Christmas Holiday Celebrations
In comparison to the other parts of the world, Asian countries have relatively less Christian. So, the celebration of Christmas is not as widely celebrated as other parts of the world. However, the zeal and fervor of the people in Asia is no less as compared to the other parts of the world. The celebrations here are very much western in nature. The customs and traditions such as attending the midnight mass, religious services, exchanging of gifts, thanksgiving, singing carols, decorating their house and Christmas trees are very similar to those done in Europe and America.
However, gradually the festival is becoming popular in countries like Japan, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines. On the eve of Christmas, the streets here are decorated with lights, gifts are exchanged, and Christmas trees and other Christmas accessories are available at each departmental store. The culture of Santa Claus has also become gradually very popular in this continent. Party and feasting are inevitable part of the Christmas celebrations here.
Very much like Asia, the celebration of Christmas, as a festival is not so widespread due to the little Christian population in most of the African countries. However, amongst the scanty Christian population in the continent brought along with the missionaries here, Christmas customs and traditions are inevitable part of their culture. The celebrations are very much a replica of the western traditions and rituals.
The Christmas celebrations here in Africa begin with the Christmas carols and hymns in their own languages. At early morning, the carolers start moving to and fro through the village, along the roadway, by the houses of the missionaries, singing the wonderful Christmas carols. Most of the people are be awakened by the group of carolers who are heading towards the house of worship singing the carols. They return home to make ultimate preparation like the clothes one must wear and also as to one's offering for the Christmas service. In South Africa, Christmas is a summer holiday.
The celebration of Christmas is most beautiful and attractive in Europe. As Christmas falls at the most wonderful time of the season, the festivities of Christmas are also given a boost up by the wonderful weather of the place. As Christmas is the most original and ancient festival in Europe, there are also several folklores and folk traditions related to this festival here. The Christmas celebrations are also very authentic in nature at this place. The celebrations are almost similar in all the countries of Europe.
In England, it is a tradition to choose Boy Bishops on the occasion of Christmas in order to honor of St. Nicholas' love for children. These little bishops then perform various duties except delivering the Mass. The day next to Christmas day is called 'Boxing Day' here as the young boys used to go round collecting money in clay boxes on this day. In Britain, the gift giver is called Father Christmas. Just like Santa Claus, Father Christmas delivers the gifts during the night before Christmas. The traditional Christmas dinner in England consists of roasted turkey with vegetables and sauces and the most popular dessert is fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.
In Australia, Christmas on 25th December actually falls in the mid of the warmth of summer and it is often very hot here during Christmas. The Christmas here is celebrated along traditional lines with people attending the great mass in church on the Christmas Day. The services are held early in the morning. This is how the day of Christmas begins in Australia along with the decoration of their homes with flowers and other plants and Church rituals in the morning.
The festivities of Christmas begin from the noon when generally people prefer to go out for a picnic in the wood or on the beach. The feasts are also organized at these places. The popular Christmas dishes include the traditional hams, turkeys and plum pudding. As the climate is very hot, salads and other summer foods also form an important part on the Christmas menu. Lots of events and concerts are also held through out the country on this day. Many people also prefer to celebrate their day in a pool, playing cricket at the backyard or any other outdoor activities.
The United States of America is a vast country with people from different ethnic groups residing here. This is why, Christmas celebrations do not only vary from state to state but also from house to house. The Jewish people in USA celebrate Hanukkah other than the Christian celebration on this day. Generally, the houses, streets and stores are wonderfully decorated with colorful lights and Christmas trees and Santa Claus on this day. The entire atmosphere is made musical by the auspicious Christmas carols being played all the time. The entire city is decorated till New Year in the colors of Christmas. Feasting and Partying are extended week long and even Schools are generally closed till 2nd January. All the countries in North America have a similar celebration.
In South America, unlike other parts of the world, the Christmas is celebrated as a harvest festival. Places like Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay in South America, celebrate the festival in similar way. The native of the place, the Bolivians observe this day as thank giving day after the completion of a year's agricultural work. The festival is completely dedicated to Mother Earth and all the celebrations and feasting is done in order to commemorate her presence. The people here pray for their well being and prosperity and ask her to bring a fruitful harvest in the coming year. In Brazil, Santa Claus is popular by the name of Papa Noel. Here instead of Christmas trees, the creche or Presepio, representing the Christ's birth is popular. Gifts and toys are also exchanged during the holiday season. There is also unique tradition in some parts of South America, where children write letters to the Christ-child on the eve of Christmas and place shoes in the window in which he may place toys when he comes to his place.