CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS IN OTHER COUNTRIES

1 December 2017

FRANCE

The 6th of December is St Nicholas Day in France because it is said that St Nicholas rescued three small children who were kidnapped by an evil butcher and were lost in the woods. He became the patron saint of children. On 5th December children in France leave wooden shoes at the door in the hope of receiving small gifts from him in the morning if they have been good. If they have been naughty they receive a little bunch of sticks tied with ribbon. They also leave shoes by the fireplace on Christmas Eve instead of stockings as we do.

In France the main Christmas meal is served late at night on Christmas Eve and is called Le Reveillon De Noel and lots of seafood is served. This is called Fruits de Mer (fruits of the sea) and includes oysters, lobster, smoked salmon and caviar. On Christmas Day itself snails, goose, duck or turkey is often served.

A special cake is served called La Buche De Noel (Christmas log/yule log) which is a rich chocolate cake covered in chocolate icing and shaped like a log.

SPAIN

The Fiesta de los tres Reyes Mages - The festival of the three magic Kings. Christmas gifts are left by the Three Kings and not Father Christmas.

There is a Midnight Mass called La Misa Del Gallo (the mass of the rooster) as a rooster was supposed to have crowed on the night that Jesus was born.

In Spain they eat a big meal on Christmas Eve called Pavo Trufado De Navidad and this is a turkey stuffed with truffles (the mushroom type not the chocolate ones!).

After the midnight church service there is a torchlight procession and people say Feliz Navidad!

The 28th December is Dia de los santos inocentes (the day of the innocent saints) which is a bit like our own April Fools Day.

Gifts are also given on 5th January which is Epiphany.

GERMANY

A lot of our own Christmas traditions come from Germany brought over by Prince Albert in Victorian times. These include Christmas trees and advent calendars.

Christmas Eve is a big family day with feasting and present giving. Carp and goose are served in the meal and their cake is a fruited yeast bread called Stollen.

Germany is famous for it's wonderful Christmas markets where food, gifts and ornaments are sold.

ITALY

Children go carol singing dressed as shepherds to honour those who attended Jesus birth.

Their big meal is on Christmas Eve and no meat is eaten, instead it is all seafood; salted cod, calimari, sardines, eels and clams. The Italian Christmas cake is a spong cake with fruit called Panetone.

Children hang stockings by the fireplace to receive gifts from Befana an old lady on Epiphany.

AUSTRALIA

Christmas is of course in summer time in Australia so people have big beach BBQs and outdoor parties on this day.

Their traditional Christmas tree is a Christmas Bush which is native to Australia and has small green leaves and cream flowers which turn bright red at Christmas.

Santa Clause does not have reindeer pulling his sleigh but instead has six white boomers (kangaroos).

Christmas food is from many cultures and includes turkey but seafood is very important.

KENYA

It is traditional for people to return to the villages where they were born at Christmas.

They use the Cyprus tree as their Christmas tree and decorate thier homes with balloons, ribbons and colourful paper decorations.

Christmas dinner called Nuama Choma is often a BBQ of goat, sheep, beef or chicken with rice and chapati flat breads.

Small gifts are exchanged but this is more a time for family than presents.

BRAZIL

The Secret Santa tradition started in Brazil and throughout December people will exchange small gifts and on Christmas Day itself reveal who the secret sender is.

Children leave out an old sock for Papai Noel and he will take this away and leave gifts instead.

Their special meal is usually eaten at 10pm on Christmas Eve and can include pork, turkey, ham plus salads with fresh and dried fruits. Everything is served with rice cooked with raisins and farofa (a seasoned manioc flour). They like to finish their meal with ice-cream instead of cake.

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