In celebration of Christmas, I thought it would be fun to see how Christmas is celebrated outside the United States and Canada. I found the following information at http://www.santas.net/aroundtheworld.htm. There are far more countries’ traditions listed on that page if you want to read about them.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.
Christmas in Australia is often very hot. Whereas the northern hemisphere is in the middle of winter, Australians are baking in summer heat.
The warm weather allows Australians to enjoy a tradition which commenced in 1937. Carols by Candlelight is held every year on Christmas Eve, where tens of thousands of people gather in the city of Melbourne to sing their favorite Christmas songs. The evening is lit by as many candles singing under a clean cut night sky. The sky with its Southern Cross stars is like a mirror. Australians surround themselves with Christmas Bush, a native plant which has little red flowered leaves.
On the Eve of Christmas everyone goes to church wearing a completely new outfit. The Christmas service ends at midnight with the ringing of church bells, and then people go home to eat a special Christmas meal known as fata, which consists of bread, rice, garlic and boiled meat.
On Christmas morning people in Egypt visit friends and neighbors. They take with them kaik which is a type of shortbread, which they take with them to give to the people they visit and eaten with a drink known as shortbat. Christmas Day is a public holiday for Christians.
Only 1 per cent of Japanese people believe in Christ. Even so, most Japanese people decorate their stores and homes with evergreens during Christmas.
They enjoy giving each other gifts, and this is the part they celebrate. A Buddhist monk called Hotei-osho acts like Santa Claus and brings presents to each house for the children. Some think he has eyes in the back of his head, so children try to behave like he is nearby.
Among the Japanese Christians, Christmas is not a day for the family. They do not have turkey or plum pudding. Instead the day is spent doing nice things for others especially those who are sick in hospitals.
The Welsh are great lovers of music and so every year at Christmas, carol singing is the most enjoyed activity. In the churches, they are sung to the harp. They are sung in people's homes around the Christmas tree and at the doors and windows of the houses.
Taffy making is one of the most important of the Welsh Christmas traditions, which is a special kind of chewy toffee from brown sugar and butter. The Christmas goose is also essential.
Most homes have an oil palm for a Christmas tree, which is decorated with bells. On Christmas morning, people are woken up by carols. Presents such as cotton cloth, soap, sweets, pencils, and books are exchanged. A church service is held in the morning during which the Christmas scene is enacted and hymns and carols are sung. Dinner is eaten outdoors with everyone sitting in a circle to share the meal of rice, beef and biscuits. Games are played in the afternoon, and at night fireworks light up the sky.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all my friends and associates (and everyone who may read this post) a wonderful Christmas - and a great holiday season! Whatever you are celebrating during the winter season, I hope it is your best ever!
May we all enjoy a healthy, safe, happy and prosperous 2014!