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Monday, October 15, 2007

Christmas Traditions Around The World


Christmas lights, wreaths, snowmen, and stockings are just some of the things that come to mind when people think about Christmas.

The Christmas holiday in the USA is celebrated with church services, gifts, carols, and food. Although individual families have different traditions, the general celebration is typically the same. Across the world, however, Christmas is celebrated in different ways. For instance, not all children eagerly wait for Santa. In other parts of the world, different Christmas characters are celebrated. Here are some countries that celebrate Christmas in slightly different ways than the USA.

China
Instead of decorating the Christmas tree with glass ball ornaments, the Chinese hang paper ornaments. These ornaments are usually in the shape of lanterns, flowers, and chains of many different colors. Chinese children do not wish for Santa Claus to arrive. Instead, they wait for Christmas Old Man to arrive and fill their stockings with goodies.

Germany
In the USA, typically an exchange of gifts occurs on Christmas Day. In Germany, however, December 6th is the day children wake up to find presents by their door. December 6th is called St. Claus day.

Ireland
Christmas in Ireland is more about religion than gift giving. The women in the house make pudding for Christmas, the Twelfth Night, and New Year. Each person living in the house is also given a seed cake. After the meal, food is left outside an unlocked door to symbolize hospitality.

Mexico
Mexican children are blindfolded on Christmas morning. They are taken to break a piƱata filled with candy. While Mexican children receive gifts on Christmas day, they also get a gift on January 6th from the Three Wise Men.

Italy
On Christmas, Italian family members gather around the Urn of Fate. They take turns drawing empty boxes and presents. Each person receives one gift. At night candles are lit and children recite poems by the candle light.

South Africa
In South Africa, Christmas falls during the summer. The celebration is similar to that of the USA. They decorate with wreaths, sing carols, give gifts, and have a feast. However, meals are usually eaten outdoors and December 26th is also declared a public holiday: Boxing Day.

Families around the world have beautiful Christmas traditions. Learning about different cultures and traditions makes life fuller. The more people learn about other cultures, the more harmonious the world will be.

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