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 Christmas around the World

Christmas around the world

Australia
Generally, Christmas is celebrated along traditional lines and families often travel great distances to be together. Much before 25th night, children write letters to Santa Claus and wait for his arrival hanging stockings with gifts for them on the night of Christmas Eve. In homes, many of the traditional Christmas rituals are being followed. Australians also sing carols by candlelight and decorate their homes with flowers and other plants. Sending greetings and handing over gifts are also very popular here. Church is attended in great mass on Christmas Day. Services are often held very early in the morning. The atmosphere being conductive, many have Christmas dinner in the woods or on the beach in the style of a picnic. The Australians celebrate Christ's birth with an imagery drawn from the Australian Christmas Bush.
Bethlehem
Bethlehem consists of people of different Christian denominations - Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox, Ethiopians, Armenians and more. Here, Christmas Day is observed not on a particular day. The general Christmas traditions in Bethlehem are similar to the Europeans and North American customs observed during the festival. From a few days before 25th December, the town is decorated with flags and other items of adornment. Streets are strung with Christmas lights. A Christmas market comes up and Christmas plays are performed. A cross is painted on the doors of every Christian home and Nativity scenes are displayed in every household.
Canada
Mummering is a tradition which takes place in the provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, 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 asking are mummers allowed in the house. 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 adult their requests, but instead of dropping them in the mailbox, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draft carries the letters up the chimney, and theoretically, Father Christmas reads the smoke. Gifts are opened Christmas afternoon.
Great Britain
The custom of gift-giving on Christmas dates only to Victorian times. Before then it was more common to exchange gifts on New Year's Day or Twelfth Night. Santa Claus is known by British children as Father Christmas. Father Christmas, these days, is quite similar to the American Santa, but his direct ancestor is a certain pagan spirit who regularly appeared in medieval mummer's plays. The old-fashioned Father Christmas was depicted wearing long robes with sprigs of holly in his long white hair. Children write letters to Father Christmas detailing their requests, but instead of dropping them in the mailbox, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draft carries the letters up the chimney, and theoretically, Father Christmas reads the smoke. Gifts are opened Christmas afternoon.
United States
In the final days leading to December 25, small evergreen trees are seen to be established in every home and beautifully decorated with colored lights, tinsel, angels, stars and bright ornaments. The exterior of almost every house and the adjoining shrubbery is adorned with strands of electric lights. Strings of electric lights are used not only to adorn mantles and doorways, rafters, roof lines, and porch railings of individual homes but also of public/commercial buildings, departmental stores and even business hubs. Christmas trees are also seen to be set up in most of these places. It is often a pastime for the American to drive or walk around neighborhoods in the Christmas evenings to see the lights displayed around. Some also place life-sized, illuminated Santa, reindeer and snowmen on their lawns and roofs. Many churches and private homes display illuminated Nativity Scenes commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Customs such as Murmuring take place in some communities. On New Year’s Day in Philadelphia there is a Mummers Day parade which lasts over six hours! Clubs called "New Years Associations" perform in amazing costumes which take months to make.
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