Chinese Christmas Customs and Traditions. There is only a small percent of Chinese who are Christians and therefore celebrate Christmas. Christmas is called Sheng Dan Jieh, which means Holy Birth Festival. Families put up Christmas trees, normally artificial and are called “Trees of light”, and decorate them with paper lanterns and paper chains. Chinese children will hang upstockings for “Dun Che Lao Ren”, the Christmas Old Man” or “ Lan Khoong-Khoong”, “Nice Old Father” on Christmas Eve. The season of Christmas is ushered in with fireworks and entertainers and people enjoy it with feasting and parties. On Christmas Eve many people have parties or have a festive dinner at home or at a restaurant. Midnight mass is also becoming popular
Christmas Customs and Traditions of the U.S.A. The U.S.A. is a melting pot of nationalities and therefore has a wealth of traditions that it has made its own. Homes, Churches, Malls and cities are filled with decorations, Christmas trees and Christmas lights. In the U.S.A. it is Santa Claus that brings the presents to all good children on Christmas morning, the name Santa Claus originates from St. Nicolaus and the Dutch word Sinterklaas, who was a bishop and wore red robes trimmed with white fur. Santa Claus will be seen in all the major shops and malls giving children the chance ton have a word with him personally to let him know that they have been very good and what they would like for Christmas. Celebrations around America vary greatly with the regions but the sentiments of families coming together and the giving and receiving of gifts are the same. Christmas carols feature greatly at this time. America has produced many great Christmas films which are watched and enjoyed by children all over the world. In Washington D.C., a huge, spectacular tree is lit ceremoniously when the President presses a button and turns on the tree’s lights. American homes are decorated with holly and mistletoe and the trees are trimmed with lights, baubles, candy canes and strings of popcorn, the outside of the houses are often decorated with lights and illuminated figures are often seen around the gardens. Christmas Eve sees many families going to Midnight mass which begins the Christmas celebrations. Christmas morning children excitedly open their presents before the family Christmas dinner. Christmas dinner normally consists of Roast Turkey or Goose, served with vegetables, cranberry sauce followed by plum pudding and brandy sauce with mince pies. In Arizona they follow the tradition of Mexico called Las Posadas in which they play out the parts of Joseph and Mary looking for somewhere to stay. They will visit the homes of their neighbours and friends to admire their Nativity scenes and in New Mexico paper lanterns will light the way for the Christ Child. In Hawaii Santa arrives in a boat and Christmas dinner may be eaten outdoors, in Colorado a huge star is illuminated on top of a mountain and can be seen for many miles, In Alaska a star is tied on to a pole and carried from door to door while Herod’s men try to capture it, Polish Americans place hay on their kitchen floor to remind them that Jesus was born in a stable. It is this diversity that makes Christmas in the U.S.A. so interesting and unique.
Merry Christmas Everybody!
Australian Christmas Customs and Traditions. Unlike Europe and a lot of America, Christmas in Australia will not be a ‘white Christmas’ as it is right in the middle of the summer. As temperatures in Sydney can hit 100 at this time of the year it is not unusual to see families eating their Christmas dinners on the beach! Bondi Beach is a popular holiday destination for the Christmas period and many people fill the camping grounds around this area. Australians will decorate their houses with palm leaves, branches and small red flowers. Bright, sweet smelling flowers will fill their homes and there will also be the traditional European Christmas wreaths. During the lead up to Christmas there are nativity plays and carol concerts to attend. The traditional Christmas dinner will usually be a Roast Turkey with roast potatoes and vegetables followed with brandy flamed plum pudding and white sauce, but it could just as easily be a ‘Barbie’ or a picnic on the beach. On Christmas Eve people from all over the city gather together to attend the ‘Carols by Candlelight’ concert, they listen and join in with, the Christmas Carols and believe Christmas would not be complete without this tradition. Like the British, the Australians celebrate Boxing Day on the 26th December and the Christmas season ends on Twelfth night with parties and dinners.
Irish Customs and Traditions. Christmas celebrations begin on the 6th December, St.Nicolas, and end on the 6th of January, Epiphany. The Christmas tree is normally put up and decorated before Advent starts, and a star or angel will sit on the top. At Christmas Eve after the evening meal, a tall candle is placed in the window sill to light the way for the Holy Family and the table is re-laid with bread and a jug of milk and the door left unlocked as a sign of hospitality. The churches are packed to capacity at Midnight mass, carols are sung, often accompanied by live music. It is at this mass that people who have not seen each other for a while will catch up on any news and wish each other a Happy Christmas, every member of the family will attend mass. Christmas dinner will traditionally consist of roast turkey or goose, potatoes and vegetables followed by Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. The 26th December, St.Stephan’s Day is a great day in Ireland with football matches and horse racing, the races in Leopardstown, Dublin attract almost 20,000 every year. On St.Stephan’s Day there is also the procession of the wren, people carry a stick with holly on the top (at one time there would also be a wren on the stick) they then go around the houses asking for money for the poor wren. On Christmas day there is also the Forty Foot swim at Forty Foot Rock near Dublin. Other places also have their own swim but the one at Forty Foot Rock is the most well know and attracts hundred of people in the early morning jumping off the rocks into the cold waters! Not a good idea for the faint hearted. On the 6th January all the Christmas decorations are taken down it is considered bad luck to take them down before this.