Christmas is celebrated all over the world in a multitude of countries, and each one has its own version of the traditions followed to celebrate this festive season.
There are always lots of celebrations and parties leading up to the 26th itself like in Holland where I live, for both adults and kids. Often someone dresses up as Father Christmas and hand out little presents to the children in advance. Santa Claus is a character recognized and loved by people all over the world, he has a number of names he goes by, in the UK children are more inclined to call him Father Christmas, in Brazil, he’s Papai Noel, in Germany Der Weihnachtsmann, and in Belgium, Sinterklaas.
A figure of good spirit and benevolence he is popular with kids as they believe him to be the one to bring gifts on Christmas Eve. In the UK a stocking is hung from the fireplace, after landing his reindeer’s on the roof he makes his way down the chimney and fill the stockings with gifts. In Hungary, it’s slightly different as Santa comes on December 6th and leaves candy or small toys in the children’s’ shoes.
Christmas dinner is also not the same everywhere and depends on the country you are in as to when it’s eaten and what is eaten. In England, the main meal is eaten at lunchtime on the day itself and consists of turkey and all the trimmings, whilst New Zealander’s munch on a special dish made of salted, dried codfish with boiled potatoes at midnight on Christmas Eve, and then will either have the traditional meal or even a barbeque.
In Germany, they prefer Carp or Goose, and Russian Christmas dishes include cakes, pies, and dumplings with meat. A special meal is served on Christmas Eve in Sweden consisting of ham, herring, and brown beans, and the Finns love to eat rice porridge on Christmas Eve, and for dinner will have something like a casserole with macaroni, carrots, potato, and rutabaga.
The term Christmas tree originates from the German-speaking world, Tannenbaum translates into fir tree, or Weinachtenbaum, Christmas tree. From here the custom was introduced to England by Prince Albert during the sovereignty of Queen Victoria. Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, cactus, and red amaryllis. Christian tradition links the holly tree with a crown of thorns, and the story is that the leaves were white until stained red by the blood of Christ. Along with a Christmas tree, the inside of a home can be adorned with these plants, together with wreaths and evergreen flora.
It’s customary to bedeck the outside of houses with fairy lights and illuminated displays like snowmen, sleighs, and other seasonal figures and some householders go way over the top in their decorations. Local councils often sponsor decorations for the villages and towns they provide services to with banners hung in the streets and Christmas trees sited in the town square. Other traditional decorations comprise of stockings, bells, candy canes, wreaths, candles, and angels.
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