Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Customs of the World


In some parts of Ireland it was usual on Christmas Eve to burn a large candle which no one was permitted to snuff except those who bore the name of Mary.

Bohemian Customs and Superstitions about Christmas Day - 1. Whenever Christmas Day falls on a Saturday there will be a foggy winter and severe cold afterwards. 2. Young people get usually engaged on that day. 3. People abstain from eating meat on Christmas Day, but they are compensated for it on the two following days. 4. The girls go to church on Christmas Day clothed in their simple and everyday dress, but on the next day they appear in their Sunday and holiday dress.

In no land is Christmas more generally celebrated than in Scandinavia. Peace and good will is the order of the season. The courts are closed, old quarrels are adjusted, and feuds are forgotten. A pretty symbol of the spirit that reigns in the Yule night practice of placing in a row every pair of shoes in each household, typifying that during the year the family will live together in peace and harmony.

At Filey, England, on Christmas morning before break of day there existed formerly the greatest uproar, by numbers of boys going round from house to house, rapping on every door, and roaring out, "I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year" which words were vociferated again and again till the family awoke and admitted the clamorous visitor, - who if he were the first, was treated with money or cheese and gingerbread, which were also distributed, but less liberally, to subsequent visitors.

Above customs courtesy "Curiosities of popular customs and rites, ceremonies, observances, and miscellaneous antiques" by William S. Walsh, published 1898

There is a pretty custom of giving a Christmas dinner to birds in Norway, sheaves of corn being attached to barn doors and gateways.

In Wales Christmas carols are sung as in England; the house is gay with paper decorations and "kissing bushes" and toffee or cyfath, a kind of taffy is made, the young people taking turn in stirring it in a great bowl. Goose is eaten on Christmas and a bun loaf baked large enough to last a fortnight.

In Switzerland the German method of celebrating Christmas is adhered to, St. Nick bringing presents and lighting the tree, each little boy and girl reciting a poem or singing a song before receiving their gift.

Above customs courtesy "House & Garden, volume 15" published January, 1909

Christmas is a public holiday in Ethiopia, and on Christmas Eve's night(Christmas Eve is on January 6, Christmas on January 7), Christian priests carry a procession through town carrying umbrellas with fancy decorations. (Christmas is called Ganna in Ethiopia) Then the procession finally ends at local churches where Christmas mass is held. (Christmas mass can also be held on Christmas morning) Then on Christmas morning, the people open presents and then they play outdoor sports (that are native to Africa) to celebrate. Usually the wealthy shares a medium sized feast with the poor and a large feast with there family and friends. Dishes include doro and watInjera. Most people usually put up decorations that symbolize something relating to Christmas, like a male infant to represent the birth of Christ, or a small Christmas tree to represent Christmas decorations.

Mexico's Christmas traditions are based on Mexico's form of Roman Catholicism and popular culture traditions also called Las Posadas. Over nine days, groups of townspeople go from door to door in a fashion of when the parents of the unborn baby Jesus Christ looked for shelter to pass the night when they arrived at Bethlehem, and are periodically called inside homes to participate in the breaking of a gift-filled piƱata.

In the center and south of Mexico, children receive gifts not on Christmas Day but on 6 January, the Feast of the Epiphany, when, according to tradition, the Three Wise Men bring gifts not only to baby Jesus but also to children who have placed written requests in their shoes.

At midnight on Christmas, many families place the figure of baby Jesus in their nacimientos (Nativity scenes), as the symbolic representation of Christmas as a whole.

Above customs courtesy Wikipedia: Christmas Worldwide

*Graphic courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Deb, Very interesting. I love reading your posts ,I learn something new every time I read them.

    Hope you all have a great Christmas. Love you guys.

    ReplyDelete