A Star Shaped Flower That Blooms In The Fall Christmas From Around the World

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Christmas From Around the World

Christmas is both a religious holiday and a secular holiday heavily influenced by local culture. As a result, the world is as culturally diverse as Christmas traditions are.

For example, in the United States, Christmas traditions are literally a potpourri of Christmas traditions brought by immigrants, mostly Europeans. For example, Yule Log (English), Christmas Tree (German), Carols or Knowles (France), Santa Claus (Dutch). In recent times, new Christmas traditions have come with the most recent immigrants such as Lumineers (Mexico) and “Feliz Navidad!” Greetings (usually Latin America).

What follows is a whirlwind tour of some fun and different Christmas traditions from around the world.

Africa

Christmas traditions in Africa are culturally rich and diverse. In Ghana, on Christmas Eve children walk the streets singing Christmas carols and shouting “Christ is coming, Christ is coming! He is near!” is marked as such. Church services are held on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Following church services, family and close friends celebrate a meal of fufu, a pastime made of rice and yam, stew or okra soup, porridge and meat.

Oil palms decorated with bells are used for Christmas trees in Liberia. On Christmas Day, friends and family exchange simple gifts, such as cotton cloth, soap, sweets, pencils and books. Christmas morning church services usually include a re-enactment of the first Christmas. Christmas dinner, consisting of rice, beef and biscuits, is held outdoors. Friends and family enjoy games and fireworks at night.

Asia

While the people and cultures of Asia distanced themselves from Christianity and its Christmas traditions, indigenous Asian Christians have uniquely blended their Christianity with their local cultures. For example, Christmas (Holy Nativity) in China has many traditional Christmas symbols. Chinese Christian families decorate the Christmas tree or Tree of Light with red paper chains (red is the color of happiness in Chinese cultures), lanterns and flowers. The children eagerly await the arrival of Dun Che Lao Ren, which means “Christmas Old Man” in Chinese. When local law permits, Asian Christians gather in churches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Although the majority of Asians are not Christians, secular aspects of Western Christmas traditions (Christmas trees and presents) have become fashionable among many Asian middle and upper classes. Throughout Asia at Christmas time, you can find large department stores decorated with Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and the occasional Santa Claus.

Europe

Since many American Christmas traditions originated in Europe, an American will find him or herself at home in Christmas celebrations throughout Europe. Of course, many Christmas traditions from England have been adopted in America – mistletoe, Yule logs, Christmas carols (“Hark! The Herald Angel Sings”, “Deck the Halls”), carolers, Christmas stories (Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”), roasted chestnuts. , wassel, stockings hanging by the chimney.

But England also has unique Christmas traditions – chestnut stuffing with turkey at Christmas dinner, roast goose with currants, Yorkshire pudding, Christmas cake. On Christmas Day, the Queen sends Christmas wishes over radio and television. Perhaps the most confusing day for their American cousins ​​is Boxing Day, the day before Christmas when people give small gifts to service providers and tradespeople with whom they interact throughout the year.

Every European country has its own unique Christmas traditions as well as traditions shared with other Western cultures. In Germany, children enthusiastically count the days before Christmas with an Advent calendar. In Holland, children await the arrival of Sinterklaas on St. Nicholas Day, December 6, with a letterbanket, a cake in the shape of the first letter of the family’s surname. In Sweden, Christmas celebrations begin with Saint Lucia Day, the patron saint of light, on December 13. On the morning of Saint Lucia Day, the eldest daughter of a Swedish family dresses up as the “Queen of Light” (wearing a long white dress and crown of leaves). She goes to each family member’s bedroom and gives them a feast.

Latin America

La Navidad (Christmas) is a colorful, exciting holiday across Latin America. While the festival has changed greatly, religious significance is still central to the festival. Mexico is a typical example of a focus on the original Christmas story. In Las Posadas, Mexico, a nine-day reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem begins Dec. 16. For the next 8 evenings, celebrants go door-to-door with two children dressed with images of Mary and Joseph to search for the abode of Mary and Joseph. On Christmas Eve (Buena Noche), children lead a procession to the local church and place Mary and Joseph in the nacimiento (creche or manger). Bells and fireworks are rung in the church at midnight.

Poinsettias, piñatas, farolitos (luminaries) and tamales are all a joyous part of the Christmas season in Mexico. Poinsettias, with their red star-shaped flowers, decorate Mexican homes and serve as a reminder of the child who went to church to see the nativity scene but had no gift for the Christ child. On his way he saw some small green branches which he brought as a gift and wore as a nativity scene. Some people laughed at his honest, but humble gift. However, these small branches soon bloomed with beautiful red poinsettias flowers.

During the Christmas season and on Christmas Day, piñatas, papier-mâché Christmas figures and symbols, are filled with sweets and suspended in the air by ropes, while blindfolded children try to break them with sticks. When the piñata is broken, candy spills onto the floor and children scramble to retrieve as much as possible.

January 6 (Day of the Three Kings or Wise Men) marks the end of the nearly month-long Christmas celebration throughout Latin America. In Mexico, on the eve of January 5, children leave their shoes on the windowsill and find them filled with candy and small gifts the next morning. In Venezuela, children leave straws next to their beds on January 5th and find the straws replaced by gifts the next morning.

No matter where you visit in the world, a merry and colorful Christmas celebration awaits. Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Froehliche Weinnachten, Mele Kalikimka!

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