Post Tagged with "Christmas"

Holidays roundup

Here’s a roundup of posts related to holidays celebrations around the world. Happy holidays!

Holiday season in Argentina

How we celebrate New Year in Portugal

Christmas in Wroclaw, Poland

It’s Christmas in Chicago!

Christkind or Weihnachtsmann? Christmas in Germany

Sunny Christmas in New Zealand

December 23, 2011 Comments disabled

Christmas in Wrocław, Poland

I’d been watching the city municipal workers assemble the rows of wooden stalls and the three-story Christmas tree in Wrocław’s town center since the middle of November. The outdoor Christmas market seemed like it was going to be a huge event. Sprawled across two lengths of the square, the builders worked just as hard at assembling as they did at shoveling the continually on-coming snow heralding the beginning of the Polish winter.

I knew the day the market opened by the smell. Fried kielbasa, baked gingerbread, and the distinct linger of hot mulled wine invited me in as I walked from my bus stop toward the building where I work. Luckily, the town square is positioned so that a detour through the market was, actually, right on the way.

Wroclaw Christmas market

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December 22, 2010 2 comments

It’s Christmas in Chicago!

Christmas is celebrated every year on December 25th by Christians around the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the 12 days after in which “Three Wise Men” followed a bright shining star to the site of Jesus’ birth, Bethlehem… but is also celebrated by many non-religious people in many places in the United States. Many families will put up a Christmas tree (a fir tree decorated with lights and ornaments); will decorate their houses with lights, fir boughs, and wreaths.

Christmas comes out of a lot of pre-Christian European traditions, specifically Yule, and the main marker of modern Christmas celebrations in the USA is the exchange of gifts. Adults and children alike will receive gifts, and many adults have lists of hundreds of people that they’ll send Christmas greeting cards to.

Daley Plaza's Christmas Tree
Daley Plaza’s Christmas Tree

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December 14, 2010 6 comments

Christkind or Weihnachtsmann? Christmas in Germany

Christmas traditions in Germany vary a lot, depending on the area you live in, and also if this area is predominantly a Catholic or Protestant one.  We even have two entities bringing presents: the Christkind and the traditional Santa or Weihnachtsmann. Most Germans do share one of the following traditions though:

The start of all Christmas-related actvity (especially as it is also the opening day of our world-famous Christmas Markets) is marked by the first Advent-Sunday, four weeks before Christmas. Most families will light the first candle on their Advent wreath, adding a burning candle each week until all four candles are burning on Christmas Eve.

market

(image via)

The first important day for most children is December 6 (Saint Nicholas day), when they have to put their shoes outside the door to have Santa Claus fill the shoes with sweets and little presents. This does depend on if the children have been naughty or nice: nice children will receive the aforementioned sweets, naughty children only get a “Rute“, or rod, to represent the fact that they’d have received a spanking back in the old days.

The one main difference to most European Christmas celebrations is that for Germans Christmas Eve is the most important day. Though no official holiday, most people will finish work around noon, to be home in time to set the tree and prepare the elaborate evening meal. And it is after this dinnner that children will receive their presents, so you can imagine the state they are in come dessert (or even worse, come Papa’s cigarette after dessert).

After the unwrapping and connected commotion most families will settle down for the evening to watch TV or chat under the Christmas tree, though in some areas families will attend late Mass around ten in the evening.

A nice local tradition from the Rhineland is that instead of serving a vast, multi-course meal people will sit down to a helping of sausage and potato salad. After all that hassle you had before the holidays, chasing down presents and preparing the household, Mama does not want to spend hours and hours in the kitchen.

After all the feasting and excitement on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are reserved for visiting relatives and friends (and more eating), and of course to relax and wind down. And to start thinking about the plans for the New Year’s Eve-party.

Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr! (Merry Christmas and a happy new year!)

This was the last in our series of Christmas around the world posts.

Read the rest here:
Sunny Christmas: Christmas in New Zealand
Magic Christmas – Christmas in Catalunya
Christmas regained – Christmas in Romania
Windy Christmas – Christmas in Costa Rica
White Christmas – Christmas in the UK

December 24, 2009 2 comments

Sunny Christmas: Christmas in New Zealand

Boxing Day

First events on the Christmas calendar in New Zealand? Santa parades! In the first or second week of December many towns and cities have a parade which kicks off the excitement of Christmas for the youngest Kiwis. The streets will be lined with parents and kiddies who enjoy watching the singing and dancing. But the highlight is when Santa himself arrives in his sleigh decked out in Christmas reds. And, since Christmas falls in the summer down here in the Southern Hemisphere, Santa can often be seen wearing shorts, sunglasses and jandals (flip-flops).

The weeks leading up to the 25th of December will be busy as people shop for Christmas presents and also attend parties put on by their place of employment. The office Christmas party is a tradition where people tend to let loose with their workmates and enjoy the end of the work year together. Depending on where one works, you might be having the party in-house, or some employers will book a restaurant or maybe even a dining cruise. There is usually food and drink and sometimes there is also a “Secret Santa” element to the party. For this, everyone will buy a gift that costs up to a specified limit, usually just 5 or 10 dollars, and all the gifts will be collected, mixed up and then handed out randomly. You never know what you will get or who will end up with the present you bought.

Christmas in New Zealand is very much centered around family and being outdoors. As it’s also school holidays, many families will leave town for a few days or even weeks to relax at the beach. They may stay in a caravan or a bach. Whatever they choose, the aim is to get away from it all. A day or two before Christmas everyone will pack up the car and head out to the destination of choice. Upon arriving they will settle in, finish wrapping presents for under the tree, have some food and perhaps some New Zealand wine or beer and let the relaxing begin until Christmas morning when it’s time to open presents.

While Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere is all about keeping warm and cozy during the winter weather, New Zealand Christmas is more about enjoying the sunshine. Heavy roast dinners are not as common and many people will have barbecues and, if they are lucky, get to eat the seafood they’ve caught that day. Having said this, there is one thing that is essential to the Kiwi Christmas dinner table, and that is the pavlova. A pavlova is like a meringue that is the size and shape of a cake. It is adorned with fruit such as berries or kiwifruit to offset the sweetness of the meringue.

Pavlova

On the morning of the 25th, Christmas Day, everyone will wake up and open the presents that have appeared under the tree from Santa. Kiwi’s tend to have either a fake or real fir tree with lots of decorations as is common in Europe. But there is also a New Zealand Christmas tree called a pohutukawa. These trees grow all over the country and are marked by bright red, brushlike, blossoms around Christmas time. When the landscape begins to turn red, Kiwis everywhere start to get that summer feeling and look forward to Christmas.

Although New Zealand has a recognised bi-cultural European/ Maori heritage, you can see that many of our Christmas traditions have a lot in common with those of European countries. But one thing that sets our festivities apart is the wonderful summer weather we have in December. Everyone should experience a warm Christmas at least once in a lifetime!

Come back tomorrow for our final Christmas around the world post, Christmas in Germany, by Marcel.

Read more:
Magic Christmas – Christmas in Catalunya
Christmas regained – Christmas in Romania
Windy Christmas – Christmas in Costa Rica
White Christmas – Christmas in the UK

December 23, 2009 5 comments

Magic Christmas: Christmas in Catalunya

Catalunya is in the north-east part of Spain and has a distinct language, culture and traditions of its own. Whereas in Spain Christmas is celebrated with a big family meal on the evening of 24th December, in Catalunya Christmas is celebrated on the 25th with a big lunch.


Tió the magic log. Credit

But before lunch, generally in the morning, (although some families make it on Christmas eve), we have a particular Catalan tradition, where children and not so children make “cagar el Tió”, which as a literal translation would be to make “the log poop”.

OK forget the translation, better I explain it! So you get a log and children feed it starting a couple of weeks before Christmas (usually Santa Llúcia on the 13th december). During the night parents remove the food and next day the child thinks that the log has eaten it, and it’s good because the more it eats the more presents it will “poop” or give.

On Christmas day, children go to the kitchen and pray, then they get a stick and while singing a song which can change from area to area in the differents parts of Catalonia but all about the “Tió”, they hit the log which is covered with a blanket.

caga tió,
tió de Nadal,
no caguis arengades,
que són massa salades
caga torrons
que són més bons!”

(poop log, christmas log, don’t poop salty sardines; they are too salty. poop nougats, which are nicer!)


“Tio” under his blanket. Credit

When the children finish the song, they remove the blanket and underneath they find the presents! (which while praying in the kitchen the parents have hidden under the log and covered with the blanket) and really, children are so happy they don’t think how come the log “poops” presents.

If the child has been not behaving properly during the last year at some point the “Tió” will give coal, which usually is a candy with the aspect of coal. At my home however, as we were good children (of course!) the coal was put at the last try to indicate that the “Tió” didn’t have anything else to poop.

Unfortunately like other traditions this one was fading with the omnipresent Santa Claus, however, recently it seems it’s beginning to be “trendy” again.

This was a guest post by Meritxell in Catalunya. Thanks Meritxell!

Visit again tomorrow for Christmas in New Zealand, by Marie.

Read more:
Christmas regained – Christmas in Romania
Windy Christmas – Christmas in Costa Rica
White Christmas – Christmas in the UK

December 22, 2009 3 comments