Christmas Around The World
While you are celebrating your Christmas with family traditions that could range from the meal you eat, church service you attend or the time you open your presents, remember that not everybody celebrates Christmas the same way. Traditions and customs differ all over the world.
In Bethlehem, the tiny town that is believed to be the birth place of Jesus, the Church of the Nativity is decorated with many flags and decorations with a dramatic procession held each Christmas Eve.
In Iran, Christians have marked the season by fasting from animal products. Christmas in Iran is known as the Little Feast, and is a time of peace and meditation. When the fast is over, the feast begins with plenty of meat prepared for a Christmas dinner.
Christians in India often decorate mango or banana trees at Christmas and light small oil-burning lamps as Christmas decorations. They also fill their churches with red flowers.
Christian children in China hang stockings and hope that Dun Che Lao Ren (Christmas Old Man..or Santa Claus) will fill them with gifts and treats. The non-Christian Chinese call this season the Spring Festival and celebrate with many festivities that include delicious meals and pay respects to their ancestors.
And our neighbors to the north celebrate Christmas similar to the United States. Canada's Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert expect a rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce and mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. Many Canadians decorate their homes with nativity scenes and after attending a midnight mass, come home to eat tourtiere or pork pie. Belsnicklers, or masked mummers, appear in neighborhoods, ringing bells, making noise, seeking candy or other treats and will only stop their celebrating if their identity can be correctly guessed.
Click here to check out Christmas traditions that are celebrated around the world. And for some traditions that might make you forget about the turkey and trimmings, nativity scenes and gift giving, click here for a look at some of the more out-there Christmas traditions.