КОЛЕДАТА ПО СВЕТА – АНГЛИЙСКИ ЕЗИК
In the UK (or Great Britain), families often celebrate Christmas together, so they can watch each other open their presents!
Most families have a Christmas Tree in their house for Christmas. The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone is helping. Christmas Trees were first popularised the UK by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Prince Albert was German, and thought that it would be good to use one of his ways of celebrating Christmas in to England.
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe are also sometimes used to decorate homes or other buildings.
Most villages, towns and cities are decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. Often a famous person switches them on. The most famous Christmas lights in the UK are in Oxford Street in London. Every year they get bigger and better. Thousands of people go to watch the big ‘switch on’ around the beginning of November.
Children believe that Father Christmas or Santa Claus leaves presents in stockings or pillow-cases. These are normally hung up by the fire or by the children’s beds on Christmas Eve. Children sometimes leave out mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas to eat and drink when he visits them. Now, some people say that a non-alcoholic drink should be left for Santa as he has to drive!
Children write letters to Father Christmas/Santa listing their requests, but sometimes instead of putting them in the post, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draught carries the letters up the chimney and Father Christmas/Santa reads the smoke.
In Scotland, some people celebrate New Year’s Eve (which is called Hogmanay) more than Christmas! The word Hogmanay comes from a kind of oat cake that was traditionally given to children on New Year’s Eve. All across the UK, in cities and towns, there are fireworks to celebrate the New Year. Two of the most famous fireworks displays are in London, along the River Thames, and in Edinburgh at the Hogmanay celebrations.
Also in Scotland, the first person to set foot in a house in a New Year is thought to have a big effect on the fortunes of the people that live there! Generally strangers are thought to bring good luck. Depending on the area, it may be better to have a dark-haired or fair-haired stranger set foot in the house. This tradition is widely known as ‘first footing’. In England it is sometimes said that a stranger coming through the door carrying a lump of coal will bring good luck.
In the UK, the main Christmas Meal is usually eaten a t lunchtime or early afternoon on Christmas Day. It’s normally roast turkey, roast vegetables and ‘all the trimmings’ which means vegetables like carrots & peas, stuffing and sometimes bacon and sausages. It’s often served with cranberry sauce and bread sauce.
Canada is a very large country and people of many different cultural backgrounds live there. Because of this, there are lots of different Christmas traditions in Canada. Many of the traditions and celebrations come from French, English, Irish, Scottish, German and native/first nation influences.
The Eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia is known all over the world for its fir and pine Christmas Trees, so most families in Canada have a fir or pine Christmas Tree. One Canadian tradition is to send the biggest, best fir tree (grown in Nova Scotia) to Boston, USA because of the assistance given during the disaster, known worldwide, as the Halifax Explosion. This tradition has carried on for many years. Bostonians always love and appreciate the Nova Scotian Christmas tree. They place this tree in the city and then light it during a ceremony to begin the Christmas season.
Mummering is a tradition which mainly takes place in the province of Newfoundland, more commonly in small towns and villages rather than large towns and cities. People dress up in costumes and knock on someone’s door and say in a disguised voice, „Are there any Mummers in the night? Then they sing and dance and have Christmas cake and a cup of something nice before moving on to the next house. In some places, if the host does not guess who the Mummers are, the host must join the Mummers in their merry-making. Going Mummering is a fun Christmas season activity for adults. Mummers usually come out between December 26th and January 6th (The 12 Days of Christmas). However, some come out only before Christmas Day.
On the south shore of Nova Scotia, over Christmas, there’s the tradition of Belsnickeling where people dress up in funny Santa costumes and go from house to house until the home owners guess who you were. It was especially popular in West & East Green Harbour. The Belsnicklers often brought musical instruments and sang. They were served Christmas cake or cookies. This tradition was brought to Nova Scotia by the 1751 Germans immigrants who settled Lunenburg and South shore.
People in Canada send Christmas Cards to their friends and family.
In northern Canada, some people plan a Taffy Pull. This is held in honour of Saint Catherine, the patron saint of single women. This party provides an opportunity for single women to meet eligible single men!
Many Canadians open their gifts on Christmas Eve. Some only open their stocking on Christmas Eve. Others choose one gift to open, then save the rest until Christmas Day.
Canadian children also believe in Santa Claus. Canadians are especially proud to say that their country is the home of Santa Claus. (Although I’m sure the people in Finland would disagree!)
The Santa Claus Parade in Toronto is one of the oldest and largest Santa parades in the world! It started in 1913 when Santa was pulled through the streets of Toronto. Children along the route followed Santa and marched along with him. It’s been taking place for over 100 years.
Many Canadian families have cookie-baking parties. They bring a recipe for Christmas cookies, bake them and then exchange them with the members of their family. At the end of the party, each family goes home with a variety of different cookies to enjoy over the Christmas season.
In Australia, Christmas comes in the towards the beginning of the summer holidays! Children have their summer holidays from mid December to early February, so some people might even be camping at Christmas.
Because it’s so hot at Christmas time in Australia, there are quite often massive bush fires across the country. Many volunteer bush fire fighters are involved in saving people and property and travel from all over Australia to help in other states.
Australians hang wreaths on their front doors and sometimes go out Christmas carol singing on Christmas eve. People also decorate their houses and gardens with Christmas Trees and Christmas lights. Neighbours sometimes have little competitions to see who has got the best light display. The neighbours often visit each other to look at the light displays at night. Sometimes the displays are put out as early as December 1st. One street in Sydney raises over $(AUS)35,000 every year for charity with their co-ordinated street display!
Australians also decorate their houses with bunches of ‘Christmas Bush’, a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream coloured flowers. In summer the flowers turn a deep shiny red over a period of weeks (generally by the week of Christmas in Sydney).
In each State capital city there is a large Carols by Candlelight service. Famous Australian singers like The Wiggles, John Farnham, Anthony Warlow, Colin Gery, Niki Webster and many more help to sing the carols. These carol services, held in different cities, are broadcast on TV across Australia. Most towns and cities have festivals and parades. In some places, there is a fireworks display at the local park.
Many towns, cities and schools also hold their own Carols by Candlelight services, with local bands and choirs sometimes helping to perform the Christmas Carols and songs. As it is the middle of Summer in Australia at Christmas time, the words to the Carols about snow and the cold winter are sometimes changed to special Australian words! There are also some original Australian Carols.
When he gets to Australia, Santa gives the reindeer a rest and uses kangaroos or ‘six white boomers’ (a popular Australian Christmas song!). He also changes his clothes for less ‘hot’ ones!
On Boxing Day most people go and visit their friends and often have barbecues at the beach. A famous Yacht race from Sydney to Hobart in Tasmania is also held on Boxing Day.
The United States of America has many different traditions and ways that people in celebrate Christmas, because of its multi-cultural nature. Many customs are similar to ones in the UK, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Mexico.
The traditional meal for Western European families is turkey or ham with cranberry sauce. Families from Eastern European origins favour turkey, cabbage dishes, and soups; and some Italian families prefer lasagne!
Some Americans use pop-corn threaded on string to help decorate their Christmas Tree!
In New England (the American States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine), there are shops called ‘Christmas Shops’ that only sell Christmas decorations and toys all the year round!
Americans also send out Christmas Cards, like Carol singing and there’s the unusual custom of the Christmas Pickle!
People in America like to decorate the outsides of their houses with lights and sometimes even statues of Santa Claus, Snowmen and Reindeer. Some cookies and glass of milk are often left out as a snack for Santa on Christmas Eve!
Towns and cities often decorate the streets with lights to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps the most famous Christmas street lights in the USA are at the Rockerfeller Center in New York where there is a huge Christmas Tree with a public ice skating rink in front of it over Christmas and the New Year.
In Hawaii, Santa is called Kanakaloka!
Customs such as Mumming take place in some communities. On New Year’s Day in Philadelphia there is a Mummer’s Day parade which lasts over six hours! Clubs called „New Years Associations“ perform in amazing costumes which take month to make.
A popular food at Christmas in the Southwest USA are tamales.
In the south of Louisiana, on Christmas Eve, families in small communities along the Mississippi River light bonfires along the high river banks to help ‘Papa Noel’ (the name for Santa in French as Louisiana has a strong historical connection with France) find his way to the children’s homes!
Finnish people believe that Santa Claus or Father Christmas lives in the north part of Finland called Korvatunturi (or Lapland), north of the Arctic Circle. People from all over the world send letters to Santa Claus in Finland. There is a big tourist theme park called ‘Christmas Land’ in the north of Finland, near to where they say that Father Christmas lives.
It means that Santa doesn’t have far to travel on Christmas Eve to deliver presents to people in Finland! If he doesn’t get a chance to deliver the presents personally, he will often leave them under the Christmas Tree.
In Finland, Santa might also be known as Joulupukki! (This really means ‘Christmas Goat’ as it was traditional in Finland that there was a Yule Goat who was scary and asked people for presents – and certainly didn’t give any out! Over time the goat became the gift giver and then Santa took over the gift giving duties but the name of the Christmas Goat was still retained in Finland! Joulupukki rides with reindeer leaves gifts under the Christmas tree but if you have been naughty you could end up with a bag of coal!
Everyone tries to be at home for Christmas, including fishermen who try to get their boats into the harbour by December 21st, St. Thomas’ Day
Animals are given their own Christmas in Finland, with farmers sometimes hanging a sheaf of wheat on a tree to be eaten and pecked at by the birds. Nuts and pieces of suet are also hung on trees in bags from the branches.
Everyone cleans their houses ready for the three holy days of Christmas – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
On Christmas Eve, or the day before, Christmas trees are bought from the local market or square. The seller expects you to bargain with them on the price.
Christmas Eve is very special and the most important day over Christmas. It’s traditional to eat rice porridge and plum fruit juice for breakfast. Then the tree is bought (if it hasn’t been already) and is decorated.
Because it gets dark very in most parts of Finland around Christmas (about 3.00pm) it’s now traditional to go cemeteries and visit the graves of family members. Some cemeteries are enormous and police are on duty to manage the traffic, but everyone must walk the last few yards to the grave. Candles in hanging lanterns are left around the grave, often lots of many family members go. The whole cemetery is alight with glowing lanterns shining in the snow – a winter wonderland.
Other people like a sauna on Christmas Eve.
The main Christmas meal is eaten in the early evening. Lutefish (salt fish) is the traditional starter, but is not so common nowadays. The main meal is a leg of pork served with mashed potato traditionally baked slowly in boxes in the oven. Casseroles containing different vegetables including, rutabaga, carrot and potato are also common. Cured salmon is very popular and some people also have turkey. Desert is baked rice pudding/porridge eaten with spiced plum jam. One almond is hidden in the pudding. Whoever find the almond will be lucky for the next year.
After the meal, Joulupukki (Santa) might visit the house! When he comes in with his sack he asks if any children are living there. They reply very loudly! Next then asks if they have been good all through the year. When they are given their presents the whole family gathers to watch the fun of opening. After opening some presents, it’s time to go to bed.
Christmas Day is much quieter with families usually spending it quietly at home. On Boxing Day people like to go out. Skiing is popular along the flat terrain or skating if the lake or river has frozen.