Christmas is coming, and most children are probably waiting for Santa to come to their homes and deliver gifts for them. It would not be an exaggeration to say Christmas has long ago lost its religious meaning for the majority of participants in this holiday and has turned into some kind of family celebration with presents and dinner. However, this is true mostly for the United States (and perhaps Great Britain), but what about other countries? Although not all the world is Christian (and Christmas is a Christian holiday), many nations celebrate it annually, each in a different way.
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Countries of the European Union have different traditions regarding Christmas. For example, if you ever go to Sweden or Norway on Christmas, you will be surprised to discover how people of these countries prefer porridge to cookies. In Netherlands, Santa Claus comes not from the North Pole, but from Spain, using a steam boat, and his assistant is not an elf, but a guy named Black Peter (parentdish.co.uk). Italian people put up scenes of Christ’s nativity in churches, city squares, and homes. However, rather often, Italians exchange gifts on January 6th (kids-world-travel-guide.com). In Ukraine, Christmas is also celebrated not on December 25th, but on January 7th, which is connected to a different calendar that is used by the Orthodox Church for religious dates. Until Christmas Eve, people usually fast for 39 days, and then have a 12-course supper in honor of the 12 apostles (todayifoundout.com).
As for Asian countries, in Japan, for example, Christmas is considered to be a time to share one’s good mood and happiness with other people. As most Japanese people are not Christians, this holiday in Japan has no religious connotations. Japanese couples usually see Christmas Eve as a romantic occasion to spend time together, go to a restaurant, or have a walk, so it is somewhat similar to St. Valentine’s Day (which is, in its turn, super popular in Japan). Besides, unlike the United States, Christmas in Japan is not an official holiday, so companies work as usual, and the traditional Christmas food is cake and chicken (whychristmas.com).
Christmas is celebrated even in India, although there it possesses some national specifics. For example, instead of pine trees, Indians decorate their homes with mango leaves; they also decorate mango or banana trees the same way as we do with pine trees. Also, Indian people like to put burning oil lamps on flat rooftops—this symbolizes the light Jesus brings to the world (thenorthpole.com).
Although Christmas was originally a Christian holiday, it has spread all over the world, and has become a popular and a favorite holiday in many countries. According to Christian ideals, Christmas brings peace and unity in the homes of people across the world, and regardless of how people decorate their homes or what they do on this occasion, the holiday still remains one of the main annual events for many families across the globe.
“Christmas Around the World: Christmas Traditions and Celebrations Worldwide.” Kids-World-Travel-Guide.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
“12 Christmas Traditions from Around the World.” Today I Found Out. N.p., 13 Dec. 2010. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
“Christmas in Japan.” Whychristmas.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
“Christmas Around the World: How Different Countries Celebrate the Festive Season.” Parentdish UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
“Christmas in India.” Thenorthpole.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.
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