Monday, December 23, 2013

Installment 2 of Christmas Around the World: F - J

France: Use Nativity cribs to decorate the house with clay figures. Merry Christmas = Joyeux Noel. Yule logs made out of Cherry Wood are burned in their homes. Santa Claus is called Pere Noel (Father Christmas). The main Christmas meal is called Reveillon: roast turkey with chestnuts or roast goose, oysters, foie gras, lobster, venison and cheeses. For dessert, a chocolate sponge cake log called a bûche de Noël is normally eaten.

Germany: Advent is very important to the German Christmas. Christmas trees have been used here since the Middle Ages. They are traditionally brought in on Christmas Eve and surrounded by songs of O Tannenbaum, Ihr Kinderlein Kommet, and Silent Night. Merry Christmas = Frohe Weihnachten. The most famous decoration is the hand blown glass ornament. Children’s letters to the “Christkind’ are decorated with sugar glued to the envelope, which are left on their windowsills at the beginning of Advent. On the eve of December 6th, Saint Nick stops in and leaves little treats in the children’s shoes. Stollen is a popular fruited yeast bread that is served at Christmas.  Here is a recipe for Stollen

Hungary: Christmas Eve is called ‘Szent-este’ which means Holy Evening. The evening is spent with family decorating the tree. The main meal consists of fish and cabbage and a special poppy bread/cake called ‘Beigli.’ Midnight Mass Service is very popular. They also recognize St. Nicholas day on December 6th. Santa is known as “Mikulas.” 

Wren Boys Procession
Ireland: Christmas lasts from Christmas Eve to Epiphany on January 6th. Santa is known as San Nioclas. Merry Christmas = Nollaig Shona Dhuit. The Wren Boys Procession takes place on St. Stephen’s Day--people dress up and go around to neighbor houses singing rhymes about a wren bird. “The wren, the wren, the king of all birds, on St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze.” On the Feast of the Epiphany, women have the day off and men do the house work and cooking. 

Jamaica: Lots of people paint their houses and hang new curtains and decorations. The meal for Christmas day is prepared on Christmas Eve: fresh fruits, sorrel and rum punch and meat. The Christmas Day breakfast includes ackee and saltfish, breadfruit, fried plantains, boiled bananas, freshly squeezed fruit juice and tea. Dinner is usually served in the late afternoon and this may include chicken, curry goat, stewed oxtail, rice and peas.

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