With the festive season round the corner, how about telling our kids how children around the world celebrate Christmas. On Christmas day, Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christmas tree is decorated, homes are illuminated with lights and gifts are exchanged. Apart from these, there are traditions that are typical to some countries too. Some countries though, have month-long celebrations starting from the beginning of December to the beginning of January.
Italy: Here, displaying the nativity scene with a crib filled with straw is the most important part of the celebrations. Kids get gifts from ‘Babbo Natale’ (Italian for Father Christmas). In many families, gifts are exchanged only on the 6th of January, the Day of Epiphany. People wish each other ‘Buon Natale’, meaning 'Merry Christmas'.
Norway: Christmas is known as ‘Jul’ and Santa Claus is called ‘Julenisse’ in Norway. On Christmas, children receive gifts from Julennise. The Norwegians wish each other God Jul! which means Happy Christmas.
France: Christmas celebrations start with St Nicholas day on the 6th of December. Cities are decorated and illuminated with lights. Children open the 24 little windows of their Advent calendar. Christmas trees are decorated. On Christmas eve, children keep their shoes near the chimney and wait for ‘Père Noël’ (Father Christmas) to fill it with sweets. On the 25th of December, families get together for a feast and presents are exchanged. Children also get sweets and little gifts. Families love to visit the magical illuminated world of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.
England: Christmas decorations begin as early as mid-November. Families decorate their houses with fairy lights and sparkling displays. They collect a donation from visitors in aid of local charities. Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December. 26 December is a bank holiday and friends and family visit each other on this day.
USA: Families decorate their houses with Christmas ornaments and lights. Families get together for a festive meal and exchange gifts and cards. People write ‘Merry X-Mas’ on the cards, the X signifies Jesus’ cross.
To be continued.....for other interesting traditions, click on Part 2.
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