Christmas in the world and its various meanings



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Christmas in the world and its various meanings

Christmas is celebrated all over the world for various cultural, secular, religious and entertainment reasons, but its meaning takes on differences depending on the latitude. In the USA and Canada, the tradition of Santa Claus is essentially the same as that of the Anglo-Saxon; only Quebec follows the French tradition of Père Noël.

Central elements of the US Christmas celebrations are: the Christmas tree, the ice rink at Rockefeller Center in New York and the Christmas decorations of the White House. For even 50 years, Norad has kept an original tradition alive, that is, it traces the Christmas transit of Santa Claus, obtaining considerable attention from the mass media.

The Christmas tree, which is erected in Trafalgar Square in London, is considered the best known and most famous in all of Great Britain. Also in Great Britain it is customary to buy Advent calendars which are open day by day and inside there are chocolates.

During the British Empire it was customary to transfer British traditions, customs and habits to the elites of the colonies; several countries even after independence have maintained the same customs as the United Kingdom.

In Southern Europe, Christmas is a fusion of modern and ancient traditions that date back to the Holy Roman Empire. Here too: food, religious observances, nativity scenes and gifts are the most important events. In some regions the gifts are purchased for the day of the Epiphany, brought by the Befana, while in others by the Infant Jesus on the day of Christmas Eve or at Christmas as well as for Saint Lucia of Syracuse.

In recent years, the figure of Santa Claus has also become increasingly important in Italy. In Germany, Christmas traditions vary from region to region. Following the day of St. Nicholas, which for most children represents the real Santa Claus who brings gifts on Christmas Eve, he places the gifts under the tree after eating a simple meal.

The gifts are brought by Weihnachtsmann, which in German means Santa Claus and resembles St. Nicholas, by Christkind, literally Baby Jesus, a goblin, whose resemblance to the Baby Jesus is the subject of controversy. In some parts of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Knecht Ruprecht also appears, a little devil who takes the place of Santa Claus to humiliate and kidnap children.

The Norwegian Christmas celebrations begin with the feast of December 24, followed by a visit from Julenissen, who brings gifts to children who believe him. After a quiet December 25th, another important celebration follows, Boxing Day, where children, going from door to door, receive small coins from neighbors.

Joulupukki or Christmas Goat is the Santa Claus of the Finns. He too, travels on a sleigh pulled by a reindeer delivering gifts to good children. Christmas celebrations in Russia have been restored since 1992, after nearly seventy years of suppression by the Communist government.

These feasts are centered on the Vigil, the Holy Supper, which consists of twelve courses, one for each apostle of Jesus. The Russian tradition is kept alive by the visit of Grandfather Frost, and his snow girl, on the first day of the year.

Russian Christmas traditions also include the Christmas tree, or yolka, first purchased by Peter the Great, after his travels to Europe in the late 18th century, Christmas traditions and Christmas in general were deeply felt during the Russian Empire was in fact the only time of the year where the poor could hope for some alms and charities from the rich.

Nativity scenes are deeply rooted in South American Christmas traditions, both in families and in public places. In Peru, where there is a strong component of Native American descendants, Christmas figures are often hand-carved in a very ancient style.

In Mexico, on the other hand, the traditions linked to processions are very much alive, events that mimic and exalt the birth of Christ. Lunch in these areas is also very important and varies from area to area and from region to region.

Here, too, Christmas is celebrated with lights, parties, holidays and, since it is summer in the southern hemisphere, even with fireworks, especially in Brazilian cities. On Christmas day, children visit their relatives to be given something or aguinaldos, sanctifying the party, in a riot of life and prosperity.

In South Korea and East Timor, there is a large community of Christians where Christmas is celebrated and is considered an official holiday. In Taiwan, December 25 is considered to be the day the Constitution of the Republic of China was signed in the year 1947.

And it is extremely popular, as if it were Christmas. Japan considers December 25 an official holiday and has adopted the same Western nat tradition the delight of Santa Claus, but the most important day is January 1st. It is also considered a day to spend with your loved one.

In India, in many schools, this period is considered as Christmas holidays; they begin just before Christmas and end a few days later, usually on January 1st. In Hindi, Christmas is called Bada Din, which also celebrates Santa Claus and the buying of gifts.