Sunday, December 22, 2013

Installment 1 of Christmas Around the World: A-E

Australia: Celebrated during the Australian summer. Australians decorate with Christmas trees and lights, but a unique decoration is the Christmas Bush, a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream colored flowers that turn red by the week of Christmas. State capitols and local towns hold Carols by Candlelight services with famous and/or small town bands. Australians also recognize Boxing Day where they visit friends and have Barbeques on the beach. Christmas dinners usually include seafood and “traditional english” food. 

Brazil: Santa’s name is Papai Noel. Many customs are similar to US and UK. A traditional Christmas meal includes: chicken, turkey, ham, rice, salad, pork, and fresh and dried fruits. The Celebrations start on Christmas even with fireworks and a barbeque (churrasco). Children sometimes leave their socks on windows, hoping that if Papai Noel finds it, he will exchange it for a present. 

Czech Republic: They celebrate Saint Nicholas day, where children are expected to recite a poem or song and in exchange receive a small, stocking sized present from St. Nick. Merry Christmas = Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce. 

Seeing a Golden Pig before dinner is seen as a good luck sign. Christmas dinner takes place on Christmas eve and consists of fish soup and fried carp with potato salad. Jezisek or “Little Jesus” leaves presents during Christmas dinner and rings a bell before he leaves. 

Denmark: Christmas Eve: Church service, dinner, dancing around the Christmas tree, then opening presents. Ris a la mande is rice pudding that chops up almonds except for  one, which is kept whole. The person who finds the whole almond gets a present. 
Julemanden “Christmas man” travels with a sleigh & reindeer, lives in Greenland, likes rice pudding, and is helped by Nisser (like elves). 
Merry Christmas = Glaedelig Jul.

Ethiopia: This country is still on the Julian Calendar, so they celebrate Christmas on January 7th. They fast the night before and dress in white for the Ganna service early the next morning. Traditional Christmas foods in Ethiopia include wat which is a thick and spicy stew that contains meat, vegetables and sometimes eggs (sounds yummy!). Wat is eaten on a 'plate of injera' - a flat bread. Pieces of the injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.

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