Christmas Around The World
Christmas around the World isn’t always celebrated the way that we here in Britain are familiar with. In some instances it’s due to the climate- (in Australia people have their Christmas dinner on the beach!) and also due to religions. Luckily there’s lots of Countries that do celebrate and here are a few:
Many Brazilian Christmas traditions originate from Portugal and their Nativity Scenes, known as Presépio are still very popular. These are the main decorations and are set up in homes as well as churches throughout December.
The Christmas play, ‘Os Pastores’ (The Shepherds), involve a shepherdess and a woman who tries to steal the baby Jesus!
The people of Ghana celebrate Christmas from the 20th of December to the first week in January, and during this time may travel to visit friends and relatives in other parts of the country. With a range of 66 languages spoken in Ghana this leads to a large variety of traditions and customs!
Christmas Eve night is when the celebrations really start. Churches become the focal point of Nativity plays, singing and dancing. Both choirs and children make it a point of performing in front of the priest. These celebrations sometimes last all night long.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is more of a religious festival so there’s no exchange of gifts.
Christmas Eve is very important with Churches becoming the hub of activity. With most churches having 5 or 6 choirs and a nativity play, these evenings can last a long time. The beginning of the evening starts with the creation and the Garden of Eden and ends with the story of King Herod killing the baby boys.
People really like to ‘ham it up’ with King Herod and the soldiers often portrayed as pantomime ‘baddies. The festivities carry on until morning with the feasting starting early on the 25th.
People go back to work on Boxing Day!
People in the Philippines really take Christmas to the next level with Christmas songs playing in shops as early as September. The formal Christmas celebrations start on 16th December when many people attend the first of nine pre-dawn or early morning masses. The last mass is on Christmas day.
As well as having their own festivities the Filipinos have their own Christmas decorations, such as the ‘parol’ – a bamboo pole or frame with a lighted star lantern on it. This pole made from bamboo strips and coloured Japanese paper represents the star that guided the Wise Men.
Christmas Eve is so important in the Philippines that people stay awake all night into Christmas day!
So whether you celebrate with a midnight mass, Christmas morning present opening, Christmas Eve present opening, or your own version it seems to be a season like no other. It definitely brings families together (whether you want to or not!) and does make many of us reflect on our own good fortune.
Unfortunately it’s also a time of year that seems to heighten sadness and loss. So let’s make sure it is a season of good will to all men and just be kind.