Merry Christmas Kelowna
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Each country in the world celebrate Christmas with different traditions. Back in England it is tradition for children hang a stocking on the fireplace or at the foot of their bed for Santa Claus to fill. Houses are decorated and presents for the family are placed beneath the Christmas tree and the presents are opened on Christmas Day. Christmas dinner consists traditionally of a roast turkey, goose or chicken with stuffing and roast potatoes, followed by mince pies and Christmas pudding flaming with brandy, which by tradition could contain coins or lucky charms for children. The pudding is usually prepared weeks beforehand and is customarily stirred by each member of the family as a wish is made. Crackers are pulled with dinner, giving everyone a paper hat, a silly riddle and a small toy, then with everyone full to capacity and when they probably should go for a long walk, they sit down to watch the Queen’s Christmas Message to the nation, broadcast on radio and television. The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day, which takes its name from a former custom of giving a Christmas Box – a gift of money or food inside a box – to the deliverymen and tradespeople who called regularly during the year.
In Poland, families traditionally gather for a meal on Christmas Eve, which is known as Wigilia. They will start eating when they see the first star in the night sky. The meal has 12 courses, which will traditionally include a fish called carp.
Christmas celebrations start early in the Netherlands, and parts of Belgium, as Sinterklaas, their name for St Nicholas, arrives by boat on the last Saturday in November. Sinterklaas doesn’t live at the North Pole like Father Christmas though. For those in the Netherlands, he comes from Spain.
In Spain Christmas starts on 8 December with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This marks Mary finding out she was pregnant with the baby Jesus. Children may be given some presents on Christmas Day, but traditionally they are opened on 6 January. This is called Epiphany, when the Three Kings are said to have visited the baby Jesus and given him their gifts.
In Sweden the children open their presents on Christmas Eve. The night before, they are expected to leave a bowl of porridge out for Tomten, their name for Father Christmas, so that he will leave presents for them. Swedish people also have their main meal on Christmas Eve. This tends to be a big buffet called Julbord.
In Italy on 6th January it is Epiphany and children will receive a stocking of sweets if they’ve been good or a stocking full of coal if they haven’t. This is brought by the Italian Christmas witch, who is called La Befana. A bit like people in the UK might leave a carrot for Rudolph and a mince pie for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, some families will leave a glass of wine and some food for La Befana.
Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan but that doesn’t stop a large number of people celebrating the festival. Santa Claus, or Santa Kurohsu, is said to have eyes in the back of his head to keep an eye on naughty children, while Japanese Christmas cake is usually made up of sponge, whipped cream, and strawberries.
In Australia Christmas falls in summer. There tradition has it that Father Christmas swaps his reindeer for ‘six white boomers’ or kangaroos. It’s also traditional to enjoy a barbecue on the beach on the big day.
In India fir trees aren’t common, instead mango trees are often decorated instead and mango leaves used to brighten up homes.
On Christmas Eve in Haiti, children will place their newly cleaned shoes, filled with straw under the tree or in the porch, they hope that Santa will remove the straw and put presents in and around the shoes!
In Norway people hide all the brooms in the house on Christmas Eve to prevent witches from stealing them for a midnight ride. And it’s also a Christmas Eve tradition to leave a bowl of porridge in the barn for the gnome who protects the farm.
In Russia Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, and Babouschka brings gifts to children. Babouschka, meaning old woman or grandmother in Russian, is based on the biblical story of the woman who didn’t give a gift to the baby Jesus and so to repent, she gives gifts to children.
However you choose to celebrate Christmas, whatever traditions you follow, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and and hope to see you for a Healthy Happy New year.