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Maya

Christmas around the world

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Here in Finland we celebrate Christmas with a Christmas tree. In may families they decorate the tree already a few days before 24th. In my family we have always decorated the tree earliest 23rd. We might have taken it in (a real one) on 23rd to melt, but decoration has been either 23rd or morning of 24th. Today many alike us are using a plastic tree. In my childhood we even had living lights on the tree. There was always the exciting moment when lighting up the candles that if the tree burns too... a couple of times we had a few flames on it, but not much... then we got the electric lights.... I am used to rull the glittery around the tree while my DH is used to have it strait down from top to lowest branches. We used to ahve a star on topp while he is used of a sound thing with a spire... Red or silver or goulden balls are set to the places. Lighting up the tre for first time is always a happenind that everyone should see.

In my childhood and as long as I was lutheran we had a christmas church... they ahve many of them in a day as everybody is going to the Church that day... well not that many anymore, but the Churches are full once a year. I remember the smell of candles and christmastree adn all teh lights in the Church and te christmas carrolls. It never gets to be such a feeling in LDS Church on Christmas, even though we do have sometimes even an extra service on 24th. This year we dont have an extra and having the extras is not that good around here as so many people have long way top the service. It is not nice in the middle of all repairing for evening.

12.00 am/pm? In Finland the Turku cathedral (lutheran) declares Christmas peace. It is a very old custom and after that there are "not allowed" to make noice and fight.

The food that day is a special treat that the family has made so everyone can eat .. too much good... In the childhood of my Dh they always got riceporage in the morning (with a mandel and who got that mandel got a marsipan (candy) pig). Then they ate lutefisk... uh specially made fish (NOT good!) Both of which my DH detests... so the Christmas of his childhood was not anything sopecial for him. I used to go to my Uncle where we got ham, potatoes, potatoes and carrot and turnip "boxes" (prepared in oven, smashed and good) rosoll(beetroot, carrots, salt cucamber, sil;salt fish with pink cream, which I like today), lutefisk, as desert fruit supe and l√łater plomblamashe.

Tomorrow we eat Turkey, a bit ribb, turnip and our cabage and potatoes and rice, brokoli, rousecabbages. For desert icecream; cokies and cream and browneys and vanilla... and cakes Oreocake, I also made bananabred, fruitcake and we have christmascokies.

Then after eating we wait a while and clean up then we read the gospel from Luke 2 and then we sing somthing (I dont think we do now but when kids were small we did a few christmas carrols and went around the christmas tree) Then comes the Fther Christams the one who lives in Finland! On ear mountain with all his good helpers with red hats and dresses.

Then we sleep long til 25th. In olden days and sit some peopel go to Christmas church 6 am or 7 am in lutheran Church... but my family never done that. So we sleep in all day read the new books we got and play the new games... watch TV and eat what is left from the day before.

This year I suppose my missionary calls me on 25th... I suppose they are allowed to call only on 25th. :) Cant wait to hear him... :)

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The Philippines is still mostly Roman Catholic today. A lot of the traditions, including Christmas, is centered around the Catholic liturgical calendar. Therefore, official Christmas celebrations start at the beginning of Advent Season - specifically Advent Sunday which is 4 Sundays before December 25.

Christmas season officially ends on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 or the closest Sunday of.

But, unofficially, most people start putting up Christmas decorations when the months end in "ber" - that's as early as September! Live trees are not the norm there as fir trees are not abundant in tropical places. White Christmas is an alien concept but some people would spray foam on their trees to make it seem snowy like the American greeting cards. Sometimes they put white cottony mats on the base of the tree.

The main decor usually is the Nativity scene. This is where all the "grandeur" is concentrated on. My parents have a ceramic Nativity scene where the figures are at least a foot tall. It has at least 20 figures in it too including sheep!

Outside, it is common to see lighted stars made out of capiz shells like this:

Posted Image

9 Days before Christmas day, the Catholic church starts daily "Misa de Gallo" which are masses held at 4AM. They usually have lots of activities - like kids dressed as angels singing carols, etc.

Christmas Eve is usually a family reunion and everybody goes to the church at midnight for the Christmas midnight mass. Then the fireworks start. Every single house has their "noise makers" and fireworks. It is supposed to be illegal to have fireworks at home but nobody ever pays attention to that law.

New Year's Eve fireworks is even bigger. We hold out our best fireworks for New Year's Eve. Christmas is just a "taste". The hospitals are full on New Year's day of all the people getting burned by fireworks. New Year's tradition is eating 12 different kinds of fruit. So, to make it easier, my mother makes fruit salad made out of 12 fruits.

When I was growing up, Christmas is such a big religious event that presents are almost an after thought. I did grow up with Santa Claus. The church is walking distance from my house, so on our way to midnight mass, my dad stays behind to put Santa's present under the tree before he walks to church. We open the presents when we get back from church which is around 1:30AM. We only get one present. So, it's only Santa's present - we don't get separate presents from mom and dad. My brothers and sister do not exchange presents either. When I was 14, I started making more money than my classes (I've been working since 12 years old to pay for programming classes). My chemistry teacher took me to her house one day to work on a project and I saw their Christmas tree with presents under it (she's rich). It was the first time I realized I can give presents to my parents too. So, I bought some small things for my parents and brothers and sister. That was the first time we had gifts which are not from Santa. We exchanged gifts from then on - little things - like my brother had a stamp collection - so I would go around my cousins' houses and raid their mail for unique stamps - especially international ones. Cost: Zero pesos.

I'm trying to keep that same religious flavor of Christmas in my house in Florida. It is more difficult with all the commercialization of Christmas all around. Even the Catholic Church is not as "festive".

I can't wait for Friday! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Edited by anatess

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Though I never got to see it, the Bavarian regions of Germany supposedly have fantastic Christmas Markets, overflowing with light, warmth, and food. My family and I visited a small one in Chicago set up by someone (I assume a German Community, but does Chicago have a significant German population?), and it was wonderful. I had a German sausage in a curry sauce that was like a fire in the belly, warming me up when it was 7 degrees outside. I would love to travel to Scandinavia (to live or simply visit) for Christmas. There is something about cold and snow that just says Christmas to me.

That was why we left Florida, Christmas with air conditioning seemed sinful.

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Thanks for sharing that, Anatess :]

A few weeks ago I had youtubed "Christmas in the Philippines" and it brought back a lot of great childhood memories. As far as a "white Christmas", I really enjoy living in UT and watching the snowfall outside but hate the actual snow itself. Then again, I've always loved heat..

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Ok, again I'm a bit late to the party, but I thought I'd share something that's kind of related. When I first went to Saudi Arabia, I never really knew much about the Middle East or Islam. But one thing I re-learned very quickly is that we always interprect things through the experience of our own culture as what I now share helps illustrate. Shortly after I arrived, our Ramadan vacation was approaching. Ramadan is much like Christmas and America's Thanksgiving combined. And that year, Ramadan, the month of which travels throughout the Hejra Calender, coincided with Christmas. The day I left to return home for our vacation, I traveled by bus from eastern Saudi Arabia to the international airport in Manama, Bahrain, where I was to catch my flight from Bahrain to London. As the bus traveled through Manama, I was amazed all the Christmas lights strung along the rooftops of many buildings--Christmas lights such as you see in the US, with colors of red, orange, blue, yellow, etc. I was absolutely amazed that they decorate for Christmas just as we did where I was from. About three hours into my flight to London it finally hit me that they couldn't have been decorating for Christmas given Bahrain is a Muslim country. That was simply my first experience with Ramadan, and I spent most of it out of the ME so I never really learned what they did. But I did realize that that those lights I'd seen were not Christmas lights. Only later, when I became more familiar with Ramadan, did I learn that many Muslims do string Ramadan lights. On top of that, some Muslims actually have a Ramadan tree. Moreover, at the end of Ramadan is Eid when all Muslims break their month-long fast and celebrate with their families, friends and neighbors. And just like our Christmas, Eid is a time of gift-giving as well.

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The Philippines is still mostly Roman Catholic today. A lot of the traditions, including Christmas, is centered around the Catholic liturgical calendar. Therefore, official Christmas celebrations start at the beginning of Advent Season - specifically Advent Sunday which is 4 Sundays before December 25.

Christmas season officially ends on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 or the closest Sunday of.

But, unofficially, most people start putting up Christmas decorations when the months end in "ber" - that's as early as September! Live trees are not the norm there as fir trees are not abundant in tropical places. White Christmas is an alien concept but some people would spray foam on their trees to make it seem snowy like the American greeting cards. Sometimes they put white cottony mats on the base of the tree.

The main decor usually is the Nativity scene. This is where all the "grandeur" is concentrated on. My parents have a ceramic Nativity scene where the figures are at least a foot tall. It has at least 20 figures in it too including sheep!

Outside, it is common to see lighted stars made out of capiz shells like this:

Posted Image

9 Days before Christmas day, the Catholic church starts daily "Misa de Gallo" which are masses held at 4AM. They usually have lots of activities - like kids dressed as angels singing carols, etc.

Christmas Eve is usually a family reunion and everybody goes to the church at midnight for the Christmas midnight mass. Then the fireworks start. Every single house has their "noise makers" and fireworks. It is supposed to be illegal to have fireworks at home but nobody ever pays attention to that law.

New Year's Eve fireworks is even bigger. We hold out our best fireworks for New Year's Eve. Christmas is just a "taste". The hospitals are full on New Year's day of all the people getting burned by fireworks. New Year's tradition is eating 12 different kinds of fruit. So, to make it easier, my mother makes fruit salad made out of 12 fruits.

When I was growing up, Christmas is such a big religious event that presents are almost an after thought. I did grow up with Santa Claus. The church is walking distance from my house, so on our way to midnight mass, my dad stays behind to put Santa's present under the tree before he walks to church. We open the presents when we get back from church which is around 1:30AM. We only get one present. So, it's only Santa's present - we don't get separate presents from mom and dad. My brothers and sister do not exchange presents either. When I was 14, I started making more money than my classes (I've been working since 12 years old to pay for programming classes). My chemistry teacher took me to her house one day to work on a project and I saw their Christmas tree with presents under it (she's rich). It was the first time I realized I can give presents to my parents too. So, I bought some small things for my parents and brothers and sister. That was the first time we had gifts which are not from Santa. We exchanged gifts from then on - little things - like my brother had a stamp collection - so I would go around my cousins' houses and raid their mail for unique stamps - especially international ones. Cost: Zero pesos.

I'm trying to keep that same religious flavor of Christmas in my house in Florida. It is more difficult with all the commercialization of Christmas all around. Even the Catholic Church is not as "festive".

I can't wait for Friday! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Midnight was insane. I was in the Quezon City Mission from 06 to 08, but since I spent the first Christmas in the MTC (Thanksgiving, Christmas, AND New Years!), I was only able to experience Filipino Christmas once. Sayang!

The other holidays I particularly remember were New Years, Holy Week, and All Saints Day (on my first All Saints Day I lived next to the Paraiso Cemetary in Montalban, so that was especially memorable). Not to mention all the random Fiestas. I miss the Philippines... It'd be nice going back as a non-missionary, since I wouldn't be constantly stressed!

Edited by mtman318
Correcting word choice

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