The Magic of Christmas Around the World
Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas, the most important day of the year, when Jesus Christ was born.
If you are celebrating the Sheng Dan Jieh festival in China or Pere Noel in France, the atmosphere is magical everywhere. Let’s have a look at the various Christmas traditions in countries across the globe such as England, Sweden, China, Australia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Holland and lots more.
In Australia, the 25th day of December falls during summer holidays and a good number of the country’s festivities are taking place outdoors. Carols by Candlelight is the most important event, with people coming together at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols. The stars above and the sounds of trumpets and drums make these concerts memorable.
The small communities of Christians in China call Christmas Sheng Dan Jieh, which literally means The Holy Birth Festival. They decorate the houses, shops and places of work with evergreen posters, bright red paper chains, splendid flowers, magnificent lanterns, and Christmas trees during this period.
A day before the 25th of December, families in England are usually very busy wrapping presents, baking cookies, cooking and hanging stockings around the fire place. Later at night, everyone sits around the Christmas tree or close to the fire place as someone volunteers to entertain them with a classic holiday stories. Kids write letters to Santa with their wishes and toss them into the fire with the expectations that their wishes will travel up the chimney to Santa. Then they go to sleep anxious about the Christmas Day presents.
Christmas celebrations in France start on the 5th day of December known as Saint Nicholas Eve; with Christmas Eve being the most celebrated day. The atmosphere is usually full of sounds of church bells and French carols, known as Noels. Families attend church service on Christmas Day and after they feast on varieties of meals such as the traditional buche de Noel, Yule log and lots more.
The Germans prepare for Christmas all through December. Four Sundays before Christmas, an Advent bouquet of pine branches made up of four colored candles. Each Sunday, candles are being light, and one can hear Christmas songs everywhere. Few weeks before Christmas, homes are filled with aromas of well baked loaves, cakes and properly spiced cookies known as lebkuchen.
Christmas in Holland starts on the 6th day of every December (St. Nicholas Day) with the expectations of the arrival of Sinterklass. Sinterklass is an amicable bishop usually dressed in red robes with a pointed mitre hanging over his head. Every winter, he travels from Spain to Amsterdam by ship along with lots of gifts for children. Families commemorate Saint Nicholas Eve at home with lots of food, hot chocolates and cakes baked with the initials of the family’s last name.
Christmas in Italy, commences on the first Sunday of Advent, which is some four days before Christmas with lots of Christmas fairs. There are fireworks, bonfires, and lovely Christmas carols. Families set up Christmas trees and decorate them all up beautifully. Markets and shops are filled with Christmas gifts and everyone, young and old participate in novena masses every morning and evening.
During Christmas season in Mexico, the weather is usually warm. Families go shopping, eat out and visit the various market stalls known as puestos, located all over the region. They also decorate their homes with lilies, lanterns, farolitos, and evergreen. Candles are placed along footpaths, rooftops, lintels and walls.
Christmas celebration in Spain commences on December 8, with a feast of the Immaculate Conception. The churches, shops, and market places are all decorated. Tambourines, mini-guitars, gourd rattles, and castanets are sold to add some flavor to the dancing in the streets. Children walk in their neighborhood visiting homes and singing Christmas songs in exchange of gifts.
In Sweden – Christmas festivities start from the 13th day of December with the celebration of the patron saint of light known as Saint Lucia. The eldest daughter in each family wakes up before dawn and dresses in a long white dress. She also wears a crown of leaves after which she proceeds to serve each member of the family with a cup of coffee. The younger children also assist in carrying out various house chores. The whole family then proceeds to picking the right Christmas tree for their home, two days before Christmas.
Here we go, every year the magic of Christmas will continue to enchant many generations to come!