Christmas Around the World By: Aidan Foster

Germany
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
St.Nick is a jolly old man who comes around riding a White horse or mule and sees if you are sleeping and gives you presents if you are good and Krampus comes if you are bad
Great Britian
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe are also sometimes used to decorate homes or other buildings.
Christmas crackers—also known as bon-bons—are part of Christmas celebrations primarily in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper with a prize in the central chamber, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, which causes the cracker to split unevenly, with one person holding the centre chamber of the cracker where the prizes are contained.[1] The split is accompanied by a mild bang or snapping sound produced by the effect of friction on a shock-sensitive, chemically-impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun).[1] One chemical used for the friction strip is silver fulminate.[2]
France
Yule Logs made out of Cherry Wood are often burned in French homes. The log is carried into the home on Christmas Eve and is sprinkled with red wine to make the log smell nice when it is burning. There is a custom that the log and candles are left burning all night with some food and drinks left out in case Mary and the baby Jesus come past during the night.
The Twelfth Night cake was made with dried fruits in season and spices. According to Maria Hubert, author of Jane Austen’s Christmas, “These represented the exotic spices of the East, and the gifts of the Wise Men . Such things were first brought to Europe and Britain particularly, by the Crusaders coming back from the wars in the Holy Land in the 12th century…Twelfth night is on the 5th January, and has been for centuries the traditional last day of the Christmas season. It was a time for having a great feast, and the cake was an essential part of the festivities. In Great Houses, into the cake was baked a dried Bean and a Pea;
Spain
In Spain there is a legend that there was 2 roosters so baby Jesus was born in a stable and the first rooster was flying onto the stable and squawked "" (lords son is born) and then the second came and squawked (in Bethlehem).
Most people in Spain go to Midnight Mass or 'La Misa Del Gallo' (The Mass of the Rooster). It is called this because a rooster is supposed to have crowed the night that Jesus was born. Most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before the service. The traditional Spanish Christmas dinner is 'Pavo Trufado de Navidad' which is Turkey stuffed with truffles (the mushrooms, not the chocolate ones!) In Galicia (a region in north-west Spain, surrounded by water) the most popular meal for Christmas Eve and for Christmas Day is seafood. This can be all kinds of different seafood, from shellfish and mollusks, to lobster and small edible crabs
Italian
La Befana is the Xmas witch that brings presents to the good children and if the children are bad they will get either a switch or a lump of coal.
Italian children usually to wait till January 6 to get their Xmas presents and that is called Epiphany but the parents get their presents on December 25! A little unfair, right?
Netherlands
Sinterclaas is the Netherlands Santa Claus and comes to dutch houses in November so he can know what presents they want.
In the Netherlands the dutch children leave their shoes by the fireplace and make it easier for sinter klaas to put presents in their shoes wait aren't their shoes wooden they are going to burn uh oh.
Scandinavia
In Scandinavia they make rice pudding that has a almond in it and the lucky person who finds the almond will be married in the new coming year.
In Denmark, the grownups would open the door to the room housing the Christmas tree and let the children see the decorated tree with all the candles burning. Everyone danced around the tree and sang carols. (I have a CD of Danish Christmas music if you want to know the name). In our house, we light the tree candles, have a fire extinguisher handy, and keep the kids far away from the tree. We don’t keep the candles burning for very long. If you were Swedish, on Christmas morning you went to church at 5:30 to greet the sun while the Danes slept in. After church, the Swedes opened their gifts, ate ham for dinner and then took a nap. The Danes had another smorgasbord on Christmas and then continued to party for second Christmas day or Anden Juledag.
Switzerland
Poland
Star man is Poland's Santa Claus and instead of elves he has star boys that usually come as animals.
In Poland the most important symbol in Poland the polish celebration begins in earnest when the first star is seen.

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