How is Christmas celebrated around the World?
Christmas is the time for celebrations, gifts, fun, family, food, prayers and wishes. Christmas is usually celebrated among the Christians but since the world is becoming a global village, Christmas is now celebrated in every part of the world. The traditions, the festivity or even the dates might differ, but Christmas remains the festival of spreading love and joy. Let us see how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world.
1. Christmas in Bethlehem
Let us start with the little town of Bethlehem, Israel, where baby Jesus was born. Every Christmas the city is adorned with flags and beautiful decorations. Here Christmas is not observed on a particular day since people of Bethlehem come from various Christian backgrounds. While the Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on 25th December; the Greek, Syrian and Orthodox Christians celebrate it on 6th January, while the American Christians here celebrate it on 18th January. A cross is painted on the doors of every Christian home and scenes from the Christmas story are depicted in every household. A parade takes place where galloping horsemen and police mounted on Arabian horses, followed by solitary horsemen carrying a cross, followed by Churchmen and Government officials.
2. Christmas in Australia and United States of America and Britain
The Christmas traditions are more or less similar here with only one exception- Christmas in Australia is never white as it hardly snows there during that time. While the other nations enjoy a white, snowy Christmas, Australia is filled with bright sunshine and warm climate. Candles, Christmas trees, gift giving and feasts with delicious turkey and plum cakes are the most popular way of celebrating Christmas in these nations.
3. Christmas in China
In China Christian children decorate the Christmas trees with colorful ornaments in the shape of flowers, chains and lanterns and these ornaments are made of paper. They hand long, old stockings and expect the Santa Claus, whom they call ‘Dun Che Lao Ren’ or the ‘Christmas Old man’ to come and fill them with gifts. In China, children are the main focus of Christmas celebrations. This day they also worship their ancestors.
4. Christmas in Japan
Japan has only 1% Christian population and for them Christmas celebration is not about family and gifts but more about helping the community and doing nice things for others, like helping the poor or sick people. Their Santa Claus is a Buddhist monk called Hotei-osho.
5. Christmas in India
Christians in India are found in every community and state. Usually the Indian Christians decorate mango and banana trees. They decorate their houses with mango leaves and lamps made from clay. Churches are decorated with lights and candles and people flock the well lit streets to celebrate the Christmas festivities in the evening.
6. Christmas in Egypt
Christmas in Egypt is celebrated on 7th January. They are usually Coptic Christians who observe a fast for forty days during which they do not eat meat, poultry or dairy products. They meet during the Christmas day and after the prayer ceremony at the Church they go home and eat their special meal known as ‘fata’. They visit friends and neighbors and gift them ‘kaik’ a shortbread which is eaten with a drink called shortbat.
7. Christmas in Russia
Here Christmas is celebrated as the ‘festival of winter’. People start fasting for 39 days until January 6th, when the evening star appears in the sky. After which they start their festivities with a twelve course meal which mainly consists of fish, beetroot soup, and cabbage stuffed with millet and most importantly cooked dry fruits. Babushka, meaning grandmother, is their traditional Christmas figure who distributes gifts to children.
8. Christmas in Romania
Carols form a very important part for the Romanians. Romanian carols are not just simple songs, but a way to allow people to surpass all difficulties in life. Children move from one house to another singing Christmas carols and narrating legends. The leader of the group carries a large wooden star, covered with shiny paper and decorated with bells and ribbons. The main attraction of their feast is a Pig which is nicely cleaned and cooked.
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