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Holiday tradition from around the world

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  • 1. Holiday Christmas Traditions from Around the World Location: United States 43°03’8’N 87°57’21”W = Milwaukee, WI Holidays: Saint Nicholas,Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years. My Christmas Traditions: Making Gingerbread Cookies: Every year around Christmas time my family and I make gingerbread cookies. We bake them, frost them, then give them to friends and family. The ones that are left we eat. Making a Gingerbread House: We also make a gingerbread house every year. Normally we do something crazy, which I guess isn’t part of the tradition in most cases, but this year we made an actual house. Normally we give it away to relatives instead of eating it ourselves. Getting a Christmas Tree: Every year my family goes out to a Christmas tree farm to get a tree. There’s always the argument of that it’s too small, or that it’s too big, but we always decide on a tree and cut it down and bring it home to decorate. Other Info: Since the U.S. is such a big country there are many different traditions and ways of celebrating Christmas there. My traditons are strongly German influenced, but that’s probably because I’m 75% German and Wisconsin is a particularly German state. Other Stuff: This year I went to the Chicago Christkindlmarket to experience for myself a real European market. It was just like the ones I have seen in photos and on TV. There was a large variety of authentic German foods and crafts including mulled wine, snitzel, and potatoe pancakes as well as wooden and glass Nutcrakers and decorations from the Black Forest in Germany. The only difference from a normal Christmas market was that it was packed to the max with people and stalls. So much so that you could hardly move! All in all, I thought it really gave me a good idea of what Christmas is like in Europe. Poinsettias, a favorite holiday flower is unique because they are photo-periodic. Basically if you leave them in the sun for x amount of days, (70) it will burst into a vibrant red. Sources: Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Office. 7 January 2011 <http://office.microsoft.com/enus/images/results.aspx?qu=USA+map&ori gin=FX101741979#ai:MC900189571|>. Hunt, Roderick. The Oxford Christmas Book for Children. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1982. Page 1
  • 2. Holiday Christmas Traditions from Around the World Location: France, Capital Paris, 48° 52' 0 N, 2° 19' 60 E Holidays: Saint Nick’s day, la fete de lumieres (a holiday honoring Mary), Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Epiphany. Traditions: Christmas Trees: The French, like the Germans and us, put up and decorate a tree during Christmas time. Gift Giving: French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace for Papa Noel to fill with gifts. He will also leave candy, fruits, nuts, and small toys on the tree. Letters to Santa: French children write letters to Santa every year telling him what they want, and since the law in 1962 was passed all of them get written back. Le Reveillion: In France people attend a mass on Christmas Eve which is then followed by Le Reveillion. Le Reveillion is a huge feast on Christmas Eve which is supposed to symbolise an awakening to the birth of Christ and is also just a great time, as many resturants and cafes remain open all night long. Sources : 7 January 2011 <http://www.voyagevirtuel.co.uk/french_map.php>. 7 January 2011 <http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/france/map/m2085971/paris.html>. Location: Germany, Capital Berlin, 52° 31' 0 N, 13° 24' 0 E Holidays: St. Martin’s Day on November 11th, Saint Nicholas day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years, and Epiphany or Three Kings Day. In Germany the Christmas season runs from the start of Advent in late November to Epiphany which is on January 6th. Traditions: Gift Giving: On St. Martin’s Day children receive small gifts and goodies, it is rather similar to St.Nick’s Day. On St. Nicholas’s Day good children receive toys, apples, candy, and nuts while bad ones receive switches. Children in Germany, however, are allowed open their presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. They receive they same types of things we do on Christmas Day, toys, candy, ect… Putting up a Christmas Tree: In Germany people put up and decorate Christmas trees in the same manner that we do. In some cases, however, people hang their Christmas trees upside down to better desplay the decorations. Advent Wreaths and Advent Calendars: The traditions of hanging wreaths and using Advent calendars to count the days until Christmas comes from Germany. Page 2
  • 3. Holiday Christmas Traditions from Around the World Gingerbread houses: The tradition of making and eating gingerbread houses and cookies also comes from Germany. Santa Claus: The idea of Santa coming to houses and giving gifts to the good children and coal to the bad ones comes from Germany. In addition, his appearance and many other things about him were influenced by Germany. In fact, the majority of our Christmas traditions seem to have come from there. Christmas Markets: Most large villages and cities in Germany have Christmas or Kriskindle Markets. Markets generally open at the beggining of Advent and are open through Christmas. The vendors at these markets sell a dazzling array of foods, drinks, and decorations for the local population and tourists to enjoy. Christmas trees or nativity scenes often take up the center of the Chistmas market and are often lavishly decorated. Other Information: Christmas in Germany is really a mix of Christan and Pagan traditions. For instance, in Germany men often don hideous masks and animal skins and roam around town to scare away demons for the following year. Sources : 7 January 2011 <http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/germany/map/m2443847/berlin.html> World Book. Christmas in Today's Germany . Chicago: World Book Inc., 1993. Location: England, Capital London, 51° 30' 0 N, 0° -8' 60 W Holidays: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Traditions: Christmas Carols: During Christmas time many groups of carolers roam the streets singing and raising funds for various charities. Christmas Pudding: Every year people in Britain make Christmas pudding the same exact way. The whole familly works together to make it following special instructions and drop a silver coin in it before baking it (yes they bake pudding). Whoever finds it when it is served is supposed to be blessed with wealth, health, and happiness for the year to come. Christmas Tree: Although originally from Germany the tradition of getting and decorating a Christmas tree has spread like wildfire throughout England. Gift Giving: In England it is good old Santa Claus who stuffs stockings and puts presents under the tree for the little kids. Other Info: Boxing day is a holiday celebrated in England and most of the countries in the Commonwealth that falls on the day after Christmas. It originally began as a day to distribute toy and food donations to the poor for the holiday season. But as time went on it changed, and now is more of an extended Christmas afternoon. People usually and eat Christmas dinner left Page 3
  • 4. Holiday Christmas Traditions from Around the World overs, play with presents, and watch soccer. Nowadays it also doubles as a type of Black Friday event too. Sources: Lonely Planet. Map of England. 2010. 7 January 2011 <http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/europe/england/>. 7 January 2011 < <http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/united_kingdom/map/m3578172/london.html>. Location: Russia, Capital Moscow, 51° 30' 0 N,0° -8' 60 W Holidays: Christmas Eve, Chrismas Day, Epiphany, and New Years Traditions: The Holy Supper: Families get together to celebrate Christmas and eat the Holy Supper. The Holy Supper is basically a big Christmas dinner in which twelve different types of food are eaten. Feast of the Nativity: Neighbors, family, and friends get together and go house to house singing, eating, and drinking for a whole day. Other Info: Christmas in Russia is celebrated on January 7th instead of December 25th. In Soviet Russia religous celebrations were banned. In response to this the Russians invented Ded Moroz or “Grandfather Frost” to replace Santa Claus. Ded Moroz came and delivered gifts on New Years instead of Christmas and therefore was not illegal. To this day New Years is more important in Russia than Christmas. Sources : 7 January 2011 <<http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/russia/map/m4147212/moscow.html> >. Altius Directory . Russia Maps . 7 January 2011 <http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Travel/russia-maps- pictures.ph Location: Ukraine, Kyiv also spelled Kiev, 50° 25' 60 N, 30° 31' 0 E Holidays: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years. Since Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union they have the same New Years celebrations as Russia. They also have the same Christmas traditions as Russia. Basically, their holiday celebrations and traditions are the same. One of the main foods that are eaten during the Christmas feast are pierogies (to the left). Sources : 7 January 2011 <http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/ukraine/map/m1548677/kiev.html> >. Page 4
  • 5. Holiday Christmas Traditions from Around the World 5 January 2011 <http://www.uazone.net/holidays/christmas.html>. Location: Italy, Capital Rome, 41°54’ ’N 12°27’ ”E Holidays: New Years, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Traditions: Making Nativity Scenes : Just as Christmas trees are the focal point of Christmas time in America, the Nativity scene is the focus of Christmas in Italy. Nativity scenes really began in Italy in the early 1200’s when a man named St. Francis organized a live reenactment of the birth of Christ. Afterwards, and particualry after his death, it caught on. During the 1600’s the idea of making wood or clay nativity scenes caught on with the nobility. They proceeded to hire the best artists of the time and tried to make theirs bigger and better than everyone elses. They not only made the scenes about Christ’s birth, but also about other bible stories. Christmas Markets: Christmas markets in Italy are often held in public squares and have generally more of a party atmosphere than their German counterparts to the North. The markets are normally centered around an open square with various venders and musicians in the center and around the sides. There is often a large nativity scene for the public to admire. Other Information : Christmas really began in Italy. Despite the fact that Christ was born in Judea, his birthday was first celebrated nearly 300 years later in Rome when the Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity. The priests of the time decided to celebrate his birthday on the feast day of the old pagan god Mirthras which was on December 25th. In fact, Christ most likely wasen’t even born on Christmas. Source: Christmas in Italy , World book Inc., 1979 Page 5