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Christmas Around the World
Transcript of Christmas Around the World
Christmas Traditions Around the World
Las Posadas is a nine day celebration in Mexico where families join a procession, or a group of people walking together, which usually ends at a church. A young boy and girl may dress up and play the parts of Joseph and Mary. The girl may ride on a burro through the town. Musicians and carolers join the procession. Children carry poinsettias and pine branches in the procession. At the end of the celebration, the children break open pinatas and gather candy.
The Christmas tree is thought to originate from Germany. Around 100 years ago, St. Bonafice found a group of people worshipping an oak tree. This angered St. Bonafice, who was a Christian, and he chopped the tree down. An evergreen tree, like our traditional Christmas tree, grew from the stump and St. Bonafice saw it as a sign that Christianity would flourish. The first Christmas trees were lit with candles. Martin Luther put candles on a tree to show his children how stars twinkle in a dark sky.
United States of America
We have many traditions in the United States that families have brought with them when they moved from other countries to the United States. Families decorate their homes with lights and Christmas trees, hang stockings and leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
In Italy, children look for Le Befana to bring them goodies. Also known as "The Good Witch of Christmas," legend has it that Le Befana was too busy to follow the Three Wise men to look for the newborn child. She soon realized her mistake and set out to find him herself. She leaves goodies, such as fruit and small toys for well behaved children on her way.
People in France believe it is good luck to give and to burn a log on the fire for Christmas. This log is called a Yule log. The Yule log is a huge and sturdy log that burns for many days, bringing much warmth to the home. Over the years, fewer homes were built with fireplaces. So, families started to make Yule logs with yellow cake and chocolate frosting, rolled up to look like a log. These desserts are eaten and enjoyed at Christmas.
St. Lucia Day
December 13th is an important day in Sweden. In the early morning, the girls dress up as Lucia brides. They wear a white dress with a red sash and wear a beautiful crown of candles on a green wreath. On this day, each Lucia bride wakes her parents and brothers and sisters by singing songs. She carries a tray of saffron rolls to her family while they are in bed.
In Holland, St. Nicholas arrives by boat. Then, he and his assistant, "Black Peter," lead a procession through the city and listen to the children as they plead their case that they have been on good behavior. That night, children leave their clogs, or wooden shoes, on the porch and St. Nicholas leaves goodies for the children who are well behaved. He leaves switches for the children who are not. It is believed that this tradition of leaving shoes for Santa to fill with goodies led to hanging stockings over the fireplace.