Christmas Traditions around the World
Christmas traditions around the world are a reflection of the local, social and religious practices prevailing in that part. No matter where in the world Christmas is celebrated, one thing that remains common throughout is the very essence and spirit of joy the celebration. Everywhere Christmas is the time for family, prayers, fun, music, songs, food and decoration. Let us try to take a brief look at Christmas celebrations across the globe.
Christmas Tradition in Australia
In Australia, Christmas falls during the summer time unlike many other countries that fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Australians can be seen shopping for Christmas wearing shorts and other summer clothes; Santa comes to town riding a surf board. Carols are sung by the candle light on Christmas Eve where thousands of people gather in Melbourne and sing their favorite Christmas hymns. People gather around Christmas Bush, a local plant with small red flowered leaves. By evening the sky is lit with lots of candles and it resembles a mirror. Families go on picnics and most of them have the traditional Christmas dinner on the beach.
Christmas Tradition in Brazil
Christmas celebration in Brazil includes many Christmas traditions from around the world. Creating the Christmas Nativity scene called Presépio is very popular in Brazil, especially in the northeastern part. Folk plays called Los Pastores or The Shepherd is enacted during the festivities. In the Brazilian version of the play, it is a shepherdess instead of a shepherd and a gypsy who tries to kidnap baby Jesus. Father Christmas is known as Papai Noel and Brazilian children believe that he lives in Greenland, so when he comes laden with gifts he is supposed to be wearing clothes made of silk due to the summer heat. Christmas dinner traditionally consists of ham, colored rice, turkey and vegetable and fruit dishes as well.
Christmas Tradition in Canada
As part of the Christmas celebration in Canada, a huge winter festival called sinck tuck is celebrated in some parts. Eskimos celebrate this festival by dancing and exchanging gifts. Sometimes turnips are saved from the summer harvest and given to children with a candle put inside the hollow hole. During the twelve days of Christmas, small groups called masked mummers come out in the neighborhood; they ring bells, make a lot of noise and go about seeking candies and other treats from the neighbors. Hosts try to guess the people inside the masks and if they are successful, they have to reveal their faces. Enacting the nativity scene is another tradition in Canada which is very popular.
Christmas in Denmark
Christmas is Denmark is an occasion for everyone to have fun and join in the merry making to celebrate the occasion. Santa is known as Julemanden and he is supposed to arrive to the country with bag full of gifts in a sledge pulled by reindeers. Children leave glasses of milk and cookies for Santa and his followers to eat when they come visiting their houses with gifts. Every Sunday during advent, guests are invited to join in the lighting of candles on the advent crown. On this occasion children drink sweet fruit juice while adults drink a warm mixture of red wine, raisins and spice.
Christmas Tradition in Sweden
Christmas celebration in Sweden begins with the Saint Lucia ceremony. At dawn on the morning of 13th December, the oldest daughter of the family dons a white robe with a red sash and a crown of evergreens which is attached with tall lighted candles. The daughter wakes up her parents and serves them with buns and coffee accompanied by the other children. Santa is known as Tomte in Sweden and he is seen as a genome that comes from under the floor of the house carrying a sack full of bags for children. Julkapp is another custom in Sweden, where a gift is wrapped in many layers of paper. After this someone knocks on the door of a house and leaves the gifts there, it is believed that the longer it takes to open the gifts the better it is.
Christmas in France
Christmas celebration in France involves children leaving their shoes by the fireplace expecting it to be filled with gifts by Pere Noel. French children get to open their gifts on Christmas Day, while adults have to wait till the New Year to see their gift. In churches and cathedrals the scene of the birth of Christ is reenacted with the help of prayers and puppets. The puppets and clay figures are dressed with the popular regional clothes in the nativity scene of Christ.