Becoming One with Christmas
England is one country that celebrates Christmas magnificently. Since most people start to prepare this holiday from early December, most markets display Christmas items in early winter. When people go to the market, most Christmas items such as ornaments, Christmas trees and Christmas stockings are sold at wholesale prices. In particular, a big Christmas tree is erected in City Hall Square every Christmas season. The tree and most of its decorations are bought with funds from the government. Since the day in England is a big event, the government helps with festivity progression. Also, there is present donation to local community welfare centers such as orphanages and nursing homes. Unlike most other countries, Christmas in England is for all people to enjoy and celebrate. Rather than spending private time with family and friends, some people go welfare centers to celebrate with the people there. Gathering, they eat hand-made cookies and sing carols sitting around a stove. Also, they exchange Christmas presents and spend time together. Others enjoy various festivals operating in plazas or watch shows that are presented the government and community centers. Christmas in England is a day that unites that nation’s citizens.
Twelve Days of Christmas
Christmas in France differs by region. Most provinces1 celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, but Eastern and Northern France regard the 6th of December as another Christmas festive day. The French places heavy importance on the ‘The Twelfth Night.’ This marks the start of a traditional celebration of Christmas over a 12 day period. For the French, January 6th is the last day of Christmas. On the eve of January 6th, the French have a big celebration party to mark the end of the Christmas season. Foods and drinks are the most important things during this holiday. A punch called Wassail is traditionally consumed on The Twelfth Night, but it can also be consumed throughout the Christmas season. Moreover, special pastries such as Tortell and King Cake are baked on The Twelfth Night. A Twelfth-cake containing one bean and one pea is baked and those who receive slices containing them are designated to King and Queen of the night. Most festivals leave their climaxes to the last day, but family gatherings still continue after the 25th of December. Like other countries, children prepare Christmas stockings and hang them on the wall. They also make cookies and display them with hot milk in anticipation of Santa Clause. The excitement continues for twelve days since the country celebrates Christmas not just on one single day. The real enjoyment, however, starts on the last day, January 6th!
Santa in Swimming Trunks Gives Presents!
Rather than spending winter in winter with clothes, peoplein Australia have a completely different way to celebrate Christmas. They spend time with friends and family outdoors on picnics at the beach in bathing suits and surfing. This novel scene attracts thousands of tourists. In places like Bondi Beach, Santa can be found in a swimsuit handing out gifts while surfing. In addition, on December 5th, Santa gives out gifts in front of department stores. Garbage bags are used as Christmas gift wrapping paper. And it makes children to throw away their old toys. In addition to Christmas, another annual holiday event, and one of the largest in Australia, is the end of year Boxing Day sales. Many people wait expectantly for Boxing Day from the beginning of December, and even from the end of November. The shopping season in Australia lasts until early January from its peak start on Boxing Day. Christmas comes in mid-summer in Australia, so Australians eat a variety of seafood dishes, which are served cold. In Australia, the atmosphere at this time is similar to that of Thanksgiving in the United States. Australians enjoy traditional Christmas cuisines of turkey, ham, meat, pudding and pie at the beach. However, caroling by candlelight is the biggest event on Christmas Eve. Thousands of people gather, but the most important aspect about an Australian Christmas is the singing of beloved carols in the evening.
A Country of Toys; Another Side to Christmas
Advent is the four weeks period before Christmas Day in Germany. The Christmas atmosphere starts to ripple throughout society from this time. It is possible to feel how the German society functions at this time of the year. The festive atmosphere of the Christmas season begins this way, and is followed by a huge party on the night of December 31st, the last day of the year. The night festival is referred to as Silvester, which means having good cheer with family and friends. Fireworks are exploded at night and the smell of gunpowder lingers2 well into the morning of the first day of January. There is a practice of giving gifts at Christmas to people who devoted themselves for the society like a rose made of soap, dolls, and paper flowers, which are typical gifts given to honour the Lord, their god. At home, Germans decorate the home with wreaths and candles of the Advent. Children receive a gift which makes them wonder, and usually eat a meal made from locally grown food. In the Southwest, mashed potatoes and sausage are served while in Eastern Germany, people cold food like pickled cabbage, and smoked fish and salad or drink a glass of wine. On the 25th, Christmas Day, people gather with family. They eat a simple meal on the 24th, but enjoy a huge feast on the 25th, symbolizing the true meaning of Christmas. That is, stepping into the light from the dark represents the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas in Germany is similar to Chuseok in Korea.
1 Province :[NOUN] A territory governed as an administrative or political unit of a country or empire.
e.g.) Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces.
2 Linger :[VERB] When something such as an idea, feeling, or illness lingers, it continues to exist for a long time, often much longer than expected.
e.g.) Perhaps the event will linger long in our memory.