Greeting of Merry Christmas
Around Christmas time in Sweden, one of the biggest celebrations is St. Lucia's Day (or St. Lucy's Day) on December 13th. The celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden.
The Yule Log
The 12 Days of Christmas
Epiphany - After Christmas
One legend in Bulgaria is that Mary started her labor on 'Ignazhden', December 20th (Saint Ignatius of Antioch's Day) and she gave birth of Christmas Eve but the birth of Jesus wasn't announced until Christmas Day. The 20th is also the traditional 'new year' in Bulgarian culture. It's traditional to eat a special ring shaped caked called 'kolaks' on this day.
Three wise men
Star of Bethlehem
The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6th. On this day it also celebrates the Epiphany (which means the revelation that Jesus was God's son). Epiphany is now mainly the time Churches remember the Visit of the of Wise Men to Jesus.
A tradition that's becoming popular, on Christmas Eve, is giving apples. Many stores have apples wrapped up in colored paper for sale. People give apples on Christmas Eve because in Chinese Christmas Eve is called "Ping'an Ye" (平安夜), meaning peaceful or quiet evening, which has been translated from the carol 'Silent Night'. The word for apple in Mandarin is "píngguǒ" (苹果) which sounds like the word for peace.
'White Christmas' with Snow and Ice
St. Nicholas & Santa Claus
Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is more of a religious festival than being commercial. Christmas Eve is very important with Churches having big musical evenings (many churches have at least 5 or 6 choirs) and a nativity play. These plays last a very long time. They start at the beginning of the evening with the creation and the Garden of Eden and end with the story of King Herod killing the baby boys.
People taking part in the play really like to show off their 'best' acting skills and tend to go over the top and 'ham it up'!
Christmas is a very social time in Trinidad and Tobago with most people having parties. Both children and adults go from house to house between neighbors and relatives for food and drink. Most people paint and make repairs to their houses and hang new curtains and decorations (especially lights) for Christmas. Often, this is the time that most people buy new electrical appliances and furniture. Most families spend Christmas Day at home with friends and family members.
Sleigh rides and sleigh bells
Gift & Presents
Christmas in Ukraine is celebrated on the 7th January is because, like many countries where the main Church is the Orthodox Church, they use the old 'Julian' calendar for their church festivals.
Holly and the Ivy
Christmas Stockings hung by the fireplace
A big part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany is Advent. Advent calendars are used in German homes. The traditional one is made of a wreath of Fir tree branches with 24 decorated boxes or bags hanging from it. Each box or bag has a little present in it.
The Colors of Christmas
In Argentina preparations for Christmas begin very early in December and even in November. Many people in Argentina are Catholic and they also celebrate Advent. Houses are beautifully decorated with lights and wreaths of green, gold, red and white flowers. Red and white garlands are hung on the doors of houses.
Christmas has only been widely celebrated in Japan for the last few decades. It's still not seen as a religious holiday or celebration as there aren't many Christians in Japan. Fried chicken is often eaten on Christmas day. It is the busiest time of year for restaurants such as KFC and people can place orders at their local fast food restaurant in advance!
Christmas or Xmas?
In Ghana, Christmas Eve night is the time when the celebrations really start with Church services that have drumming and dancing. Children often put on a Nativity Play or other drama. Then choirs come out to sing and people come out in front of the priests to dance. Songs are mostly sang in the languages that the people understand best (Over 66 languages are spoken in Ghana). This makes them feels that God speaks their language. Sometimes these services and dancing go on all night long!
The Star of Bethlehem
Wassailing and Mumming
Christmas trees in Indonesia are normally artificial ones made of plastic. Although less common, some people have real Pine trees to be decorated as Christmas trees. The biggest producer of 'real' tress is located in Puncak, West Java. Another special type of Christmas tree are ones made from chicken feathers - made by people in their homes on Bali island. These feather trees have been exported to different countries around the world.
And a happy new year!
For most people in Zimbabwe, Christmas day starts with a Church service. After the Church service, everyone has a party in their homes and people go from house to house, visiting all of their family and friends on the way home! Sometimes, this can take all of the rest of the day! At every house you have something to eat, exchange presents and enjoy the party.
"and peace on earth, good will toward men"
Christmas means a lot of things. The list includes some but not all of the meanings that have become attached to Christmas over the years. Lots of tradition has been added through time. Why on the 25th of December when we know that is not the right date?
of Various Subjects