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Christmas Traditions Around the World

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Lucy Kidwell

on 3 December 2014

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Transcript of Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas Traditions Around the World
By Lucy Kidwell
Most of Ethiopia is Orthodox
Many are poor, Christmas is simple
Christmas in Ethiopia
Christmas in Mexico
Christmas in Sweden
Christmas in Iceland is taken very seriously
Everyone receives new clothes, the entire house is spotless, families get together to have enormous parties, and cookies are baked
Anyone who does not get new clothes is in danger of being eaten by the Christmas Cat
Christmas in Iceland
Christmas in Wales
Christmas in Austria
Christmas in Russia
Posada: Mexican tradition of groups of people going door-to-door asking for a place to stay
Symbolizes Mary and Joseph being refused a place to have baby Jesus
Lasts nine days
Children participate in a huge pinata party
Noche de los Rabanos
Takes place on December 23
Booths are set up along streets featuring giant, hand-carved radishes
The radishes are carved into anything the artist desires
Festival of lights in historic Mexico city
Goes on from Christmas eve to New Year's Day
Traditional Mexican food eaten on Christmas
Sweet, ring-shaped bread—usually homemade
Tiny, ceramic doll baked inside
Whoever gets the doll has to throw a party for the rest of the people there
Christmas in Mexico is traditional and reflects their religious beliefs
The Yule Lads
The 13 Yule Lads are Icelandic versions of Santa Claus
For the 13 days leading up to Christmas, children put their best shoe on their windowsill
Every night, one of the 13 Yule Lads leaves a present for the children
Their names are: Sheepfold Stick, Gilly Oaf, Shorty, Spoon-licker, Pot-licker, Bowl-licker, Door-licker, Glutton, Sausage-pilfer, Peeper, Sniffer, Meathook, and Candle-beggar
Sweden has many symbolic Christmas practices that focus on tradition over commercialism
Many go to a candlelit midnight mass on Christmas

Saint Lucia Day
Celebrated on December 13
Honors Saint Lucia, a Christian martyr who died for her faith
The oldest daughter dresses up like Saint Lucia, wearing white robes and a crown full of candles
She serves her parents breakfast in bed
This kicks off the Christmas season
Christmas Day
Christmas dinner is eagerly anticipated
May include smorgasbord, ham, pork, fish, sweets, and most likely something called Risgryngrot
Risgryngrot is a rice pudding made with one almond
Tomte is the Swedish equivalent of Santa Claus
After dinner, Tomte hands out presents while singing funny songs
The Burning of the Gävle Goat
Christmas in Wales is religious but also very symbolic of pre-Christian tradition
Plygain is the tradition of singing from 3-6am on Christmas Day
Men gather in rural churches and sing 3-4 part harmonies
Still is practiced in parts of mid-Wales
Calenning is the tradition of young children going door-to-door, chanting rhymes, and splashing water on each other--lasts from dawn until noon on New Year's Day
Mari Lwyd
Christmas Food
On December 6th, Saint Nicholas gives out presents along with his evil sidekick, Krampus
Krampus is a demonic creature who punishes naughty children
Krampus has goat horns, black, shaggy fur, a long tongue, chains hanging from his body, and a cowbell that he constantly rings
Men of the villages will dress up as Krampus
Advent wreaths: made out of greenery and decorated elaborately
Four candles are lit with each of the four Sundays before Christmas
Intricate, sophisticated nativity scenes
Children are not allowed to view the Christmas tree until Christmas eve
Ganna: Ethiopian name for Christmas
Ganna starts at 4:00
Ethiopians wear shammas (similar to togas)
Men and women are separated and everyone is handed a candle
Everyone walks around the church three times while holding the candle
Traditional Christmas Games
Yeferas guks is played on horseback
Men throw lances at each other
Christmas was banned from 1917-1992
Most Russians belong to the Russian Orthodox Church
Christmas is celebrated on January 7th
Christmas Feast
Many religious Russians do not eat meat or dairy products from weeks before Christmas until after Christmas
Christmas dinner is usually made without meat
Pirog—cabbage pies popular in Russia
Pelmini—Russian dumplings
The most traditional dish is kutya—a special porridge made of wheat-berries, honey, and poppy seeds
Families will often eat kutya out of one dish
Many children play a game that is also called ganna
Similar to hockey
Played with a stick and a wooden ball
Unique Traditions
A priest and a group of boys will travel to homes
Holy water is sprinkled in each room
Brings happiness and good luck
On Christmas, children go from door to door carrying a star and singing Christmas carols
They usually receive candy at each home
40 foot tall straw goat that was first built in 1966
Every year, people try to burn it down
It has been torched 26 times
Desperate measures are taken to protect the goat
Mari Lwyd (the grey mare) is a person wearing a white robe and a skeletal horse head with spring-loaded jaws
Mari Lwyd and her group of accomplices go from door to door and engage in a “battle of wits” and trade playful insults in rhyme
The party then goes inside for more songs, celebrations, and drinks
Taffy is made by boiling ingredients on a pan over an open fire
Made on Christmas eve leading up to Plygain
Drinking from the wassail bowl is an important tradition
Filled with fruit, sugar, and warm beer; bowl is ornate
Bowl is passed around and everyone drinks a sip and makes a wish
Full transcript