Christmas is one holiday that is celebrated together by many different countries. During this time, people from all over the world could feel the happiness pervading in the atmosphere. It is a season where sharing and getting together is valued much more than any day of the year. There is no denying that it is one of the most anticipated annual celebrations.
Each country may have differences in celebrating Christmas with regard to customs and practices, though. Let us take a look at how some countries welcome and celebrate this time of the year.
One major factor that influences how Christmas is celebrated in Australia is the climate. It is summer in the land down under during this time of the year, which makes it extra special for children. This means end of the school year, allowing them to fully enjoy the season. Because of the weather, family gatherings are usually done in backyards, gardens, picnics in parks, and on the beach. You are most likely to find seafood, cold chicken, duck or turkey, and fruit salads in these gatherings.
Trivia: The first official Christmas in Australia was celebrated on December 25, 1788, at Sydney Cove by Reverend Johnson.
Feliz Natal! That is how Brazilians say “Merry Christmas.”
One notable Christmas practice in Brazil is creating a nativity scene or Presepio. It comes from the Hebrew word ‘presepium,’ which means the bed of straw upon which Jesus first slept in Bethlehem. Another is attending the Midnight Mass, which finishes at 1 a.m. on Christmas morning. Furthermore, Brazil’s gift-bringer is Papai Noel or Father Noel. It is believed that he arrives in the country wearing silk clothing because of the summer heat.
Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan! That is ‘Merry Christmas’ in Mandarin.
During Christmas, Christians in China light their homes with paper lanterns. Also, they decorate their Christmas trees or Trees of Light with paper chains, paper flowers, and paper lanterns. Chinese children call their gift-bringer Dun Che Lao Ren, which means Christmas Old Man.
The Nativity scene or creche can be found on almost every French home on Christmas. Santons or little saints are little clay figures that crowd the creche. Moreover, the grand feast of the season is called le rveillon, which is a very late supper held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Almost always present in the feast is the ‘bunche de Nol’ or Christmas Log, which is a traditional Yule log-shaped cake.
The gift bringer is Pere Noel, who travels with Pre Fouettard. It is believed that the latter reminds Pere Noel of each child’s behavior during the past year.
In Greece, Christmas trees are not common. The main Christmas symbol in Greek homes, on the other hand, is a shallow wooden bowl with a piece of wire suspended across the rim. A sprig of basil wrapped around a wooden cross hangs from the piece of wire. To keep the basil fresh, a small amount of water is kept in the bowl. The cross and basil is dipped into holy water by a family member, and it is then used to sprinkle water in each room of the house, thus keeping the Killantzaroi (species of goblin and sprites) away from the house.
Another scene that can be seen in Greece on Christmas is a group of village children travelling from one house to another; they sing the ‘kalanda,’ the equivalent of carols. As a reward, the children are usually given sweets and dried fruits.
Indeed, besides giving gifts, sending Christmas cards, and setting up Christmas trees, there are many different ways Christmas is celebrated around the world.
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