GERMANY "Froehliche Weihnachten"According to legend, on Christmas Eve in Germany rivers turn to wine, animals speak to eachother, tree blossoms bear fruit, mountains open up to reveal precious gems, and church bells canbe heard ringing from the bottom of the sea. Of course, only the pure in heart can witness thisChristmas magic. All others must content themselves with traditional German celebrating, ofwhich there is plenty. As a matter of fact, there is so much celebrating that is has to begin onDecember 6th, St. Nicholas Day.As in many other European countries, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by thefireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to housecarrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. If they have beengood, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, theirshoe is filled with twigs.December 21st, supposedly the shortest day (longest night) of the year, is dubbed St. ThomasDay. In parts of the Sauerland, whoever wakes up late or arrives late to work on that day isissued the title "Thomas Donkey." They are given a cardboard donkey and are the subject ofnumerous jokes throughout the day. But this gentle abuse ends deliciously with round, icedcurrant buns called "Thomasplitzchen."This is all preliminary to the excitement of Christmas Eve. Prior to the evening feast, is thepresentation of the tree. The Christmas tree, as we know it, originated in Germany. It has amysterious magic for the young because they are not allowed to see it until Christmas Eve. Whilethe children are occupied with another room (usually by Father) Mother brings out the Christmastree and decorates it with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, cars, trains, angels, tinsel, familytreasures and candles or lights. The presents are placed under the tree. Somewhere, close to thebright display are laid brilliantly decorated plates for each family member, loaded with fruits, nuts,marzipan, chocolate and biscuits. When all is ready a bell is rung as a signal for the children toenter this Christmas fantasy room. Carols are sung, sometimes sparklers are lit, the Christmasstory is read and gifts are opened."Dickbauch" means "fat stomach" and is a name given to the Christmas Eve because of thetradition that those who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during thenight. So the opportunity is given to enjoy dishes such as suckling pig, "reisbrei" (a sweetcinnamon), white sausage, macaroni salad, and many regional dishes.Christmas Day brings with it a banquet of plump roast goose, "Christstollen" (long loaves of breadbursting with nuts, raisins, citron and dried fruit), "Lebkuchen" (spice bars), marzipan, and"Dresden Stollen" ( a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit).Of Special Note...The custom of trimming and lighting a Christmas tree had its origin in pre-Christian Germany, thetree symbolizing the Garden of Eden. It was called the "Paradise Baum," or tree of Paradise.Gradually, the custom of decorating the tree with cookies, fruit and eventually candles evolved.Other countries soon adapted the custom. Charles Dickens called it "The Pretty German Toy."
RECIPES...Reisbrei (Rice Porridge)½ converted rice1 quart milkPinch of salt4 tbls. sugar1 tbl. butter¼ cup raisins, optionalCook rice in milk with salt and butter, very slowly until kernels are tender but have not lost theirshape. If you have patience, do this in the top of a double broiler. It will take 1 ½ to 2 hours butwill be worth it. The mixture should be very thick and can be stirred several times during cooking.When done, flavor with sugar, cinnamon and add raisins--if you are using them. This may beserved hot or cold.Lebkuchen (Spice Bars)2 cups honey5 ½ cups flour¾ cup grated unblanched almonds1 tsp. cinnamon½ tsp. powdered cloves¾ cup mixed candied fruits (orange, lemon and citron peel)½ tsp. baking powderEgg White Icing (see recipe below)Heat honey until thin; do not boil. Mix in all other ingredients except icing. Turn onto floured boardand knead until smooth, adding a little flour if necessary. Roll with a floured rolling pin to ½"thickness. Grease and flour a baking sheet and lay rolled dough on it. Bake in pre-heated 350degrees oven about 20 minutes. Spread with icing while hot; cool before cutting into rectangles.Egg White Icing2 egg whites1 ¼ cups confectioners sugar, shifted1 tbl. lemon juiceWhip egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks. Add sugar and lemon and juice and continuebeating until thick and glossy. Spread on cake or cookies with a spatula.
ITALY"Buon Natale"Christmas, as it is celebrated in Italy, has two origins: the familiar traditions of Christianity blendedwith the pagan traditions predating the Christmas era. The greatest feast of the ancient RomanEmpire, "Saturnalia" (a winter solstice celebration), just happens to coincide with the Christmascelebrations of the Advent. Consequently, Christmas fairs, merry-making and torch processions,honor not only the birth of Christ, but also the birth of the "Unconquered Sun." "Natale," theItalian word for Christmas, is literally the translation for "birthday."A delightful, but rapidly disappearing tradition in Italy, is the ushering in of the coming festivitiesby the "Piferari" or fifers. They descend from the mountains of the Abruzzo and Latium playinginviting and characteristic tunes on their bagpipes, filling the air with anticipation for the joyouscelebration to come.Christmas Eve is a time for viewing Italys artistic and elaborate manger scenes or Cribs. Theyconsist of figurines, in clay or plaster , of the infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph. An ox and ass arenearby because legend has it that they warmed the child with their breath. It is around this basicfocal point that individual artisans create their own intricate landscapes. There may be grottoes,small trees, lakes, rivers, the lights of "Bethlehem" in the background, angels hung from wires,and occasionally, even local heroes. The most beautiful Cribs are set up in churches. There isoften a contest between churches of the same town for the best Crib. People go from church tochurch to view and compare the Cribs and displays.Another tradition is the burning of the Yule log, which must stay alight until New Years Day. This,again, is an example of pagan and Christian blending. The pagan belief explains the purifying andrevitalizing power of fire, and that with the burning log, the old year and its evils are destroyed.Christian legend tells how the Virgin Mary enters the homes of the humble at midnight while thepeople are away at Midnight Mass and warms her newborn child before the blazing log.Amidst the general merrymaking and religious observance of Christmas Eve, Christmas tapers(long slender candles) are lighted and a Christmas banquet is spread. In some places, ChristmasEve dinner consists largely of fish. There may be as many as 10 t 20 fish dishes prepared. InRome, the traditional dish of Christmas Eve is "Capitone," a big female eel, roasted, baked orfried. North of Rome a traditional dish may be pork, sausage packed in a pigs leg, smothered inlentils, or turkey stuffed with chestnuts.Common throughout Italy are the Christmas sweets: "panettone" (cake filled with candied fruit),"torrone" (nougat) and "panforte" (gingerbread) made with hazelnuts, honey and almonds. AllChristmas sweets, as a rule, contain nuts and almonds. Peasant folklore theorizes that to eat nutsfavors the fertility of the earth and aids in the increase of flocks and family. In ancient Rome,honey was offered at this time of year so that the new year might be sweet.Of Special Note...On Christmas Eve, Italian children set out their shoes for the female Santa Claus, La Befana, tofill with gifts of all kinds like toys, candies and fruit. If the children were good, their shoes would befilled on Christmas morning. If they were bad, they would find their shoes filled with coal. LaBefan is the best-known legend in Italy.
Traditional Dishes From Italy...SPUMETTI (Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues)1 lb. hazelnut meats, coarsely chopped1 lb. confectioners sugar1 oz. cocoa (2tbls.)2 tsps. cinnamon5-6 egg whitesPreheat oven to 325 F. Cut baking pan liner paper or brown paper to fit 2 baking sheets andgrease lightly. Put hazelnuts, confectioners sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon in a large bowl; add eggwhites and mix well until mixture is well blended--about 5 minutes. Wet hands with water andbreak off small pieces of mixture (about 1 tbl.) and shape into round balls. Place on bakingsheets, 1 inch apart, and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Makes approx. 3 ½ dozen."ZUCCHINE IN AGRODOLCE"(Sweet and Sour Zucchini)3 tbls. olive oil4 med. zucchini, thinly sliced2 cloves garlic, crushed1 tbl. vinegar¼ cup waterSalt and pepper3 tbls. pine nutsIn a large skillet, heat oil and sauté garlic for 2 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté on both sidesuntil golden. Sprinkle with pine nuts, raisins, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 3minutes. Mix vinegar with water and pour into skillet; cover and simmer slowly until zucchini istender--about 10 minutes. Discard garlic; cool and serve at room temperature."STRUFFOLI"(Honey Balls)2 cups water1 cup margarine4 cups sifted flour¼ tsp. salt10 large eggs16 oz. honey½ cup pine nuts, toasted1/3 cup candied orange peels½ cup (multicolored) cake-decorating sprinklesPreheat oven to 350 F. Grease two baking sheets lightly. Have eggs at room temperature.Place water, margarine, and salt in a saucepan and bring to broil. Remove from range and coolfor 3 minutes. Stir in flour and mix well. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixtureforms a ball and leaves sides of pan--about 1 minute. Remove from range and cool for 5 minutes.Add eggs to mixture, one at a time, beating hard for approximately 1 minute after each addition.Fill pastry bag with batter and pipe small rounds (the size of marbles) 1 inch apart onto baking
sheets. (Or you can drop by half teaspoons onto baking sheets.) Bake until lightly browned--about25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.In a saucepan, heat honey until it comes to rolling boil. Boil for 5 minutes, being careful not to letit boil over. Dip puffs, approximately 12 at a time, into honey and roll around to coat evenly.Remove with slotted spoon onto a plate. Continue until all puffs are dipped. Wet hands with coldwater and stick puffs together forming wreath rings, pyramids, or dome shapes. Decorate withtoasted pine nuts, candied orange peel, and cake-decorating sprinkles. •
POLAND"Wesolych Swiat"(Seasons Greetings)Poland is a land of intriguing traditions traditions and legends. So important is the first star of thenight that Christmas Eve has been given the affectionate name of "little star" or "Gwiazdka," inremembrance of the star of Bethlehem. On that night, all watch the sky anxiously, hoping to bethe first to cry out, "The star! The moment the star appears, everyone exchanges greetings andgood wishes. Families unite for the most carefully planned meal of the year, "Wigilia," Christmassupper. According to tradition, bits of hay have been spread beneath the table cloth as a reminderthat Christ was born in a manger. An even number of people must be seated around the table ortradition states someone might die in the coming year.Although "Wigilia" is a family feast, its considered back luck to entertain a guest on this sacrednight. In some places an empty place setting is left at the table in case a stranger should happenarrive.Traditionally, there is no meat served during "Wigilia." Still, the meal is plentiful and luxurious. Itbegins with the breaking of the "Oplatek," a semi-transparent wafer of unleavened dough,stamped with scenes of the nativity. Everyone at the table breaks off a piece and eats it as asymbol of their unity with Christ. Custom prescribes that the number of dishes in the meal be odd,9 or 11. An even number would eliminate any hope of an increase in wealth, children or anythingdesirable.Though the dishes vary between regions, certain items are found almost everywhere. Poppyseed cake, beet soup, prune dumplings and noodles with poppy seed are universally Polish.After supper, family and guests stay at the table until, at a signal from the host, they all rise inunison and leave. This is the result of an old belief that the first to rise will die before the nextChristmas Eve. In some villages the peasants save the crumbs from this festive meal so they cansow them in the Spring. They are said to give medicinal power to the grasses upon which theyare sprinkled.The remainder of the evening is given to stories and songs around the Christmas tree. It isdecorated with nuts, apples and ornaments made from eggshells, colored paper, straw, andpainted. Christmas gifts are tucked below the tree. In some places, children are taught that "TheLittle Star" brings the gifts. As presents are wrapped, a rollers may float from house to house,receiving treats from tree and table. At midnight, the little ones are put to bed and the eldersattend "Pasterka," or Shepherds Mass.Traditional Dishes From Poland...Uszka Z Grzybami(Mushroom pockets)1/2 tsp. salt1/2 cup cold water
1 egg, beaten2 cups sifted flourMake dough of the above ingredients and roll out on floured board. Cut into 3-inch squares. Placea teaspoon of stuffing (see recipe) on squares.Fold diagonally into triangles. Press edges together. Fold triangle once more to form a "sows ear"and press edges together. Drop into salted boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes or until pocketsfloat on top of water.Stuffing Mix1 med. onion, chopped2 tbls. butterSalt and pepperMushrooms, cooked and chopped, which have been removed from vegetables broth in recipeabove. Brown chopped onions in butter. Add breadcrumbs and fry for 2 minutes. Season to tasteand mix with chopped mushrooms.KLUSKI Z MAKIEM(Noodles with Poppy Seeds)3 tbls. poppy seeds3 tbls. sugar1 package wide noodles2 tbls. butterScald poppy seeds with boiling water and soak for 3 hours. Drain. Force through food grinder andmix with sugar. Cook noodles in lightly salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place inbaking dish and heat in oven for several minutes. Mix with butter and poppy seeds and serverhot."JESIOTR PIECZONY"(Sturgeon baked in sour cream.)3 lbs. sturgeonFlourDill and chopped parsley2 eggs, beatenBreadcrumbs1/4 lb. butterSalt and pepper2 tbls. bouillon1 cup sour creamCut fish into serving portions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll slices in flour, dip inbeaten egg, and coat with breadcrumbs. Fry in butter until nicely browned on both sides. placefish in baking dish. Sprinkle with dill and chopped parsley.
Add 2 tbls. of bouillon and 2 tbls. of flour to left-over butter in frying pan. Stir well. Bring toboil over low flame. Remove from fire and add sour cream. Stir thoroughly. Pour mixture over fishand bake in moderate oven for 10-15 minutes. FRANCE "Joyeux Noëll" Christmas customs, originating in the Middle East, were introduced to France by the Romans. Reims was the site of the first French Christmas celebrationwhen, in 496, Clovis and his 3,000 warriors were baptized. Bishop Rémi had purposely chosenthe day of the Nativity for this ceremony. Other important events eventually took place onChristmas day in the following years.Charlemagne received the crown from the hands of Pope Leo III on Christmas Day in 800. In1100, Godefroy de Bouillons successor, his brother Baudouin, was crowned in the basilica ofSaint Mary of Bethlehem. Later, King Jean-le-Bon founded the Order of the Star in honor of themanger; it remained in existence until 1352. In 1389, French crowds shouted Noël! Noël! inwelcoming Queen Isabeau of Bavaria to the capital.Thus Christmas gradually became both a religious and secular celebration which, in fact, until theend of the Middle Ages, was confused with the celebration of the new year. Today, Christmas inFrance is a family holiday, a religious celebration and an occasion for merrymaking. It is a timewelcomed by both adults and children.The fir tree was first presented as the holy tree of Christmas in the French city of Strasbourg in1605. It was decorated with artificial colored roses, apples, sugar and painted hosts, andsymbolized the tree in the garden of Eden.In France, shop windows of big department stores, principally in Paris, compete with one anotherin fabulous displays of animated figures; a day spent visiting and comparing the exhibits ispractically a must for parents.Family celebrations begin with the decoration of the Christmas tree a few days before Christmas;candles and lights, tinsel and many colored stars are attached to it. On Christmas Eve when thechildren are asleep, little toys, candies and fruits are hung on the branches of the tree as asupplement to the gifts Santa Claus has left in the shoes before the fireplace.Another custom is that of the manger, "la crèche," which originated in 12th century France in theform of liturgical drama. At first the manger itself resembled an alter and was placed either insidethe church or before the portal, as it was at the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. Antique mangerscan be seen in churches at Chartres, Chaource, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Sainte-Marie dOloron and inmuseums at Marseilles and Orleans.The popular manger was introduced in Avignon by the family of Saint Francis of Assisi between1316 and 1334, but it was not until the 16th century that the making of crèches or grebbes, asthey were called in old French, became a widespread custom.
Today, the family arranges a manger on a small stage in a prominent part of the house. InProvence, the children bring rocks, branches and moss to make a setting for the manger. Littleterra-cotta figures, known as "santons" or little saints are grouped around the manger torepresent the Holy Family, the other characters of the story of the Nativity, and the people of thevillage: the mayor, the priest, the policeman, the butcher, the baker, the miller, the farmer. In thestable is a reproduction of the legendary manger of Bethlehem, with the ox and the donkeyplaced close to Jesus, and Mary and Joseph in the foreground welcoming the visitors.Since 1803, a special fair for the sale of the santons has been held in Marseilles during the monthof December, but the true capital of the world of santons is the little town of Aubagne.Puppet shows are also given every year for Christmas, especially in Paris and in Lyon. One of themost famous Christmas puppet plays, written by de Marynbourg, is called "Bethlehem 1933" andis a masterpiece of popular art.At midnight everyone attends the Christmas mass. Churches and cathedrals, large and small, aremagnificently lit and echo the joyful melodies of carols, bells and carillons. Many churches have acrèche or manger. Formerly, in certain regions, a real infant was placed on the hay of the mangerduring the mass but this custom is no longer observed.When the family returns home after midnight mass, there is a late supper known as "le réveillon."The meal varies according to the region of France. In Alsace, for example, the traditional goose isbrought in on a platter and given the place of honor on the table. Bretons serve buckwheat cakeswith sour cream. Turkey and chestnuts are served in Burgundy. The favorite dishes of Paris andthe Ile-de-France region are oysters, foie gras, and the traditional cake in the form of a Yule log or"bûche de Noël" which used to burn on the hearth on Christmas Eve. The wines served aregenerally Muscadet, Anjou, Sauterne and Champagne.Ordinarily, young children do not attend midnight mass with their parents, but go to bed early todream of their Christmas gifts. Before going to bed, they put their shoes by the fireside for a giftfrom "le père de Noël" or "le petit Jésus." Formerly, peasants wooden shoes, called sabots, wereoften used at Christmas time, but today shoes of any kind are set before the fireplace or aroundthe tree. However, the sabots are not forgotten - chocolate wooden shoes are made by pastryshops and filled with candies.Traditional legends and beliefs associated with Christmas are numerous in France. Alsace is aregion where a lot of tradition exists such as marchés de Noel, Christmas markets. This regionhas possibly the greatest community spirit. In some towns, shepherds offer a lamb on ChristmasEve, while in others the réveillonis held in the snow mountains or a song festival precedes themidnight mass. In the small village of Solliesville, the whole population gathers bringing bread,meat and candies as a symbol of the apostles. Then a supper is offered to the importanttownspeople and their guests. During the mass, the characters of the manger are portrayed bypeople from the village.The magic of Christmas is the magic of the Orient. During the Middle Ages, minstrels wanderedthrough villages and towns, telling "Marveiles qui advinrent en la Sainte Nuit," the legend of theflight into Egypt, or the legend of the sower who, when asked which way the Holy Family hadgone, deceived King Herod. Legends told around the fire on Christmas Eve are nearly allforgotten; but some of them have been transformed into fairy tales or fantasies. One story is thatof the dancers condemned to dance incessantly for a year because their movements had turnedthe priests thoughts during the midnight mass. Another such tale is the charming story of the littlehomeless matchgirl who, sitting in the snow on the sidewalk, struck all her matches in order toimagine what Christmas would be like in a house; but Christmas is a time of miracles and at thestriking of the last match the little girl was conveyed to Paradise by shining golden angels.
Christmas in CyrpusWe celebrate Christmas with a lot of tasteful food and sweets. The studentsof our class gathered some recipes of these delicatessens:Stuffed turkey:Turkey, potatoes, oil + stuffing inside the turkey (rice, liver, raisins, nuts).Cooked in the oven.Souvla (Roasted lamp or pork)Lamp or pork meat, cooked on charcoal (Cyprus traditional food)Chocolate ballsMelted chocolate, sugar, butter. The mixture is shaped like balls.Christmas cakeFlour, sugar, butter, eggs, fruit sweets (raisins, apple, apricot, fig etc). Onthe top of this cake, white solid sugar is spreaded and it represents snow.The “snow” is decorated with various Christmas decorations (Christmas tree,Santa Claus, sleigh etc).Christmas cookiesFlour, butter, sugar. The cookies are shaped like a star or a Christmas tree.Christmas apple pieApples, sugar, flour, butter. The small pies are shaped like a star or aChristmas tree.Melomakarona (Cyprus cookies)Flour, sugar, oil, honey, nuts. The nuts are crashed and spreaded on the topof the cookies.Kourambiedes (Greek cookies)Flour, sugar, butter. White grounded sugar (dust) is spreaded on the top ofthe cookies.Vasilopitta (Santa Claus cake)Flour, sugar, butter. A coin is put in the mixture before is being baked. Thecake is cut at the first day of the year and the one who finds the coin in hispiece, is considered to be the lucky one of the year. Merry Christmas and A happy New Year 2006 From the kids of E’2 class Frenaros village, Cyprus
Christmas Customs of CyprusAh, it is "kourabiedes" time, and the sweet aroma of "melomakarona"cookies will soon be filling Cypriot kitchens worldwide.For the traveler to Cyprus, remember that many offices, business,restaurants, and other amenities may be closed or keepingunusual hours during the Christmas season.Turkeys have invaded Cypriot Christmas customs, and so travelers will find this dish prepared for Christmas feasting. For many Cypriots the holiday is preceded by a time of fasting.For Cyprus, the season is full swing by December 6th,the Feast of St. Nicholas, and willlast through January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany.Christmas in Cyprus is traditionally a solemn, religious holiday.Throughout the festivities, there is no doubt that Cyprushonors Christ at Christmas. Beautiful carols called "kalanda" have been handed down from Byzantine times and add to the reverent quality of the celebration.Are the remote Cyprus villages, with their whitewashed walls, stone corrals for the precious (in spirit) from a night in Bethlehem so long ago? While other cultures have Christmas elves, the Cypriotequivalent is not so benign.Mischievous and even dangerous sprites called "Kalikantzari" (or Calicantzari) according to myth; prey upon people onlyduring the twelve days of Christmas,from Christmas Eve to Epiphany Day, on January, 6th.Apart from the "kalikantzari" other customs of the old Cypriots relatedto Christmas celebrations, were the following:-
The children used to get their presents on New Years Day andnot on Christmas Day, as their "Santa" is Ai-Vasilis, whom theycelebrate on the 1st January. So on New Years Eve, after the children had gone to sleep, the mother used to place Santas cake with a coin inside by the Christmas tree, lighting a candle on it and placing a gobletfull of wine next to it.Tradition says, that Ai-Vasilis would come exhausted; he blessedthe cake and drank the wine. Then he placed the presents for the children of the family under the tree. The children used towake early in the morning and after cuttingthe "Vasilopitta" - Santas cake - to find out who would be the lucky one of the year - it was the person who had the piece with the coin in it - they rushed to get their presents from under the tree.Grandfathers and grandmothers used to "ploumizoun" (give money)to their grandchildren on the morning of Epiphany Day, onthe 6th January. So, the children, early in the morning usedto go to their grandparents and said the following verseKalimera ke ta Phota ke tin ploumistira prota" (Good morning on this day of light and let us have our gift first). The grandparentswere pleased and gave them their tip (money-gift).-:¦:-.....-:¦:-.....-:¦:-.....-:¦:-.....-:¦:-The story of Ayios Vasilis (Santa Claus)according to Greek tradition"Ayios Vasilis is coming from Caesarea, holding a piece of paper and a pen!"A beautiful scene that is repeated every year on New Years Eve and childrenwait eagerly to receive their presents from Ayios Vasilis.Ayios Vasilis is the childrens favorite saint because he alwayscomes with a bag full of presents.He was born in Caesarea of Kappadokia in 330AD. When hefinished school, he went to Constantinople where he studies theology.Then he went to Athens where he studied philosophy and rhetoric.When he returned to his country he retired in a monastery in Pontoswhere he studied the Bible and the ancient Greek writers.After the death of the Bishop of Caesarea, he was ordainedBishop and his fame for his charities was so great that people startedimagining him as a good old man who comes round holding a bag full of goodiesgiving to the poor whatever they desired. He wrotemany wise books so people always thought of himas a man of books with paper and a pen in hand. He was as simple
as a child; he had a sensitive and loving soul and thats the reason he became the favourite saint, the saint of presents, of love and joy. Vasilioss concern was not only for children. He created a whole complex of charitable foundations under the name "Vasiliada". It included a house for the poor, a hospital, an orphanage, a maternity hospital, a school building, trade-learning schools, and special buildings for doctors and nurses.It was a housing settlement in the country,which was build for the humble and suffering people,whom he used to visit every day,he read the Bible to them and encouraged them.When starvation hit the area Vasilios gave hismoney and food to support the poor.And when there was nothing left to give,he started going around preaching and inducingChristians to be charitable. So, both rich and poorpeople offered whatever they could.Vasilios mostly enjoyed the time he spent visiting his "children" as hecalled the orphaned children. He was serving poor people untilhis death on the 1st of January 379 in "Vasiliada".Therefore, the 1st of January became, for children and adults, a dayof love and joy for every child and every home. Joyeaux Noël - Christmas in France by Oliver Mailon, age 12A week before Christmas, father buys a Christmas tree and brings it homewhere the celebration starts already! Mother gets the colored decorations, theChristmas Star, the wreaths and garlands, electric or not. As for me, I bring thesantons - Christmas clay figures - and we prepare the crèche - Christmas cribor manger. It represents a village with a manger where stays the Christ child.He is surrounded by a donkey and an ox.Everybody from the village comes to see the child. One should not forget toplace the Three Wise Men away from the manger, they will arrive for theEpiphany on January 6. Then my mother puts the crèche at the foot of theChristmas tree, and my youngest brother, with daddys help, places the star atthe top of the tree which shines with a thousand lights.
On Christmas Eve, we are all very excited and we wait impatiently. Whenfinally the night comes, we rush under the Christmas tree to see what SantaClaus brought us for this year. Then we go to my grandparents house for the réveillon - Midnight supper. It is a hearty meal. Our grandmother offers us a turkey with chestnuts, refined goose liver, various meats, smoked salmon, a multitude of cheeses and for dessert, she brings a big, beautiful iced yule- log. And of course, we get the thirteen desserts from Provence, including nougats, and varied dried fruits (walnuts, hazelnuts, raisins & dried figs.) At midnight, we kiss each other with much warmth, then around two oclock in the morning, we leave my grandparents and go home to bed. Olivier Mailon lives in Nice, France. His article is part of our ongoing exchanges with the French newspaper for kids, "Hic et Nunc" (Here and Now.)- originally published in the Holiday 1993 issue of ZuZu Click Ruby Slippers to go HOMEChristmas in PolandIn Poland people start preparing for Christmas at the beginning of December. Christmas trees are setin every home and decorated with sparkling tinsel, lights, glass balls. On Christmas Eve when the firststar appears in the sky people sit at a table. They do not forget about leaving an empty place for anexpected guest.At midnight many people go to church to attend a special mass. 25 December is spent at home. The next day
people pay and receive visits. Christmas in Poland is the most familiar, traditional and joyful time.The most popular dishes are: red borsh with pies, carp: fried or in a jelly, pies with mushrooms, herrings, poppy-seed cake. Before the supper members of the family share the holy wafer, after supper they give each otherpresents which were put under the Christmas tree. Clip Art: