Christmas all around the world

Germany
In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread and gold covered apples. Then glass makers made special small ornaments similar to some of the decorations used today. In 1605 an unknown German wrote: "At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlours of Strasbourg and hang thereon roses cut out of many-colored paper, apples, wafers, gold foil, sweets, etc.".
The tradition of Christmas bakery dates back to the Middle Ages. Monks in medieval monasteries baked specialties to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Recipes for Stollen and Lebkuchen were created in these early days of Christmas baking. However, it took centuries until ordinary families could afford to make the delicious treats. Sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and other spices were quite expensive and sheer luxury.
Great Britain
Christmas crackers are a British tradition dating back to Victorian times when in the early 1850s, London confectioner Tom Smith started adding a motto to his sugared almond bon-bons which he sold wrapped in a twisted paper package. As many of his bon-bons were bought by men to give to women, many of the mottos were simple love poems.
The custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from England. The original custom was that a berry was picked from the sprig of Mistletoe before the person could be kissed and when all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing!
France
A set of statues that represents the scene of Jesus Christ's birth and that is displayed during Christmas.
St. Nicholas was born sometime circa 280 in Patara, Lycia, an area that is part of present-day Turkey. He lost both of his parents as a young man and reportedly used his inheritance to help the poor and sick. A devout Christian, he later served as bishop of Myra, a city that is now called Demre.
Spain
Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar and the Spanish Christmas traditions. The best-loved Spanish Christmas tradition among kids is Los Tres Reyes Magos (the Three Wise Men). Santa Claus is quite well-known as he delivers toys and presents, but the real stars in Spain are los Reyes.
A king cake (sometimes shown as kingcake, kings' cake, king's cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated in a number of countries with the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival.
Italy
The legend of Befana began thousands of years ago and remains to this day a tradition practised by Italian children and their families. As the story goes, one day, the three Magi left their country bearing special gifts of gold, incense and myrrh for the new-born Jesus Christ. They were guided by a star across many countries. At every village that they passed, people ran to meet them and accompany them in 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.
turon or nougat is a confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake.
Sinterklaas is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on 5 December, the night before Saint Nicholas Day in the Northern Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day itself, in the (Roman Catholic) southern provinces, Belgium, Luxembourg and Northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois). He is also well known in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Suriname.
Black Peter is the companion of Saint Nicholas (Dutch: Sinterklaas, Luxembourgian: Kleeschen) in the folklore of the Low Countries. The character first appeared in his current form in an 1850 book by Jan Schliemann, and is commonly depicted as a blackamoor. Traditionally, Zwarte Piet is said to be black because he is a Moor from Spain.[1] Those portraying Zwarte Piet typically put on blackface make-up and colourful Renaissance attire, in addition to curly wigs, red lipstick, and earrings. In recent years, the character has become the subject of controversy, especially in the Netherlands.
Norway
Between Christmas and New Year's Day, people wearing masks and costumes (Julebukkers) would go door to door, where neighbors receiving them attempt to identify who is under the disguise. In one version of Julebukking, people go from door to door singing Christmas songs. After they have sung, they are usually awarded with candy. Another tradition requires that at least one person from the visited household join the band of Julebukkers and continue to the next household.[2] In certain aspects, the custom resembled the modern-day tradition.
The nisse is one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore, and he has appeared in many works of Scandinavian literature. With the romanticisation and collection of folklore during the 19th century, the nisse would gain popularity. In the English editions of the fairy tales of H. C. Andersen the word nisse has been inaccurately translated as goblin (a more accurate translation is brownie or hob).
Switzerland
Christkindl or Christkindel are diminutive versions of Christkind. Christkind and Belsnickel are also found among communities of Volga German descent in Argentina. A well-known figure is the Christkind at the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, which is represented by a young woman chosen every year for this task.
Until Victorian times, Father Christmas was concerned with adult feasting and merry-making. He had no particular connection with children, nor with the giving of presents, nocturnal visits, stockings or chimneys. But as later Victorian Christmases developed into child-centric family festivals, Father Christmas became a bringer of gifts. The popular American myth of Santa Claus arrived in England in the 1850s and Father Christmas started to take on Santa's attributes. By the 1880s the new customs had become established, with the nocturnal visitor sometimes being known as Santa Claus and sometimes as Father Christmas. He was often illustrated wearing a long red hooded gown trimmed with white fur.
Russia
Babushka, or granny, is the mother of a person's father or mother, but in this country the word has numerous shades of meanings. The very word babushka is a diminutive-hypocoristic form of the word baba – an ancient Russian word denoting a married woman. It is not by chance that today the word has acquired its pet suffix – it is in fact an illustration of just how special babushkas are to Russians.
Ukraine
The origins of the folk tale are unknown, but it is believed to have come from either Germany or Ukraine. In Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, finding a spider or a spider's web on a Christmas tree is considered good luck.They also decorate Christmas trees with artificial spider webs.
Mexcio
Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as 'Taxco del Alarcon' where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them 'cuetlaxochitl'. He was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825.
America
It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors.

Credits:

Created with images by foxypar4 - "Nuremberg Christmas Market" • Hans - "flag rumpled germany" • Pexels - "conifer daylight evergreen" • DrabikPany - "Brytyjscy kibice na trasie VII etapu" • MichelV - "french flag france flag" • Efraimstochter - "spain flag flutter" • robertsharp - "Italian Flag"

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