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Christmas Around the World

SMSC Matters
by

Mark Penny

on 25 September 2018

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Transcript of Christmas Around the World

Christmas around the world
You might think Christmas has one identity, one culture.
You'd be wrong!
It is celebrated in many ways around the world, including in cultures which are not Christian.
Christmas in Palenstine
The tension between Palestinians and Israelis extends even to the celebration of Christmas.
Palestinians still have difficulties celebrating in Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus.
Christmas celebrated in non-Christian countries
Egypt is a Muslim country but there are also about 10 million 'Coptic Christians'.
Although they celebrate Christmas Day on January 7th, most of their Christmas traditions will be familiar
Coptic Christians will fast for 40 days until Christmas, where no meat can be eaten (sometimes no milk and eggs either).
About 1 million Coptic Christians live elsewhere, such as Greece, Russia and Serbia.
There are 100 Coptic churches in the USA and a cathedral in the UK.
In China, about 1% of people are Christians, but Christmas is celebrated in major cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, where they have Christmas Trees, lights and decorations
Why do you think that even in non-Christian countries Christmas is celebrated?
Christmas traditions around the world
Canada
The Santa Claus Parade in Toronto, Canada is one of the oldest and largest Santa parades in the world!
It started in 1913 when Santa was pulled through the streets of Toronto.
Mexico
As a strongly Catholic country, Mexico honours Jesus' mother, Mary.
Processions act out the moment she and Joseph look for a room in the inn.
They are called Posadas - Posada is Spanish for Inn or Lodging.
Iceland
Christmas is often known as 'Yule' or 'Jól' in Iceland and continues until New Year. Yule originates from the ancient pagan winter solstice celebrations that were taken over by the early Christians.
Children open their presents after the evening meal on Yule Eve
Christmas in Syria
Christmas is not seen as a religious festival, but several customs that came to Japan from the USA, such as sending and receiving Christmas Cards and Presents, are now very popular.
Japan
Unfortunately Christmas in some parts of the world is not always very joyous.
After six years of war some Christians from the city of Homs were able to return to their homes and are preparing for Christmas in the ruins.
“Coptic” means “Egyptian,” and Christians living in Egypt identify themselves as Coptic Christians.
Bethlehem, where the Christian Bible tells us Jesus was born, is now in Palestine, a part of the world that has become the focus for conflict for centuries as both
Muslims and Jews claim ownership of this land.
Santa Claus is called 'Shen Dan Lao Ren' and has grottos in shops like in Europe and America
This year Coptic Christians in Egypt will hope Christmas will bring some relief from continued attacks by Islamic State simply because they are Christian.
Scores have died in murderous attacks.
Germany
Christmas trees are very important in Germany. They were first used in Germany during the Middle Ages.
The Christmas tree was traditionally brought into the house on Christmas eve and this is when Germans exchange presents with their families
Egypt
China
Although Christmas Day is not a national holiday in Japan parties are often held for children, with games and dancing.
Finland
In Finland, Christmas Eve is the main event of the holidays, and the night Santa comes with his presents.
It is spent with the family, decorating the tree, drinking “glögi” (mulled wine) and bathing in a Christmas sauna!
There are 13 Santas in Iceland! – Known as Yule lads they are magical people who come from the mountains in Iceland and each day from December 12th to Yule Eve a different Yuletide lad arrives.
The world's largest Christmas tree is at the centre of the Christmas Market in Dortmund, Germany. The tree is 45m tall, weighs around 40,000kg and is coated in 48,000 electric lights.
Full transcript