“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
~~ Alexander Smith
Christmas around the world is celebrated in so many different ways that there is not enough space to cover them all. Each is unique in some way yet each form of celebration is the day that, as Alexander Smith so aptly puts it, ‘ … holds all time together’ thus uniting a world too often torn asunder.
Elements common to many areas of the world include the lighting of Christmas trees, the hanging of wreaths, Christmas stockings, candy canes, and/or the creation of Nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas carols may be sung and stories told about such figures as the Baby Jesus, St Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christkindl or Grandfather Frost. The sending of Christmas cards, the exchange of Christmastime greetings, observance of fasting and/or special religious observances such as a midnight Mass or Vespers on Christmas Eve, the burning of a Yule log, and the giving and receiving of presents.
Christmas time is one of the most important periods on the Christian calendar, and is often closely connected to other holidays at this time of year, such as Advent, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Nicholas Day, St. Stephen’s Day, New Year’s, and the Feast of the Epiphany.
In North America, we say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It is our tradition and tradition need not die for the useless point of political correctness. WE ARE so we shall be.
For our African friends as well as African Americans who hold to tradition, it is Kwanzaa a week long celebration held in the United States honoring universal African-American heritage and culture, observed from December 26 to January 1 each year.
The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase ‘matunda ya kwanza,’ meaning first fruits of the harvest.
The Xmas Traditions of Europe
Saint Nicholas Feast Day is an important celebration in most East European countries, in addition to caroling and the twelve dishes in Christmas Eve dinner.
The Christmas traditions of Europe are full of customs, superstitions and prophecies that came from ancient traditions. Saint Andrew’s Day on the last day of November is the first prophesying day and the second on Saint Barbara’s Day on December 4. Santa Claus visits the children with gifts on Saint Nicholas Day on the morning of December 6. Saint Lucia’s Day on December 13 is the night of bad spirits.
Countries like Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and others celebrate on December 25.
The Ukraine, Serbia and many others celebrate January 7th. As Russia does – where Ded Moroz brings presents to children to celebrate the New Year.
Christmas in Asia Proper
Asian Christmas is either privately celebrated in non christian countries or is a by-culture of English influence.
In the People’s Republic of China, December 25 is not a legal holiday. However, it is still designated as a public holiday in China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, both former colonies of Western powers with (nominal) Christian cultural heritage.
In the mainland, the small percentage of Chinese citizens who consider themselves Christians unofficially, and usually privately, observe Christmas.
Christmas Day is a national holiday in Bangladesh. Bengali Christians celebrate the day as the Borodin, or Great Day, and greet family and friends by saying ‘Shubho Boro Din,’ or Greetings of the Great Day. The secular celebration of Christmas is also popular with the urban middle class in the country.
Being a British colony until 1947, many British traditions stayed on in India. Christmas is a state holiday in India, although Christianity in India is a minority with only 2.3% of the population.
Christmas in Indonesia is a popular festival and a national holiday, despite Christianity in Indonesia only accounting for 8% of the population. While Christians revere Jesus as the Son of God, Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet of God, and because of this, many in Indonesia also celebrate his birth. Christmas is also popular among the Animist and Hindu populations in Indonesia.
Israel is a Jewish state; thus, Jewish Israelis do not celebrate Christmas. The celebration of Hanukkah falls at approximately the same time, but it has not undergone the same osmosis of Christmas-like practices (such as exchange of gifts) that the holiday has in the United States and Europe.
Given the diversity of denominations among Christian Israeli Arabs, some celebrate with the Western Churches on the Gregorian 25 December, and others with the Eastern Churches on the Gregorian 7 January (Julian 25 December).
However you choose to celebrate the holidays, be safe, be joyful and enjoy your time with family.
Fran Klasinski- warriorlady
Mentoring you with common sense
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