Christmas around the World

Germany

In the early 16th century some people in Germany combined two customs that were in different countries around the globe. The Evergreen tree represented the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. The tree was decorated with a light, a small triangle shaped frame, usually decorated with glass balls, tinsel, and a candle on top of the tree. The candle was a symbol of the birth of Christ, and as the light of the world. The Germans created the tree that many of us know now as our Christmas tree at home. Today, the Evergreen tree or our Christmas tree is traditionally decorated with lights, tinsel, and ornaments instead of a light, a small frame, glass balls, tinsel, and a candle

Great Britian

Christmas crackers are a traditional favorite Christmas treat in the UK.They were first made in about 1845 to 1850 by a London candy maker named Tom Smith. He had seen the French bon bon sweets and decided to sell them. Then he had tried selling the sweets like that in England and also included a riddle with the sweet. But they didn't sell very well.One night while he was sitting in front of his log fire he became very interested with the sparks and cracking noises coming from the fire. Then he thought that a fun idea would be if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack when their wrappers were pulled in half.Crackers were originally called cosaques and were named after the Cossack soldiers who had a reputation for riding on their horses and firing guns into the air. When Tom died his cracker business was taken over by his three sons Tom, Walter and Henry. Walter introduced hats into the crackers and he also traveled around the world looking for new ideas for gifts to put in the crackers. The company worked up themed crackers. There were ones for bachelors and spinsters (single men and women), where the gifts were things like false teeth and wedding rings! The Crackers were also made for the royal were also made for special occasions like Coronations. The Christmas Crackers that are used today are short cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful paper. There is normally a Cracker next to each plate on the Christmas dinner table. When the crackers are pulled, with a bang a crown hat, a toy or gift and a festive joke falls out.

France

The First Noel is a traditional classical English Christmas carol. Noel is an Early Modern English synonym of Christmas. It has a Cornish origin, and it was first published in 1823 by Gilbert and Sandys Carols.Most people in Spain go to Midnight Mass or La Misa Del Gallo. 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 not the chocolate ones, mushrooms. In Galicia which is a region in northwest 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.

Italy

The legend of La Befana began thousands of years ago and still remains to this day a italian tradition practised by Italian children and their families. As the story goes one day three Magi left their country bearing special gifts of gold, incense and myrrh for the Jesus Christ. They were guided by a star across many countries. At every village that they passed people ran to meet them and stay with them on their journey. But there was one old woman who did not join the Magi. She claimed to be too busy with her housework and promised to join them later when she had time. The next day she realized her mistake and frantically ran after the Magi with gifts for the child, still clutching her broom. But it was too late, the Magi were long gone.Ever since then the old woman has been known as La Befana or Befana. On the eve of January 6th La Befana flies from house to house on her old broomstick and delivers all the gifts she didn’t give to the child of jesus to good girls and boys. But if some girls and boys have been behaving badly she fills their stocking with garlic coal and onions.

Panettone is a traditional cake filled with candied fruit that is very popular during the holiday season it is also a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan but is prepared and enjoyed on Christmas in Italy.

Netherlands

For most children in The Netherlands the most important day during December is the 5th of December when Sinterklaas brings them their presents.Up until his birthday celebration children leave their shoes near the fireplace at night and fill them with hay and carrots for Sinterklaas's horse. Sinterklaas does not leave money but he does leave chocolate or little presents they can always be found the next morning, unless the child have been naughty. In which case they will receive a note that if he or she doesn’t clean up his or her act there will be no presents on December 5th and even worse Sinterklaas may take the child with him back to Spain in his burlap sack or put you in a sack and beat you with a rod

Black Peter is a Dutch like elf figure that appears weeks before Christmas in The Netherlands. He is a sidekick for his leader Sinterklass. He sings, dances and plays with the children when he appears. Black Peter also arrives on a boat from Madrid, Spain giving candy to the children. It is Black Peter’s job to work for SinterKlaas. He listening into the chimneys for the good and bad children. He carries a rod and a sack to take the bad children away. Black Peter is black-faced dressed in a colorful dress with a feather in his cap, gold jewelry and red lips.

Poland

Sometimes straw is put on the floor or under table cloth, to remind people that Jesus was born in a stable or cow shed.

On Christmas Eve when dinner is over the childern open their presants. You HAVE to wait after dinner to open your presants. Also you have to finish your dinner. Older members of the family who traditionally begin and end the meal always make it last a long time. In most of the houses, before the presents are opened, the family sings carols together

Russia

Grandfather Frost brings presents to children with his granddaughter . On New Year's eve children hold hands and make a circle around the Christmas tree and call for Grandfather frost. When they appear the star and other lights on the Christmas tree light up! Also Grandfather frost carries a big magic staff.

Their Christmas tree is usually decorated with, apples, candy, dolls, oranges ornaments and fabric.

Mexico

The poinsettian is known for its red and green color and is used in Christmas floral displays. Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced the plant to the US in 1825. Also the shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ.

United States

Santa Clause brings gifts to good boys on Christmas eve which is December 24. On Christmas which is December 25th the boys and girls open their presants and stockings. If some boys and girls are being bad Santa gives them coal.

Credits:

Created with images by Thomas Depenbusch - "Attendorn, Germany" • guanabarino - "panettone bread raisins"

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