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Thread: European Christmas Customs

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    European Christmas Customs



    I borrowed a book from the library a couple of years ago, I forget exactly what it was called, but it was about the various Christmas customs in different countries in Europe. It had lots of nice recipes too. I don't know if the book painted a true picture, so I wanted to hear from people actually living in those different countries - how do you celebrate Christmas?

    Where I live in the UK, the religious part is really only seen in the Nativity plays that are put on by primary schools, and carol concerts in the churches. Most people put up a Christmas tree about the middle of December (although the first I saw this year was on 1st November!) and it has become common in the last 10 or 15 years for people to decorate the outside of their houses, often over-extravagantly. The high point of Christmas Day is the lunch, which usually includes turkey & stuffing (or nut roast for the vegetarians!), followed by plum pudding & brandy butter. We pull Christmas crackers after the meal.

    In the UK we have an extra holiday for Boxing Day (26th). I don't think there are any particular traditions associated with that day, although in my family it was always the day for entertaining grandparents (they're all dead now )

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    i beleive its a tradition (for me it is), to every X-mas eat as much as i can, its what they call the winter-weight, does anyone else think turkey tastes like chicken?

    sorry if this takes it away from the threads point.

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    I noticed that for most French speakers the connection between the word "Noel" (Christmas) and the birth of Jesus Christ is far from obvious. In English, the word includes "Christ". In Italian or Spanish, it means "birth". But in French, it doesn't mean anything (although it's probably an extremely corrupted version of the Latin for "birth"). My mother told me that for her Xmas was first and foremost a family gathering, not a religious ceremony.

    I would say that for most of the people I know in Belgium, Xmas is less of a fuss than the New Year. It's a small party between parents and children, something including cousins, and grandparents on one side... There is a Xmas tree and wrapped gifts, and sometimes a nativity scene. A small minority of the people go to church for the Xmas mass. Xmas is celebrated the evening of the 24th, contrarily to the UK where it is at lunch on the 25th + Boxing Day on the 26th. Contrarily to the US, there is hardly any reference to Jesus or religion at Xmas these days.

    In contrast, the New Year is typically an all-night affair, with a longer and more sumptuous dinner, and often disguises, dances, games, etc. It involves much more people as well. Nightclubs are all full for the New Year, while there are only a few (teenager ?) parties for Xmas.

    Finally, in Belgium there are two Santa Claus. The most important is called "St Nicholas" (the original name of Santa Claus), the patron of children, and gifts are given on the 6th of December. The "Pere Noel" ("Father Xmas") is the one associated with Xmas, but brings less gifts to children than the other one. Hence, the association of Xmas with gifts is less obvious in Belgium (or Austria, which also has St Nicholas) than most other Western countries.

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    Smile Polish Christmas

    I live in Poland. My country is said to be one of the most religious in Europe and itfs more less true, I suppose. Over 90% of us are Catholic so Christmas and Easter are very important religious events to us. Christmas is childrenfs favorite holiday. Itfs not hard to guess why. :)
    The first sign of coming Christmas is the morning on 6th December when children find sweets or/and small presents in their shoes. Since then, Christmas atmosphere is hanging in the air - children are taking parts in Nativity plays at schools and churches and writing letters to Santa Claus , priests are visiting members of their parishes, people are sending greetings
    and doing a lot of shopping and cleaning.
    In the evening on 24th of December everything becomes calm and quiet.
    Children are waiting for the first star in the sky.
    Every family gathers together for a solemn supper. There is a Christmas tree in the room, that spreads fragrance of resin, decorated with glass balls, glittering lamps, candies, handmade paper chains and with presents underneath. Christmas Eve is a fast. It means that we try to eat little before the supper and dishes are meatless. Itfs funny that fish traditionally isnft considered to be meat. There are 12 dishes on a table according to the number of the apostles. The most popular is fried carp; carp in a kind of jelly; herring in vinegar or sour cream, sauerkraut with mushrooms or pea, stewed dried plum, boiled dough pockets filled with sauerkraut, dumplings with poppy seeds and raisins, etc. There is also an empty chair and a set of plates for an unexpected guest, a traveler or a homeless person.
    The most important thing is a white wafer, made the same way as this one, that is usually consecrated during everyday mass. The difference is that itfs only sprinkled with holly water without any consecration. We break it and share with each other wishing happiness and reconciling after any arguments of the past year in order to bear no grudges.
    We eat the supper, sing carols
    and open the presents. ,
    At midnight people attend a special mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If you attend, you are allowed not to attend the obligatory mass the next day ,when people invite relatives and friends to diners and call to the rest of uninvited family with Christmas greetings.

    Traditions differ also locally, of course. Generally speaking, the smaller is a town or a village the more restricted but also the more colorful is the way of celebrating the event. However, the scheme I described is the most popular, especially in big cities.
    So, Merry Christmas! - to you all!
    Last edited by konstancja; 22-12-05 at 09:39.

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    Smile Scandinavian Christmas traditions

    Are there any Scandinavians reading this who are willing to share some of their Christmas customs?

    I am trying to find out more about them, having recently attended a "Swedish Yuletide" festival in New England, which made me want to know more!

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    This time flies!Now the Christmas Day is coming.In mall you can find Santa Claus everywhere and feel thick festal atmosphere. On weekend many people are buying Christmas' Day Gifts to prepare for the festival!
    What have you done to celebrate this festival?

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    They are a few special days where it is necessary to recover the illusion of the childhood for the Christmas.

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    In Spain gifts are given to the children by the "Reyes Magos de Oriente " , which I will loosely translate to "Magic Kings from orient". This is on 6 January (technically called "dia de la Epifania"), but Santa Claus (called Papa Noel in Spain) was also introduced due to American influence and now children prefer the big, fat ,red-dressed old man from the North Pole just because he gives them the gifts much earlier (on 24th December). Also as for the Magic Kings from Orient there is usually some controversy in Spain every Christmas because traditionally one of them was supposed to be black according to tradition, but in parades that represent the arrival of the Reyes Magos to Iberian lands they prefer to fake a black man by using body paint. The black community has protested because they say that now there are many blacks in Spain and it's not necessary to fake the black king as long as one black person can be picked up to play that role.

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    Franco
    La comunidad negro ha protestado, porque dicen que ahora hay muchos negros en España y que no es necesario fingir el rey negro, siempre y cuando una persona negro pueden ser recogidos para desempeñar ese papel.
    He has not protested any black community, they have protested the O.N.G.
    Traditionally Spanish was painting to himself the black's face to represent King Baltasar, because it is a Spanish tradition and for Spanish it has felt the festivity of the Three Kings, now King baltasar in many peoples, in others not, it is represented by an authentic black, who probably is Moslem and does not feel anything for this festivity. It is necessary to stop the O.N.G. that we already know about what and of whom they live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos View Post
    He has not protested any black community, they have protested the O.N.G.
    Traditionally Spanish was painting to himself the black's face to represent King Baltasar, because it is a Spanish tradition and for Spanish it has felt the festivity of the Three Kings, now King baltasar in many peoples, in others not, it is represented by an authentic black, who probably is Moslem and does not feel anything for this festivity. It is necessary to stop the O.N.G. that we already know about what and of whom they live.
    Well, the Bible does not explicitly says that any of the three "Kings" or "wise men" who went to worship Jesus Christ just after his birth was black. Indeed there are not many details about their origin. Later on, in Spanish Catholic tradition at least, it was assumed they came from Europe, Asia and Africa respectively, and the African one was considered a black person, but if we take political correctness seriously like those who claim that the black king should be represented in Christmans by black people, a North African could argue that not all Africans are blacks, and that king the Bible cites may be from Morocco or such. Curiously enough the "Asian" King is not assumed to be Chinese. In parades where the Reyes Magos give candies to children he is repersented by a ginger old man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Franco View Post
    Well, the Bible does not explicitly says that any of the three "Kings" or "wise men" who went to worship Jesus Christ just after his birth was black. Indeed there are not many details about their origin. Later on, in Spanish Catholic tradition at least, it was assumed they came from Europe, Asia and Africa respectively, and the African one was considered a black person, but if we take political correctness seriously like those who claim that the black king should be represented in Christmans by black people, a North African could argue that not all Africans are blacks, and that king the Bible cites may be from Morocco or such. Curiously enough the "Asian" King is not assumed to be Chinese. In parades where the Reyes Magos give candies to children he is repersented by a ginger old man.
    The Three Kings of East. One is black be what the origin of the tradition is. The children when they see the cavalcade of the Three Kings only think about the caramels and the toys that they will bring to them on the following morning. But for a Spanish adult who paints to himself the face to represent the black king Baltasar there exists a traditional, sentimental and emotive sense. Many artists, famous or anonymous persons want to go out in the cavalcade, some represent Melchor, others to Gaspar and those who represent Baltasar they paint the black's face, for Spanish his environment, family and others it has a sense, for a probably Moslem African black it is only a disguised day just as if they were a few carnivals. Now the O.N.G. with his stupid arguments wants that Baltasar's representanción makes her an authentic black, normally it makes it the sub-Saharan one perhaps Moslem forbidding a Spanish to represent Batasar.
    All this due to the O.N.G. and the support of the Spanish left side always trying to finish with any sign or religious tradition.
    Please to the left side or a holiday is not The Three Kings of East with character religious and they will be vain of turning her into a pagan holiday with carnival dyes.

    The O.N.G. wants a working day for the immigrant black of whom they live and say that identical Baltasar is a faker: and then is the authentic African black who represents Baltasar the authentic Magian Baltasar?

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    GREEK CHRISTMAS SESSION CUSTOMS


    i will try to explain some of modern traditions and its roots from ancient and Christian times,

    1 first of all Greeks do not have st Clauss neither st Nikola But st Basilios αγιος Βασιλειος
    a Bishop from Caesareia of Pontos

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_of_Caesarea

    although the fun starts from ST Nicola's day

    a pie at new years eve with a flori (golden coin from italy) as tradition demands but any coin can be useful
    the lucky of each house must enter go out and enter house to bring lack the whole new year
    also persons who do not earn coin are prohibited to enter first at a house the whole day,
    (the luck of 1rst day of Γαμηλιων January is from old pagan times)

    2 the christmass carols καλαντα kalanta

    they get their names from Latin word Calendar
    you see mostly simple people pay their loans, or get their money from merchants each of 1 day of a month, especially January,
    so the day before they went to wealthy merchants to remind them etc
    their songs after christianity talk about jesus

    the video bellow is modern from Thessaloniki, where Students that their families originated from Thrace song their Kalanta (σαραντα εκκλησιες Κων/πολις, 40 churches outside Istanbul)




    3 the shiny Boat

    well Poseidonion (december) is the month that ships were allowed to sail,
    so at 4-5-6 December all ships were pulled to shore and get repaired, and also painted and had best treatment lights and colours so poseidon to see them and ask them soon to enter seas

    Let me Remind you that 6 December is St Nicolas Day, so Sailors gave gifts to their Kids that day 6 december Poseidon Day, today St Nikolas day. cause mostly these Days return from sea.
    The today ! january day of st Basileios is after 900 AD by an effort of Christians to Give another meaning to ancient rituals,
    or the last Moon month of a year.
    So instead of Christmas tree in Greece they prefer Christmas Boat




    The naval culture of Greece.


    4 Makedonian fire

    According Makedonians December (Αυδναιος) was a bad month, something like the Dead's month,

    so in order to be gentle to Gods they light Big fires especially at 23 December ( winter Solstice)
    that was to warm Apollo Phaethon to make bigger races in sky (to make bigger the days)
    No Tree was allowed to be cut that Days especially Oak (Zeus Holy Tree) since they kill amadryas (the fairies of the Tree) but Bushes
    Later after Christianity that remained in Upper Macedonia at 24 December as warming the new Born Jesus,
    that custom is also popular to Slavic Speaking Makedonians.




    5 The Makedonian Army Celebrations

    December January and February were popular months for war or campaigns
    (Αυδναιος Περιτιος Δυστρος)
    Remember Peritios January was the Month of Wedding,
    So Army return home or camp near Cities, Certain days they were allowed to go Drunk to city,
    and they prepare and make new weapons Armor etc
    so they were Black from rust
    they also play with Death Χαρος by provoking with jokes of God Komos (Κωμος God of Comedy)
    that created carnival which start from 23 December to find a bride new years eve 7 january end of January but Mostly Fabruary month dedicated to God Bacchos
    that maybe was their last fan, especially the Young since in March (Makedonian Xanthos 3nd moon month after winter Solstice) they Join the army as full man and soldiers
    if they get married they escape 1 year from soldier
    that gave them many names
    example is ρουγκατζια rougatzia from Latin Regae
    λαγκατζαρια lagkatzaria ( I dont know why, but I heard that is from Λογγος forest area of a river inside gorge
    a river dale) cause they stand there for a Girl to love them,
    μομοεροι momoeri means the old men of God Komos
    αραπηδες arapides means black people, I don't know why, but 2 solutions I read say the they were Black cause they paint their face Black to know each other, they were black from the iron works,

    in the Christian times they are named καλικαντζαροι kalikantzari - karkantzari
    the word is similar to Goblin,







    after a month they look like that



    The thetrical act contains 4 mainly
    1 is the Bride and the old man, meaning marry me and not an old man,
    2 the Bear and the priest !!!!! that act exist among Kalash in Pakistan today as a ritual of mariage,
    3 the goats and the horse sometimes, holy Makedonian animals consider that Capital was named Goats Αιγες
    the ones who will go to army,
    4 the army and the rich soldier who return,

    The Kalash Carnival marriage ritual
    same as the Makedonian
    only instead of God Komos the God is named Chomos

    the same acts like ancient Greece and Makedonia
    The Divinity and the Bear

    The goats
    The Bride and the horse so the young man to choose

    even same month late december compare Greek month Γαμηλιων month of mariage,





    well is to late, I will continue another time

    Best wishes for Happines, and as Greek say HEALTH AND BLESSING (Yγεια και Ευλογια)
    Last edited by Yetos; 25-12-11 at 17:10.

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