Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Installment 4 of Christmas Around the World: S-Z (minus W, X, & Y)

Sweden: December 13 - St. Lucia's Day is celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head. Small children use electric candles but from about 12 years old, real candles are used! A popular food eaten at St. Lucia's day are 'Lussekatts', St Lucia's day buns flavoured with saffron and dotted with raisins which are eaten for breakfast. Presents are normally exchanged on Christmas Eve. 
Families sometimes have goats made of straw in the house to guard the Christmas Tree! Straw is used as a decoration in homes, to remind them that Jesus was born in a manger. Presents might be brought by Santa called 'Jultomten' or by gnomes/elves called 'Nissar' or 'Tomte'. They're called Nisse' in Norway. In Swedish Happy/Merry Christmas is 'God Jul'.

Trinidad and Tobago: A special Trinidadian music, Parang, is played. Parang is an upbeat Venezuela-Trinidad hybrid. This is the time that most people buy new electrical appliances and furniture. Trinibagonian Christmas meal include apples and grapes, sorrel, ponche-de-creme (a version of egg nog), ham, turkey, homemade bread, ginger beer, pastelles (a version of tamales) and local wine.

UK: Christmas Trees were first popularized in the UK by German Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Children believe that Father Christmas or Santa Claus leaves presents in stockings or pillow-cases. These are normally hung up by the fire or by the children's beds on Christmas Eve. Children sometimes leave out mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas to eat and drink when he visits them. In Scots Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Blithe Yule'

Venezuela: Some traditional Christmas music in Venezuela is 'Gaita' music. This is a type of folk music played on several instruments including the 'Cuatro' (a guitar with four strings) a 'Tambora' (a Venezuelan drum), the 'Furro' (a type of drum but it has a stick coming up through the middle of the skin of the drum) and the 'Charrasca' (a ribbed tube that you rub a stick up and down). In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, there's a tradition of people rollerskating to the early morning church services from 16th to 24th December. The roads are often closed to traffic by 8.00am to make it safe for people to skate! In Venezuela presents are brought by 'San Nicolás' (St. Nicholas) & 'Niño Jesús' (Baby Jesus).It was also a tradition for people to paint their houses two to four weeks before Christmas, so it was ready to be decorated for Christmas.

Zimbabwe: A lot of people put their stereos out
side the front of the house and play their favourite music very loudly! It is not only Christmas music that is played, but also the latest pop tunes and old African favourites! The special food eaten at Christmas in Zimbabwe is Chicken with rice. Chicken is a very expensive food in Zimbabwe and is a special treat for Christmas. This is often eaten at the Christmas Day parties.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!

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