www.whyville.net Dec 19, 2010 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Christmas From Around the World

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Are your Christmas traditions lacking? Are you feeling the need to shake it up with something completely new and innovative? Have you ever considered trying a custom from a completely different country?

The very idea is mind-boggling, but I think you will find it extremely satisfying and refreshing to step outside of your Christmas tradition comfort-zone. Here are twenty-four ways to celebrate Christmas from around the world:

Children in Spain go from house to house singing songs or reciting poems and in return are given a small toy or a treat.

In Finland, families place candles on the graves of loved ones each Christmas Eve.

Two weeks before Christmas, people in Lebanon plant chickpeas, wheat, beans, and lentils. Then, when they sprout, they decorate the nativity scene with the plants.

One week before Christmas, Italian children dress as shepherd. They go from door to door singing carols.

In Japan, Christmas cake with strawberries and whipped cream is a treat for everyone.

Small clay lamps are put on the roof of homes in India to show that Jesus is the Light of the World.

In New Zealand, celebrations are held in parks. You can listen to people sing Christmas songs.

Everybody stands at the same time when dinner is over in Bulgaria.

In Ireland, people place candles in their windows to show that they would have let Mary and Joseph in.

Mexican families cut designs in brown paper bags and put a candle in them to make a lantern. These are called farolitos, and they line the sidewalks, windows, and rooftops.

In Germany, children leave their shoes or boots by the fireplace or outside their front doors. They are filled with candy the next morning.

Do you like the beach? In Australia, that's where they sing carols!

Families from the United States decorate evergreen trees with small lights, tinsel, and ornaments.

Homes in Paraguay are decorated with coco flowers.

A Christmas cracker is a paper covered tube that cracks when pulled. A surprise is inside. Children in England receive one during Christmas dinner.

Christmas Eve in Holland is celebrated with hot chocolate and a banketletter, which is a cake that is shaped like the first letter of the family's last name.

Tongan families get up early to make and deliver breakfast to neighbors.

On Christmas Eve, families in Ghana stay up all night playing games and count down the seconds to Christmas Day.

Liberian families eat dinner outside. Traditionally, the Christmas dinner includes beef, rice, and biscuits.

In Argentina, families light diamond-shaped paper balloons called globos and release them into the night sky on Christmas Eve.

Children roller-skate in the streets early on Christmas morning in Venezuela.

Norwegian children eat rice pudding. There is one nut in the whole batch of pudding, and whoever finds it gets candy.

Stars made out of bamboo and tissue paper and lit with tiny lights are called parols and are a decoration in the Philippines.

On the thirteenth of December in Sweden, the eldest daughter wears a white dress with a red sash. She serves her parents breakfast in bed.

And now, for some Christmas fun facts:

Mistletoe was used by priests long ago in their winter celebrations, because it stayed green throughout the winter.

Tinsel was invented in Germany in 1610. It was made of real silver.

The first animal crackers were made to be Christmas tree decorations!

In 1670, a choirmaster in Germany handed out candy made out of sugar and shaped like sticks to his young singers to keep them quiet. He even bent them into shepherd's crooks. Thus, the candy cane was born.

To me, traditions are what make the holidays special. Now you have a bunch of brand-new ideas from around the world. It's your job to go out and try them, and to share with others your own holiday traditions.

Happy Holidays!


Author's Note: Sources: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=622926a816c25210VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=21bc9fbee98db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD


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