Christmas Traditions Around the World
Short description of the Christmas history along with customs and christmas songs from around the world. Christmas parties have relatively become more popular within the years. Nowadays Christmas Eve is celebrated with fireworks, christmas pinyatas, party games and christmas activities. From these changes many new customs and traditions have been born. Check them out right below!
The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ," later shortened to Christ-Mass.
The even shorter form - "Xmas"- was first used in Europe in the 1500s. It is derived from the Greek alphabet, in which X is the first letter of Christ's name in greek, that is, Xristos, therefore "X-Mass."
St. Francis of Assissi, a monk living in thirteenth Century Italy, is considered as the father of this tradition. St. Francis led songs of praise to the Christ Child. The word "carol" is thought to have originally denoted a dance accompanied by singing.
Christmas-caroling from door to door is not that common nowadays. Today it is more common to see people gather around a big Christmas tree placed at a city's or town's public place to sing Christmas carols.
Historians agree that this popular character really existed. "Father Christmas", as some call him, was in fact a bishop named Nicholas who lived in the territory of Turkey during the fourth century A.D . He was very wealthy and generous, and he loved to make children happy. Often, he would give gifts to the poorest children, sometimes by throwing them into their windows.
After Nicholas died, he was canonized as a saint. His feast day is December 6, a holiday in many countries. He is the patron saint of children and seafarers. In the Netherlands, the saint's name, Sinter Nikolass, became shortened to Sinter Klaas, which evolved into Santa Claus as Dutch people immigrated to the United States.
The figure of Santa Claus has inspired many Christmas stories and movies that have introduced popular details to Christmas traditions and characters. This is the case of the poem "The Night before Christmas", by American writer Clement Clark Moore. Moore created Santa's reindeer and later, illustrator Thomas Nast depicted a fat Santa in the red dress and hat that he wears today.
The legend behind the tradition of hanging and filling Christmas stockings
is part of the story of St. Nicholas. He threw bags of money through an open window to pay the dowry of three young women whose father could not afford to pay for their marriages.
hildren all over the world continue still hang Christmas stockings
from the fireplace hoping that Santa Claus will fill them with gifts. In some countries, Santa Claus leaves holiday presents
in children's shoes instead of stockings.
Christmas traditions vary from country to country. Below you will find some interesting details of Xmas parties around the world. People celebrate the Holidays in different ways according to their culture. However, some customs are practiced worldwide, such as giving gifts and decorating a tree.