flooding events ever. The Boxing Day Tsunami ended the lives of nearly 230,000 people in a matter of hours. Places like the city of Banda Aceh were engulfed in 100-foot walls of rolling water. Buildings stood no chance against such destructive force.
The Christmas Train Crash
Considered one of New Zealand’s worst train crashes ever, this catastrophe took place on the Christmas holiday of 1953. Somewhere around 10:30 PM on Christmas Eve, an express passenger train carrying about 285 people passed onto a bridge above the Whangaehu River. However, no one noticed that a flash flood had washed away the bridge’s supports a few minutes prior. Sadly, as the train crossed the bridge, the structure gave way, plunging all five second-class carriages, and one first-class carriage, into the river. In all, 151 people were killed.
The Christmas Race War
It’s sad that a holiday like Christmas can be tainted by racist hate, but alas, it can. A perfect example happened a few days before the Christmas of 1896 where the citizens of Mayfield, KY witnessed a flat-out Christmas Race War between white citizens and African Americans. Roughly 250 armed African Americans sought revenge for the lynching of Jim Stone among other racial injustices. So, they took to the streets with violence. White people were encouraged to stay in their homes as bullets filled the streets. Surprisingly, only three people died.
The Christmas Cyclone
Christmas day of 1974 witnessed the most destructive cyclone to ever hit Australia. Cyclone Tracy barreled through the unsuspecting city of Darwin destroying roughly 70 percent of the town. The devastating cyclone killed an estimated 71 people and left $500-600 million dollar worth of damage (that would be about 2.5 to 3 billion dollars today). Roughly 30,000 people were left homeless with only six percent of the houses still standing.