Christmas is one of the most important and revered holidays that Christians have been celebrating for more than 2000 years in 100 countries. It is one of the brightest and most beautiful holidays. This is usually a family holiday. It is on this holy Christmas day that it is customary for all family members to gather under one roof, at a huge festive table. Indeed, in such holidays, you can feel all the warmth and care that comes from everyone. And in order for this holiday to be remembered for a long time, and not at all look like his previous Christmas celebrations, you should make a noticeable effort and show off your imagination. And only after that, you really feel that this year, your Christmas was a success, and your family became the happiest guests on this holiday. If, however, it is difficult for you to think out the ideal plan for how to spend a family Christmas holiday, we think that our advice will just become for you the very lifesaver. And, following in their footsteps, you will understand that there is nothing better than giving your loved ones your special Christmas tale.
Let’s start from the origin of Christmas. Christmas is associated with the gospel story of the birth of the son of God Jesus Christ at the Virgin Mary. According to the Gospel, in the year Jesus was born, a census was carried out by order of the emperor Augustus in the Roman Empire, of which Judea was a part. For the convenience of the enumerators, all the inhabitants of Judea were ordered to appear in the city of their birth. The wife of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph was a descendant of King David, and his "little homeland" was Bethlehem. Mary, already pregnant at that time, went to Bethlehem with her husband. However, in Bethlehem, due to the influx of guests, Maria and Joseph were not able to get into the hotel. When the date of birth came, Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus in a cave, in which cattle were hidden from the weather. After the birth of Jesus, the shepherds came first to bow to him, whom the angel informed about the birth of the son of God. Then came the magi, whom the star pointed to the cave, which appeared in heaven at the time of the birth of Jesus. The Magi brought Jesus royal gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh. With this gift, the magicians made it clear that they saw the king of God in baby Jesus. According to the Catholic tradition, the sorcerers who themselves were kings (according to another version - magicians) were called Cupronickel, Caspar and Balthazar.
Upon learning of the birth of the son of God, the then king of Judea, the cruel Herod, decided to destroy Jesus. Herod did not understand and ordered that all babies under two years of age be killed in Judea (the famous beating of babies). However, the angel of God saved Jesus and his family. The angel told Joseph and Mary and the child to flee to Egypt, where the holy family hid until Herod's death, after which he returned safely to Judea.
Catholic Christmas holiday traditions. Catholics begin to prepare for Christmas in advance - in a month. The pre-Christmas period is called Advent, it includes prayers, fasting (not as strict as Christmas for Orthodox), as well as various activities related to charity. Advent is dedicated to the expectation of the miracle of Christmas, so at this time in Europe various Christmas events are held - fairs, performances, etc. The most grandiose Christmas fairs are held in Germany.
Catholic Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
Christmas Eve is the eve of the holiday, which is celebrated on December 24.
On this day, it is customary for believers to keep a strict fast. It is advisable to eat nothing all day, and when the first star lights up in the sky, "chat" with oozing - grains of various cereals boiled in honey. At this time, festive services are held in Catholic and Protestant churches, and then people go home and sit at the festive table, which traditionally has meat delicacies.
Catholic Christmas traditions
Nativity scenes – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
Nativity scenes. Since the Middle Ages in Western Europe, the custom has appeared to arrange Christmas nativity scenes for Christmas - to make toy nurseries with dolls in the form of the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus, St. Joseph, shepherds, magi, etc.
Carols – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
Once, in 1513, on Christmas Eve, he went home and looked at the sky, strewn with shining stars, and it seemed to him that the spruces standing around were also showered with bright sparkling stars. It was then that he brought home a small Christmas tree, decorated it with candles and sparkling stars. Since then, Christmas and New Year trees have settled in homes and began to delight children and adults. A chronicle from 1605 testifies that in Alsace in the territory of modern France: "Christmas trees are installed in houses, and roses from colored paper, apples, cookies, pieces of sugar and tinsel are hung on their branches." This innovation was adopted by the large Protestant community of the German region of Württemberg, from where this tradition gradually spread throughout Germany, and then throughout Europe.
Carols. At Christmas, Europeans, especially children, love caroling - dress up in carnival costumes and masks and walk along streets and houses, singing Christmas carols. Singers are usually given sweets or money.
Christmas tree – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
In the sixteenth century, the Christmas tree appeared in European houses. There is a legend that the first to bring the tree to his house was Martin Luther himself, the founder of the Protestantism movement called Lutheranism.
Santa Claus – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
Santa Claus (aka St. Nicholas) is a Christmas grandfather who brings children presents for Christmas. In the Western tradition, it is believed that, like St. Nicholas, Santa comes into houses at night through a chimney, leaving gifts under a Christmas tree or in a special sock hanging by the fireplace.
Not a single Western Christmas (Europe, England, USA, and others) can do without the most important character - Santa Claus. But who is this kind-hearted gift giver? Is this a real character or a fictional one? Why was he named that way and where does he live? I will try to answer all these questions today. Santa Claus I can say for sure that Santa Claus is a very real person who lived in antiquity. True, his name was different, he looked different and he was born not in Lapland, as is commonly believed, but in the town of Mira Likijskie in 253 AD, on the modern territory of Turkey. And then they called him St. Nicholas. He was a simple bishop who was ready to accept death for his faith and always fought for good. There were legends that St. Nicholas himself was very wealthy, but not greedy. He helped all the unfortunate and poor, at night discreetly tossing coins into their shoes, which they left at the doors, and laying delicious pies on the windows. So St. Nicholas became the favorites of children. However, merchants, bakers, prisoners and sailors also chose him as their intercessor and saints. But how did he become a symbol of Christmas? St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6. In the 10th century, in the cathedral of the German city of Cologne, baking and fruit were distributed to students of the Christian school that day. Very quickly, this tradition became widespread in other cities and countries.
Holiday Christmas Stockings – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
Remembering the legend, people began to hang special holiday stockings or shoes for the night, so that Nikolai put his gifts there. It is generally accepted that a saint who comes into houses at night, going down the chimney, brings gifts to obedient children, and rods to mischievous children, naughty children and pranksters. Therefore, children, long before the holiday, try to behave themselves, and parents with their poor behavior immediately remind them that you can receive rods as a gift. Sometimes, even with presentations, children are given small twigs. A wonderful transformation. How did St. Nicholas become Santa Claus? In the United States, this character came from Holland in the 17th century. In 1626, a frigate from several Dutch ships arrived in the New World. On the bow of the main ship “Goede Vrove” stood the figure of Nicholas, who, as I said, was also the patron saint of sailors. Mariners bought land for $24 from the indigenous inhabitants of America - the Indians and gave the name of the settlement - "New Amsterdam." Today, this "village" has become the largest city in the United States and one of the most famous cities in the world - "New York". The Netherlands removed the figurine of the saint from the ship and transferred it to the main square so that Nicholas defended the village. Only now the Indians and the new inhabitants spoke their own language, and not English. They could not clearly pronounce the name of the saint and the phrase sounded like “Sinter Clas”, then transformed into “Santa Clas”, and over time into the familiar “Santa Claus”. This is how St. Nicholas miraculously transformed into Santa Claus, who on Christmas Eve carries gifts home. However, the story of the transformation of Santa Claus does not end there. Clement Clark Moore’s poem “The Parish of St. Nicholas”, published on Christmas Eve 1822, became an important stage of reincarnation. Twenty quatrains describe the child’s meeting with Santa Claus, who brought him presents. There was practically nothing left of the former saint in the poem; he was completely devoid of rigor and seriousness. Santa on a sleigh. C. Moore Santa is a cheerful, cheerful elf with a pipe in his mouth and a round belly. As a result of this metamorphosis, Nikolai forever lost his episcopal appearance and moved to a reindeer harness. In 1823, in the poem The Night Before Christmas, the names of 8 Santa's deer were listed: Lightning fast, Doodle, Cupid, Comet, Spiteful, Dancing, Dancing, Dancing. Only in 1939 did the ninth deer Rudolph appear with a large and shiny reddish nose. Rudolph Meanwhile, illustrator Thomas Nast elaborated on the image of Santa Claus in 1860-1880. in Harper's magazine. Santa has such indispensable attributes as a list of bad and good children, the North Pole. But this is not the end of the transformation. Klaus, completely deprived of the holy halo, was dressed up in all kinds of colorful clothes. But in 1931, the famous Coca Cola brand launched an advertising campaign, the face of which was Santa Claus. Haddon Sandblom - an American artist - portrayed a white-bearded good-natured old man in red-white clothes and soda hands. As a result, Santa Claus acquired an image that we can all see today.
Santa Claus on deer – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
This is a plump cheerful old man delivering presents on Christmas night. He must have a red jacket or short fur coat, a white beard, a red hat and trousers with a white rim. Santa Claus moves on a sleigh pulled by 9 reindeers and filled to the brim with gifts for obedient children around the world.
Christmas traditions in different countries
Christmas traditions in different countries – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
Christmas comes in silence. On the eve of the holiday, noisy fairs fall silent, the crowding in the shops ceases, the streets are empty ... Everyone tries to spend the evening with his family. If you also decided this year to celebrate the holiday at home, we suggest you take a virtual trip around the world and find out how the traditions of celebrating Christmas in different countries differ. You may find tips on how to give presents to children and family in an unusual way.
CHRISTMAS IN ANDORRA
In Andorra, the New Year season opens in early December. Sant Julia de Loria hosts the New Year's Fair. December 13 in Andorra celebrates the day of Saint Lucia, who is considered the patroness of the blind. In some countries, it is also believed that Saint Lucia brings children gifts on his magical flying donkey. However, the main celebrations are on December 24th.On this day, Papasha Noel (or Santa Claus) arrives in Andorra, who distributes sweets to the kids. In each of the districts of Andorra, festivities, festive processions, dances, games are organized.At midnight, a festive mass takes place in the churches.
CHRISTMAS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
One of the most revered holidays in the Dominican Republic is Christmas, which is celebrated on December 24-25, as in all other Catholic states. It is worth noting that January 6 is also a public holiday. And many Orthodox tourists consider it his Christmas. In fact, this is Baptism, which is also called the Day of the Holy Magi (Epiphanius). In the morning before Christmas, Dominicans must go to church. The Catholic Church of St. Altagracia (or the Holy Virgin Mary Altagracia) is especially popular these days. This Virgin is considered the patroness of the Dominican Republic. Although Dominicans consider Christmas a family celebration, they also love to invite guests. However, Christmas Eve dinner is held in a close circle.
CHRISTMAS IN CYPRUS
On December 25, the Cypriot Orthodox Church, like most Christian churches in the world, celebrates the bright day of the Nativity of Christ. Christmas is preceded by a forty-day strict fast. By Christmas, every hostess's family baked Christmas bread - kulluri. On the eve of the holiday, they stuffed turkey or chicken, made homemade pasta, ravioli, Christmas sweets. On Christmas morning, from 5 a.m., bells began to ring solemnly around the island. Parishioners went to church with all families to listen to the Holy Liturgy on the birth of Jesus Christ. During a festive dinner, those present raise their first toast for a good harvest in the new year, for health and freedom. After that, the owner of the house cut the Christmas cake as follows: the first piece - to Christ, the second - to the house and the poor wanderer, and then to everyone else.
CHRISTMAS IN MEXICO
An important part of the Mexican Christmas celebration is the Posadas holiday, which translates as “shelter” or “refuge”, which is dedicated to the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem in search of refuge. On the streets of Mexican cities, there are traditional theatrical processions led by “Mary” and “Joseph,” played by children. The celebration of Posadas lasts 9 days - from December 16 to 24.It is worth noting that in Mexico, spruce is often replaced with artificial small trees - arbolito. On the eve of Christmas, many Mexicans attend Mass, and in the evening they have dinner with family and friends.
CHRISTMAS IN BELGIUM
In Belgium, before Christmas, children begin to write letters to St. Nicholas asking for gifts. According to legend, on December 4, St. Nicholas observes the behavior of children, and on December 6 he returns with gifts. Obedient children receive toys and sweets, while the bad ones can be found in their shoes or in small baskets. Children who speak French are visited by Per Noel and Per Fuetter. In some small villages, gifts are given to children by three Kings, representing the three wise men. In houses in a place of honor it is customary to exhibit figures of the Virgin Mary, Joseph, the baby and the Magi.Residents of Namur province celebrate Christmas originally: they spend a festive night at the playing table. In every cafe, diner or village restaurant they play a card game reminiscent of a Russian "fool". The winner receives Kerstbroden - a large butter bun in the shape of an angel or little Jesus, covered with icing and icing sugar, or a chocolate log 30 cm long.Almost all meat dishes for the Christmas table are prepared from pork (a pig was always credited with special fecundity), and in the Middle Ages there was a custom to serve a fried pork head for Christmas.
CHRISTMAS IN DENMARK
Jul - this is the word “Christmas” in Danish, meaning a turn or a wheel. We are talking about the rotation of the Sun, because this holiday is celebrated immediately after the winter solstice. An integral attribute of the holiday is a calendar that counts down to Christmas. “Yul-calendars” is, as a rule, a box with 24 windows. Every day, starting from December 1, the child opens one window, after which a chocolate figure with Christmas symbols is waiting for him. Christmas dinner begins at seven in the evening. The traditional food of the day is baked pork, turkey or duck. In Denmark, there is a tradition of carrying a spoon with porridge for a dwarf in the attic, so that he takes care of a good harvest in the new year and protects the house from various troubles.
CHRISTMAS IN HUNGARY
In Hungary, preparations for Christmas begin about 4 weeks before the holiday .On Christmas evenings in front of the house, where there is a girl of marriageable age, the boys arrange joking performances of the mummers. The real girl’s heart itself will tell you who among the mummers is married, to whom to present the award is a kiss. Hungarian Santa, called Mekulash, and he comes to the children on December 6th. Children receive from Nicholas a traditional boot with treats. On Christmas Eve in Hungary, strict fasting is observed, they do not usually eat until the evening. In the old days, even animals were not fed. The whole day before dinner, usually busy with the last preparations for the holiday, since you can’t do anything on Christmas, it’s not even recommended to cook food, you can only warm it up. Most families have a tradition of decorating a Christmas tree together. Some families adhere to the old tradition, according to which the tree should be a surprise for children who believe that angels bring it. At midnight, the ringing of bells announces the onset of the holiday. A very good omen is the first man to cross the threshold of a house on Christmas Day. The main dishes of the festive breakfast and lunch were mostly meat, especially pork, as it was believed that pork meat brings happiness.
CHRISTMAS IN POLAND
In Poland, before Christmas, services are held in the churches, the so-called Rorati. Festive fairs open in the squares. On the night before Christmas, in the churches of Poland, the traditional “pasty” service is held. After it, carols sound, and then the parishioners go home to get back to the service again in the morning, to hear carols, organ music and Christmas greetings from the priest again. Warsaw traditionally distributes oranges during the Christmas holidays. On the festive table, the Poles should have 12 meatless dishes, among which there will certainly be kutya. It is seasoned with honey, nuts, raisins .On the evening before Christmas, a little hay is laid on the table - this is a part of the manger in which Christ was born. The table is always covered with a white tablecloth to show that those sitting at the table have only pure thoughts.
CHRISTMAS IN PORTUGAL
Winter holidays in Portugal begin on the day of St. Martin - November 11th. According to legend, St. Martin, while traveling, gave part of his cloak to one suffering person, and the second to another and rode on without warm clothes.On the eve of Christmas in Portugal, in each church on the left side there is a nativity scene - a breadboard model of the crib where Jesus Christ was born.Between December 25 and January 6, the Portuguese perform Christmas “Janeiras”. As a rule, these are not traditional songs, but a free, not without humor, retelling of events that took place last year. The main rule of the Christmas table, which is set on December 24, is abundance. The main course of the Christmas dinner called Consoada (“reunion”) is boiled cod with potatoes, eggs and cabbage. And also the royal pie - a large round biscuit cake in the shape of a crown with candied fruits, nuts and dried fruits. Bean has long been baked in a pie, and the person to whom it came across was considered lucky for the next year. Different regions of Portugal have their own Christmas traditions. For example, in the municipality of Braganza, on December 24, “Karetush” is celebrated - the mummers festival, which symbolizes the pagan dedication of the boy into adulthood.
CHRISTMAS IN SERBIA
Serbs are a people who carefully preserves their history. Today, Christmas is a holiday that, like hundreds of years ago, unites the whole country. Serbian Christmas has preserved some pagan elements. Nevertheless, Serbs are preparing for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ in full accordance with the Orthodox tradition, observing the traditional 40-day fast, and also praying to Jesus Christ. On January 5, Serbs slaughter a pig or lamb. This day is called Tucindan. It is not customary to punish children in Tucindan, since it is believed that otherwise they will not listen to their parents throughout the coming year. Badnidan - Christmas Eve in Serbia is celebrated on January 6. The holiday day begins even before sunrise, when the head of the family, along with his grandchildren and sons, notifies his fellow villagers about a trip to the forest - with a shotgun - with a shot from a gun. Badnyak is a log of freshly chopped young oak, which, according to Serbian traditions, must be present in the house of Orthodox Serbs for Christmas holidays. The badnyak symbolizes the log that the shepherds donated to the righteous Joseph in order to warm the cold manger where the Savior was born. Another meaning of the badger is the cross on which the Savior was crucified. Early in the morning on Christmas day in Serbia, the Divine Liturgy begins.
CHRISTMAS IN SLOVAKIA
In Slovakia, celebrations begin on December 5 with St. Mikulas Day (the Slovak analogue of St. Nicholas). On this day, children who behaved well throughout the year, wash their shoes and put them on the windowsill in anticipation of gifts. But the good Mikulash comes not alone, but accompanied by the devil and the angel. Together, they decide whether the child’s behavior was exemplary. December 24, in Svyatchecher, they don’t eat anything until dark, and they prepare holiday dishes for a family feast: gingerbread cookies, cabbage soup baked in a carp oven. In the evening, everyone gathers at a table, which is wrapped in chains from below - so that the family is strong. Coins are hidden under the tablecloth in the corners - so that the year is profitable, and under the table they put something iron - for good health. Dress up a Christmas tree, and not necessarily a Christmas tree. The next day, December 25, mummers with musicians go from house to house, singing carols, driving away evil spirits and wishing a good year. Christmas markets are held in large cities in Slovakia.
CHRISTMAS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
On December 24, before sitting at the table, in Prague it was customary to go with the children to the bank of the Vltava, where sellers were already waiting for them. They trade live carps, but not to eat fish. Here the tradition was born to release a purchase into the river. To stay healthy the whole next year, on the morning of December 24, you need to wash yourself in a cold stream. December 26 is called St. Valentine's Day in the Czech Republic Stepan, the day of reveling carols. There is a funny custom, on this day, negligent men are driven out of the house. Previously, they were really put out of the house, but now they just put a bundle next to the bed as a hint. The Czech Republic, by the way, is the only place where four heroes give away Christmas surprises at once: Santa Claus, Mikulas, Hedgehogs and Santa Claus.Czech traditions also require that Bethlehem nurseries or Bethlehem cribs be established in every home, in every square and in every church. Fortune telling is inextricably linked with the Czech Christmas holidays. A Czech girl on Christmas Eve was eating an apple, standing on the threshold of her house, and if a man was the first to go past the house, this meant that she would get married in the New Year.
Fireworks for Christmas – The article "International Christmas" by Sevazh
So, we have listed some key points of how to spend a family Christmas holiday. Believe me, you will definitely remember it like that. It is worth knowing that Christmas is, first of all, a fairy tale. So, then, it is worth making it fabulous in everything. Especially, having pleased, thereby kids. Present, on this day, a fairy tale to yourself and them. Do not forget to send Christmas cards to your family and friends as a small but very valuable piece of a light Christmas holiday. Have a nice Christmas.
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