Got Facebook or Twitter?Connect your FanBox to Facebook or Twitter & keep
your friends updated with all your activity on FanBox.
It's free and takes less than 10 seconds!
About this Author
Christmas is called Noel in France, which is why "Joyeux Noel" is the season's greeting in French. The word "noel" may come from "les bonnes nouvelles", meaning "the good news" (gospel is Greek for "good news"). (The "First Noel" was the proclamation of the news of Christ's birth.) In France children put their shoes in front of the fireplace so Pere Noel (Father Christmas) can fill them with gifts. Adults exchange gifts on New Year's Day.
In Spain Navidad (Christmas) is a season that lasts nearly a month, beginning December 8th with the feast of the Immaculate Conception (the Virgin Mary is the patron saint of Spain) and ending January 6 with Epiphany. The season emphasizes religious rather than the secular traditions celebrated so much elsewhere. Much time is spent in church. Most homes have mangers. Festive aspects include special dances, bonfires and a Christmas dinner (featuring seafood). On Epiphany Eve children fill their shoes with grass, straw or grain for the camels of the Wise Men and place them on the doorstep. On the morning of Epiphany (Three Kings Day) the children find the gifts left by the Wise Men. The Wise Men play a role similar to Santa Claus — they visit hospitals, appear in parades and children write them letters requesting special gifts. The Christmas lottery in Spain is the largest in the world. The winning numbers are sung by orphan schoolchildren on December 22. Another lottery, the Christ Child, is drawn on January 7th.
In Sweden the Christmas season begins with St. Lucia's Day on December 13. "Lucia" is Latin for "light", and the "festival of lights" probably has its roots in pagan solstice celebrations. Homes commonly have four-candle Advent candelabras, one candle being lit on each Sunday after Advent. Saint Lucia is said to be a third century Roman Christian woman who refused to marry a pagan nobleman. The nobleman reported her adherence to the illegal Christian faith to the authorities, who killed her in prison as a result of her intransigence. Swedish girls dress in bridal white to honor Saint Lucia. St. Lucy's Day is also observed in Finland & Italy (especially in Sicily).
Italy, like Spain, emphasizes Nativity scenes and religious aspects of the season in its Christmas observances. People fast and pray prior to Christmas dinner. Epiphany is similarly the day for gifts, but the gifts are left by an elderly woman (La Befana) who had intended to help the wise men find the young Jesus — but had been busy cleaning. Children write letters to La Befana requesting toys. Dressed in black she flies on the broom she had been using for sweeping and slides down the chimney on Epiphany Eve to fill the good children's stockings with gifts and to leave a lump of coal in the stockings of bad children. A large Christmas tree is ceremoniously presented at the Vatican by the Pope, much the way the National Christmas tree presented by the American President. The Pope blesses crowds in Vatican square at noon on Christmas Day.
In Russia Babouschka is the name of the elderly woman who failed to provide food & shelter to the Wise Men. She wanders searching for the Christ child, leaving gifts for children. Christmas dinner is a meatless meal eaten on January 6th (Christmas by the Julian calendar) following a period of fasting. In Ukraine the meatless Christmas dinner is served in twelve courses to honor the 12 apostles.
In Greece, the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th is a celebration of the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. Boats are decorated with blue and white lights (colors of the Greek flag) and become places to have parties.St.Basil is the Greek "Santa Claus" (not St. Nicholas), and St. Basil's Day (January 1st) is the time for gift-giving. The main symbol of Christmas in Greek homes is a wooden bowl full of water that nurtures basil wrapped around a cross. The Christmas season ends on Epiphany (January 6th) celebrating the arrival of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem.In Egypt Christians belonging to the Orthodox Coptic Church constitute about 7% of the population. Religious holidays are determined by the Coptic calendar, which puts Christmas at January 7th. Christmas is preceded by a 43-day Advent fasting period which prohibits eating between midnight and 3pm, and in which meals are vegetarian or fish. Advent ends at Midnight Mass at Christmas. A basilica is
Contents of this blog
Earn by linking to this post. (How?)
You are now following this blog.
Adult content and certain language are not permitted in premium blog posts.
Why? In order to fulfill our objective of helping you earn money, we have to abide by mobile carrier regulations.
In order to publish this post, please remove all offensive language and adult references, by modifying any yellow highlighted text. We apologize if our automated system flagged something it really shouldn’t have.