Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas all over the world is celebrated on Christmas Day which may, or may not fall on the 25th of December. Most of the world uses the 'Gregorian Calendar' implemented by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Before that the 'Roman' or Julian Calendar was used (named after Julius Caesar).

The Gregorian calendar is more accurate than the Roman calendar which had too many days in a year! When the switch was made 10 days were lost, so that the day that followed the 4th October 1582 was 15th October 1582.

Many Orthodox and Coptic Churches still use the Julian Calendar and so celebrate Christmas on the 7th January (which is when December 25th would have been on the Julian calendar). In some part of the UK, January 6th is still called 'Old Christmas' as this would have been the day that Christmas would have celebrated on, if the calendar hadn't been changed.

Although all Christians celebrate Christmas, traditions and celebrations vary throughout the world.

Image taken from http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/media/news/images/2012/660x390photo_1356427375069-1-0.jpg
​In Russia:
In the traditional Russian Christmas, special prayers are said and people fast, sometimes for 39 days, until January 6th Christmas Eve, when the first evening star in appears in the sky. Then begins a twelve course supper in honor of each of the twelve apostles - fish, beet soup or Borsch, cabbage stuffed with millet, cooked dried fruit and much more.

In Peru:
Nativity scenes with Retablos inside are very popular. When priests were first taken to traveling they would carry small altars around with them for festival days. These gradually developed into portable boxes with saints above the altar and scenes from everyday life below it. Now the retablos depict Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, with local people crowding around.

In Canada:
In Canada the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. In the province of Quebec, people display Crèches or nativity scenes in their homes as the Christmas decorations. After attending midnight mass, families may be served tourtiere or pork pie. Another favorite food is Boulettes or small meatballs. A Christmas banquet is called a reveillon. Masked mummers are a Christmas tradition from Newfoundland.


​If you want to celebrate Christmas a little bit different this year, or if you want to start a new Christmas tradition, you may want to use the links below to know how is Christmas celebrated in other places. 

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