How the world celebrates Christmas
There are lovely traditions for Christmas used in many countries around the world to celebrate the holidays. These traditions are as unique and intriguing as the cultures and the countries that use them. Many of these customs are being blended with those of other countries to create beautiful memories for children and adults alike. Let’s take a look at a few of these beloved Christmas traditions.
The United States recognizes Christmas as officially occurring on December the 25th. Christmas Eve is also celebrated. The Christmas holiday is celebrated by putting up trees, decorations, and lights. Gifts are purchased and wrapped with beautiful paper and trimmed with shiny bows and ribbons. This holiday is also accompanied with a traditional feast, which may include turkey, pies, vegetables and all of the trimmings. It is frequently said that if a child misbehaves continuously they will find coal and switches on Christmas morning instead of the toys and trinkets that they wish for!
On Christmas Eve, December 24th, children leave biscuits and milk for Santa to snack on when he arrives. This is done so that he has food for his long journey around the world delivering children's christmas presents to all good kids. Many children leave snacks for Santa’s reindeer as well. Children also go to bed early as they have been told that Santa will not come and until each child is fast asleep.
In Germany, it is common for people to decorate their houses, place electric candles in their windows, and display a manger scene outside of their homes with Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, and several animals. The German tradition calls for the (Weihnachten) Christmas season to start with the first Sunday of the Advent. Many times an Adventskranz is also displayed in a prominent location. This is a wreath of leaves with four candles. The Adventskranz signifies that this is the four-week period before Christmas. Stollen and Platzchen are prepared. These are wonderful baked goods with strong ties to Christmas.
Families also look forward to gingerbread houses and nutcrackers (Nussknacker) being prepared and displayed Father Christmas will come to deliver the presents in the late afternoon on December 24th after a church meeting. The presents will all be found under the tree. A member of the family rings a bell and calls everyone into the room to unwrap the gifts. On Christmas day, a large and festive meal is prepared. This may well include a fish or a goose and many other delicacies. The Christmas season is a time of festive foods and baked goods for Germans.
In Hungary, it is Uncle Mikulas who arrives on the 6th day of December. He arrives and he makes rounds in schools and stores much like the American Santa. This day is known as Mikulas Nap. There is also the custom for children to clean their shoes and place them outside the door before going to bed. For the ones who have been well behaved, candies and toys in small red bags are found in their shoes. For children who don’t behave, a little bundle of twigs or switches may be left for them.
The Christmas tree in Hungary is put up on the 24th of December and all of the family is involved. Tree decorations will include candles and sparklers and special holiday candies. These candies are called Szaloncukor and they are chocolate with marzipan and flavored jellies inside. These candies are placed in brightly colored red, green, or gold foil wrappers and have decorative ribbons and bows. Lights are not used outside or in the streets, but will be used inside a house for decoration.
Merry Christmas in Japan is Kurisumasu Omedeto. Christmas is a commercial time of celebration in Japan and it is not a holiday at all. There is a Santa Claus type figure that brings gifts to the boys and girls and he is called Hoteiosho. He is said to have eyes in the back of his head to watch children’s behavior and he has a giant sack filled with presents.
This is an original news article © The Kids Window