Spending Christmas in Greece . Ever wonder why the family fireplace is such a central part of the typical Christmas scene? Epiphany festivals also include blessings of boats & ships, music, dancing and lots of food. Boats and caroling are two big holiday traditions in Greece. Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. Newly efficient post offices in England and the United States made the cards nearly overnight sensations. Probably the most celebrated holiday in the world, our modern Christmas is a product of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the globe, many of them centered on the winter solstice. - www.whychristmas.com, Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. Italians call Chrismas Il Natale, meaning “the birthday.”. Learn Christmas traditions, Hanukkah traditions, New Years traditions… It is probably also responsible for the popularity of log-shaped cheese, cakes and desserts during the holidays. During holidays in the Victorian era, the English would hang sprigs of mistletoe from ceilings and in doorways. In return for their performance, the musicians hoped to receive a hot meal or money. As the young colony’s population grew and ...read more. This tradition can be traced to legends about Saint Nicholas. Christmas carolers in Greece go from house to house spreading music and Christmas cheer (often with small instruments like a … See how different countries celebrate the holiday season with ornaments, recipes, and carols. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images. Depending on which media talking head is speaking, the war is either a subversive effort by left-wing liberals to erase all traces of ...read more, Today in the United States, leaving out a plate of cookies (Oreos and classic chocolate chip are popular choices) and a glass of milk for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve is a well-established tradition among children. Whoever finds the coin in their slice is thought to be lucky for the year. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Discover the origins of Christmas traditions from around the world like the Yule log, caroling and candy canes and learn how Christmas is celebrated “Down Under.”. A Pudding known as Clootie dumpling is a traditional Christmas dessert in Scotland; children eat … However, Christmas is still important. At about the same time, similar cards were being made by R.H. Pease, the first American card maker, in Albany, New York, and Louis Prang, a German who immigrated to America in 1850. All Rights Reserved. From an array of antipasto dips like taramasalata and tzatziki, to heavier main courses of grilled meats and fresh fish, Greek cuisine is internationally recognised for its deliciousness. In Finland today, one girl is chosen to serve as the national Lucia and she is honored in a parade in which she is surrounded by torchbearers. For the day, she is called “Lussi” or “Lussibruden” (Lucy bride). Whoever gets the cross first is meant to have good luck during the coming year. Christmas Fried Chicken (Japan) In Japan, the Christmas season is the most wonderful time of the year for Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC, a fast food chain. Think of your holiday traditions. According to one theory, the ...read more, The pious Puritans who sailed from England in 1630 to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony brought with them something that might seem surprising for a group of devout Christians—contempt for Christmas. During the warm and sunny Australian Christmas season, beach time and outdoor barbecues are common. There are either of a religious character or coming from paganism. Most people in Scandinavian countries honor St. Lucia (also known as St. Lucy) each year on December 13. Another big event in many houses on New Year's Day is the Pothariko (pothari-KO). From December Fools’ Day to a pooping log and an intense national lottery, Spanish Christmas has more unique customs than you’d think! After 1750, Christmas trees began showing up in other parts of Germany, and even more so after 1771, when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited Strasbourg and promptly included a Christmas tree is his novel, The Suffering of Young Werther. In Spain, the Christmas holiday season is full of the usual Christmas festivities, but there is one tradition, not at all common elsewhere. Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient ...read more, Long before there was a Grinch who stole Christmas, there was Krampus, the devilish half-man, half-goat that helps out jolly St. Nicholas by stuffing naughty Austrian children in sacks and dragging them to hell. At night, men, women and children would carry torches in a parade. St. Francis of Assisi created the first living nativity in 1224 to help explain the birth of Jesus to his followers. The seeds are scattered which symbolizes the happiness and the good fortune for the house - and the more pomegranate seeds the better! According to reports by Captain John Smith, the first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in his 1607 Jamestown settlement. Unusual Christmas Traditions From Around The World. Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828. Unfortunately, most of her story has been lost over the years. Hans Trapp died, but he returns sometimes on Christmas, to go from door to door looking for young, tasty children. Native Americans had already been harvesting them for at least 3,000 years. There is also a special St Basil's Day cake called 'Vasilopita' (vasi-LO-pita). Christmas is a religious holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus as well as a cultural and commercial event. Another went into a window and into a pair of stockings left hanging by the fire to dry. In some families, the father of the house cuts the Vasilopita and gives out the pieces. Santa Claus, reindeer and jingle bells are great, but they’re hardly the be all, end all of Christmas celebrations for many Latinos. Christmas traditions in Lithuania are very similar to some other countries, especially the Baltic nations and Poland. Christmas Eve/Day. Carrying a boat is a very old custom in the Greek Islands. Caroling also began in England. The gates of Heaven open at midnight on Christmas Eve. If someone was found standing under the mistletoe, they would be kissed by someone else in the room, behavior not usually demonstrated in Victorian society. Reward carolers like the Greek do. In Greece, some people burn their old shoes during the Christmas season to prevent misfortunes in the coming year. Suet, flour, sugar, raisins, nuts and spices are tied loosely in cloth and boiled until the ingredients are “plum,” meaning they have enlarged enough to fill the cloth. ...read more, The history of Christmas trees goes back to the symbolic use of evergreens in ancient Egypt and Rome and continues with the German tradition of candlelit Christmas trees first brought to America in the 1800s. Some countries however have slightly different Christmas traditions and as such festive season celebrations take place over a longer period of time, from the beginning of … However, as soon as December arrives, festivities begin: homes are decorated, and the smell of Christmas treats is in the air. The traditional Christmas celebration is a combination of Christian and pagan customs. Christmas traditions around the world are diverse, but share key traits that often involve themes of light, evergreens and hope. In southern France, some people burn a log in their homes from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day. Following the Gregorian calendar, the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on 25 December. The major difference is only that in South Korea, people focus on religious traditions rather than decoration and presents. In many places in Greece, Easter is celebrated more than Christmas. Information in this section describes how Christmas is celebrated in a normal year. They play drums and triangles as they sing. Others say she may have plucked her own eyes out to protest the poor treatment of Christians. In Australia, the holiday comes in the middle of summer and it’s not unusual for some parts of Australia to hit 100 degrees Farenheit on Christmas day. Customs and traditions in Greece and the Greek Islands are an important aspect of the Greek culture. Christmas pudding, also known as “figgy pudding” or plum pudding, is an English dish dating back to the Middle Ages. In France, Christmas is called Noel. A conventional Christmas lunch includes Scotch broth, smoked salmon, roast turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, Christmas pudding and brandy custard. From classics that are associated with the holidays in every corner of Greece to regional favorites, the tastes of the holidays are fabulous! Celtic and Teutonic peoples had long considered mistletoe to have magic powers. It was certainly the norm in ancient Greece for a man to find both sexes attractive. On New Year's Day, in many places in Greece, there is the tradition of Bounamathes (bouna-MA-thes). In these countries, the holiday is considered the beginning of the Christmas season and, as such, is sometimes referred to as “little Yule.” Traditionally, the oldest daughter in each family rises early and wakes each of her family members, dressed in a long, white gown with a red sash, and wearing a crown made of twigs with nine lighted candles. Gifts are usually exchanged on January 1, St. Basil’s Day. In Greece, many people believe in kallikantzeri, goblins that appear to cause mischief during the 12 days of Christmas. To have good health throughout the next year, eat an apple on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, children go out to sing carols in the street. Yes, the true history of Christmas is as colorful ...read more, The War on Christmas begins around the same time each year, when stores start peddling plastic Christmas trees and giant Santa Claus inflatables. In a reversal of modern practices, the Puritans kept their shops and schools ...read more, Early Americans were absolutely oyster crazy. 6. In Scandinavia, similar-minded children leave their shoes on the hearth. In some parts of Greece the cake is sweet, but in others its more like a bread. The ancient Norse used the Yule log in their celebration of the return of the sun at winter solstice. At midnight there are lots of hugs, kisses and best wishes for the new year. Here we are sharing a list of different places that have their own way to celebrate Christmas. The family then eats breakfast in a room lighted with candles. The country Christmas traditions are the historical celebrations. Holiday Traditions around the world. From carp in the bathtub, popping crackers at the dinner table, to piñatas and pig roasts: learn how each country celebrates this important Christian holiday. The day before Christmas is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Most of the Christmas traditions in Greece are more or less similar to the West. ... traditions. Most of the traditions come from the US and there are a few that have been missed with the years, as the Adventus time that is usually very important in Christmas celebrations in Germany. Those who die then go straight to Heaven (an Irish beleif). If you will be traveling to Greece at Christmas, it's good to remember that many offices, businesses, restaurants, and other amenities may be closed or keeping unusual hours during the holiday season. The Norse believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that rolled towards and then away from the earth. Let's take a look at different Christmas and Hanukkah food traditions around the world. Trafalgar will take you to the heart of Greece’s culinary traditions, each mouthful and mealtime an utter treat. A family’s youngest child watches through the window for the evening star to appear, a signal that the feast can begin. © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. Children race to gather as much of the loot as they can. While Christmas may have begun solely as a Christian holiday, and is often still celebrated as such, people from all over the world have embraced the festive season and added their own traditions along the way. “Yule” came from the Norse word hweol, meaning wheel. Children then take turns hitting the piñata until it breaks, sending a shower of treats to the floor. In some areas of Greece the person holds a pomegranate, and they break it at the front door before entering the house. There are many events throughout the country where young men dive into really cold lakes, rivers and the sea to try to be first to get a cross which has been blessed by a priest and thrown into the water. https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/christmas-traditions-worldwide. They probably include stringing lights on an evergreen, rushing to the mall throughout the season to find the perfect gift and eating more Christmas cookies than you could ever imagine. In 1870, New York stores began to sell them at Christmas. Light is a main theme of St. Lucia Day as her name, which is derived from the Latin word lux, means light. Christmas cards can be traced back to England. Named "Hogueras" (bonfires), this tradition originated long before Christmas itself. Christmas is an observance of faith in Greece and all over the country tables will be set with foods that have become tradition, passed from generation to generation. In Mexico, papier-mâché sculptures called piñatas are filled with candy and coins and hung from the ceiling. Traditionally, the first slice is for Jesus, the second it is for Mary, the third is for the poor people and the fourth is for the household. Pagan Lithuanians used to celebrate the Winter solstice around the Christmas … A manger scene is the primary decoration in most southern European, Central American and South American nations. On Christmas Eve, children, especially boys, often go out singing 'kalanda' (carols) in the streets. In the far north of the country, Indigenous Inuits celebrate a winter festival called Sinck Tuck, which features parties with dancing and the exchanging of gifts. Many customs and traditions are practiced today to celebrate the Christmas season. Christmas traditions around the world are diverse, but share key traits that often involve themes of light, evergreens and hope. In the United States and England, children hang stockings on their bedpost or near a fireplace on Christmas Eve, hoping that it will be filled with treats while they sleep. Many Finns visit the sauna on Christmas Eve. Christmas around the world is celebrated with such fascinating, distinct traditions! Today, he is thought of mainly as the jolly man in red who brings toys to good girls and boys on Christmas Eve, but his story stretches all the way back to the 3rd ...read more, From its Puritan roots to complaints of rampant commercialism (“What is it you want?” Charlie Brown asks Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas. It is the observance of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter. Christmas celebrations in Greece officially last for 14 days, starting on Christmas Eve and ending on Epiphany (6 January) with the ‘Great Blessing of Water’. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! New Year kalanda songs/carols might also be sung. Lucia lived in Syracuse during the fourth century when persecution of Christians was common. Traditional Christmas day celebrations include family gatherings, exchanging gifts and either a hot meal with ham, turkey, pork or seafood or barbeques. sexuality. Sometimes they will also carry model boats decorated with nuts which are painted gold. “Real Estate.”), Christmas in America has been filled with traditions, old and new. Spain is a country full of Christmas traditions, and some of them may surprise you. Her feast day is celebrated near the shortest day of the year, when the sun’s light again begins to strengthen. 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