Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas traditions throughout the world

by Tony Ferraro

Festivals tend to be a reason to get together with friends and family, and eat, enjoy and be merry. Christmas is a wonderful festivity that is celebrated all over the world due to the large number of people who stick to the religious teachings of Christianity and their particular dispersion around the world. Christmas, due to the broad appeal, has also taken on much more luxurious proportions. It's become more of a holiday celebration as opposed to a spiritual festival. Folks are looking forward to Christmas and New Year the entire year, to enable them to go out and celebrate. Inspite of the new modern proportions it has taken, Christmas time traditions continue to be a significant part of the fun. These traditions, nonetheless, vary from country to country.

We are all familiar with major American and British traditions, but other countries also have their specific Christmas traditions. Sweden, for example, begins Christmas celebrations from the 13th of December. The Swedish people celebrate St. Lucy's Day, which comes prior to Christmas. Electric candles are used to decorate homes. A Christmas table laden with dishes made especially for Christmas as laid out in all homes. Friends and families engage in exchanging gifts. In Finland, Christmas celebrations begin as early as the first week of December. Christmas trees are decorated with, apart from the usual ornaments, with apples, cotton and nuts. The tree is topped with a star. The traditional Christmas ham is prepared in all Finnish homes.

Celebrations in Mexico are a little more different. A small figurine of baby Jesus is placed in homes at midnight of Christmas day. The Christmas festivities start from December 12 and end on January 6. The group of people goes from one home to another for nine days prior to Christmas Eve as parents of Jesus went before his birth. Nigerians, on the other hand, celebrate Christmas by decorating the back yards of their homes with Christmas trees. On Christmas Eve, people prepare a traditional meal of meat, rice and vegetables, among other things.

In Argentina, Christmas is celebrated from December 6th to January 6th. Since during this time it is summer in Argentina, cold snacks and iced drinks are served. Dinners are served in gardens and open spaces. Some people enjoy going out to swimming pools, rivers and beaches to stay cool in the hot weather conditions. The homes in Argentina are decorated with red and white flowers. Christmas wreaths are also placed on the walls and main entrance of homes.

In Thailand, a region having a massive Buddhist population by which Christian believers are a minority, Christmas has steadily started entering the lifestyles of the people. The Thai Christian believers attend church service during Xmas. They've got traditional Christmas dinner with a dash of Thai Cuisine. A number of Thai folks, that are not Christians, benefit from the festive time simply by meeting good friends, taking pleasure in excellent food and trading gifts. Christmas is a great occasion for reunion with friends and family. Many people adore the time spent with each other. The surroundings are radiant and joyful.

However, irrespective of the different ways in which people celebrate Christmas, one thing is the same everywhere, and that is the love for Christ and the feeling of welcoming new hope into their lives. The feeling of enjoyment, happiness and sharing with family and friends is common in all cultures. This is what makes Christmas that everyone waits for all year long.

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