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12                Christmas Traditions Around the World

               Christmas traditions

             around the world: The

             countries celebrating in

            January and waiting for

           gnomes rather than Santa

            How Christmas is celebrated varies
          around the world, from UK traditions
             dating back to Victorian times to
              popular German markets today

          As we hit the shops for Christmas gift buying
          and prepare for a hearty roast and maybe a visit
          to church on the big day, it is worth
          remembering not everyone celebrates Christmas
          like us.                                       Christmas Day as presents can start arriving on boomers'. It is also tradition to play backyard
                 In fact, not everyone even celebrates   December 6. That's because this is St Nicholas cricket on Boxing Day as the test match from the
          Christmas on December 25, and for them         Day, or Sw. Mikolaj Day and St Nicholas is Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Sydney to
          Christmas is even further away.                known as the original Father Christmas.Unlike Hobart Yacht Race begins.
                 Across the world, some countries        Santa in the UK, this character dresses in the
          celebrate Christmas on January 7 and use a     white and gold of a Bishop, rather than red and Russia:  Similar to other eastern European
          whole host of traditions that are different from  white. Families traditionally enjoy 12 dishes -  countries, families eat 12 dishes to represent the
          the Santa and his sleigh and mistletoe we are  including the country's famous pierogi          12 apostles on Christmas Eve, including
          familiar with.                                 dumplings - on Christmas Eve.  The feast is     beetroot soup, fish and stuffed cabbages. They
                 These countries mark Christmas          preceded by Opłatek, a type of Christmas wafer.  then attend Church and enjoy a Christmas meal
          differently because they use the Julian calendar                                               on January 7, abiding by the Julian calendar.
          rather than the Gregorian one.                 Norway:  If you are living in Norway, the
                 We take a look at the different days
                                                         tradition is to exchange presents are exchanged Nigeria:  Christmas in Nigeria is a family
          Christmas is celebrated across the world, as well
                                                         on Christmas Eve.  They are sometimes           event. Many families will throw Christmas
          as how traditions vary.
                                                         delivered by Santa Claus, although he goes by   parties that will last all night long on Christmas
                                                         the name Julenissen. But gifts also come in a   Eve, then on Christmas Morning, they go to
          The Netherlands: Here, the most important      more unique form - being brought by small       church to give thanks to God. Homes and streets
          day of the festive season is December 5, when  gnomes called Nisse.  And in contrast to the    are often decorated and most homes have
          Sinterklaas, or St Nicholas, arrives by steamboat  mince pies and whisky British children put out  artificial Christmas trees. Nigerians do eat
          from his home in Spain. Until the 19th Century,  for Santa and Rudolf, many families in Norway  turkey at Christmas. However, in addition, a
          Sinterklaas operated alone, bringing well-     will leave out rice porridge for the Nisse who are  traditional Christmas meal may include beef,
          behaved children presents and apparently       believed to watch over farm animals. They will  goat, sheep, ram or chicken.
          spiriting bad youngsters away in his sack for re-  also leave a sheaf of wheat out for birds to eat
          education and a beating. However, in 1850,     over Christmas.                                 Vietnam: In Vietnam Christmas Eve is often
          children's author Jan Schenkman drew him with
                                                                                                         more important than Christmas Day.  The
          a black servant, who later became known as     Argentina: Argentinians decorate their homes    country used to belong to France and there are
          Zwarte Piet or Black Pete. It became Zwarte    with lights and wreaths and hang red and white  still French influences in its Christmas
          Piet's job to go down the chimney to deliver
                                                         garlands of flowers on their doors. Christmas   traditions. For example, like in France, the
          presents and catch the less fortunate children.
                                                         trees are also popular and they are often       special Christmas Eve meal is called 'reveillon'
                                                         decorated by December 8 - the feast of the      and has a 'bûche de Noël' (a chocolate cake in
          Iceland:  The land of ice and snow has no      Annunciation, when Christians remember when     the shape of a log) for desert. Vietnamese people
          fewer than 13 Santa Clauses. Thirteen    days  Mary was told she would have the baby Jesus.    like to give presents of food and at Christmas a
          before Christmas, the first Santa descends from  The Nativity scene, or pesebre, is also an    bûche de Noël is a popular gift. Santa is called
          the mountains and visits each house to put treats  important Christmas decoration in  Argentina.  Ông già Noel - which translates as Christmas old
          in children's shoes while they sleep.  Well-   Here, the main Christmas meal is eaten during   man.
          behaved children get presents such as mandarins  the evening of Christmas Eve. Popular dishes
          and sweets, while bad kids typically receive   include roasted turkey, roasted pork, stuffed   Sri Lanka:  Although Sri Lanka is mostly
          something less attractive, such as a potato. The  tomatoes and Christmas bread and puddings like  Buddhist (just 7 per cent of people are
          next day the second Father Christmas comes to  'Pan Dulce' and Panetone. People often set off  Christians) Christmas is still a public holiday.
          town and so on. Then on December 25, the first  fireworks at midnight and 'toast' the start of  For Christians in Sri Lanka, the Christmas
          one goes back, the next day the second one goes  Christmas Day.                                season starts on December 1 when people let off
          back. January 6 is called "the thirteenth" and is
                                                                                                         fire crackers at dawn. The streets are decorated
          the last day of Christmas because that day the  Australia: Christmas comes in the middle of    and shopping centres have large Christmas trees
          last Santa goes home.
                                                         the summer holidays here, so often it's more    in them. In Sri Lanka, Santa is known as
                                                         about the BBQ than roast turkey with gravy.     Naththal Seeya.[]
          Germany:  Here, Christmas Eve is the most      Australians hang wreaths on their front doors
          important day of the festive season. Families and sometimes go carol singing on Christmas        For The VERY BEST of Radio
          traditionally mark the occasion with a feast and Eve. People also decorate their houses and
          a visit to church for midnight mass. Some gardens with Christmas trees and lights.                      Programming in the
          families will sing at Christmas but in general the Australians also decorate their houses with    World of the Paranormal and
          mood is one of contemplation and reflection.   bunches of 'Christmas Bush', a native tree with   The Science of Parapsychology
                                                         small green leaves and cream coloured flowers.
          Poland:  For Polish children, there's less     When he gets to  Australia, Santa gives the                 24 / 7 / 365 Visit
          second guessing what they might receive on     reindeer a rest and uses kangaroos or 'six white    
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