Celebrations start on December 6, which is St. Nicholas’ Day, in many regions. On this day, children receive small presents and sweets. One of the main decorations is the nativity crib. The French often have a butcher, baker, a policeman and a priest along with the traditional nativity figures. Children put their newly polished shoes in front of the chimney hoping that Pere Noel (Father Christmas) will fill them with sweets.
Italy is believed to be the place where the nativity scene display originated. Presents are handed out to children on Christmas Day. However, many Italians follow the age-old tradition of exchanging gifts on January 6, the day of Epiphany.
In Germany, all the shops close by the afternoon of December 24. The Christmas trees are normally decorated on Christmas Eve. Many cities have Christmas markets that are open from the beginning of the month.
Australia does not celebrate the “White Christmas”, which is sung in many songs. Being the the Southern Hemisphere, the country experiences summer in December. Many families go out on picnics, and often these picnics and barbecues are on the beach. However, houses have Christmas decorations, and sometimes, there is a competition among houses for the best display.
5. SOUTH AFRICA
Because of its position in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas falls in the summer vacation. Many families celebrate this day by going camping. Christmas trees are made of the traditional fir tree and children hang stocking for the presents.
6. The U.S.
The U.S. has many cultures coexisting. Due to this, people of different backgrounds celebrate Christmas according to their culture. Houses are decorated with elaborate displays in the front yard. A common custom is for children to leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve before going to bed.
Christmas is a small religious festival in India because of the relatively low number of Christians in the country. However, it is still celebrated with much fervour. There is a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, which is considered very important. People decorate their houses with twinkling lights, a lantern star and even Christmas trees, though perhaps not the traditional conifers.
In Mexico, the Christmas season is celebrated from December 12 to January 6. On Christmas Eve, children take part in processions that celebrate Joseph and Mary looking for a place to stay. These processions are called posadas. The posadas end with a party where a pinata (a decorated container which has gifts) is hung from the ceiling.
On Christmas Eve, children walk down the streets carolling. Often, following an old custom, they carry model boats decorated with nuts and painted golden. Christmas trees are very popular in the region. In some families, a shallow, wooden bowl is hung from the tree. This bowl has a sprig of basil with a wooden cross hanging from it. The mother of the house leaves water in it to keep the basil fresh. She sprinkles this holy water in the corners of the house to ward off evil spirits.
People in Argentina celebrate a warm Christmas. Houses are decorated with twinkling lights and wreaths. These decorations are done by December 8. Here, they use any tree as a Christmas tree as opposed to the traditional fir. The main Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve before the celebrations take place. The Christmas Mass is held on Christmas Day in the late afternoon. People of this country celebrate Christmas with fireworks and then open their presents.
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