CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD by Mr. Sujoy Roy | Support Elders


Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way

Christmas (derived from Christ's mass) is a celebration of birth of Christ. In early Greek versions of the New Testament the letter X stands for the first letter of Christ. Hence Xmas. The date coincides with winter solstice (longest night and rebirth of sun from when day lengthens) and winter festivals. The Christmas tree is a relic of tree worship of ancient times. The evergreen plant in the festival stands for renewal of life. Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree in Windsor Castle. The Evergreen tree harks back to decorative symbol of eternal life used by ancient Egyptians.

Santa Claus or Saint Nikolaus (derived from Dutch "Sintaklass") is the gift giver. He drives sleigh barrels drawn by reindeer using nano technology of miniaturising millions of presents into one bag. Rudolph the reindeer has red glowing nose which acts as beacon light during night drive. His images from early times are dressed variously, and his head was bare. It was in the year 1920 artist Haddo Sunblom Working for Coca-Cola company recreated his image as warm happy character in rosy cheeks, a white beard, twinkling eyes and laughter lines. His grandfather style, fat and bishop dress in red robe and white border and collars caught on to public imagination.

In Australia Christmas is warm at 30 degrees Celsius. The Ozs surround themselves with Christmas bush, a native plant having little red flowers. The evening is lit by as many candles as singers under a clear night sky. At many beaches Santa arrives in a surfboat or even on a lifesaving boat.

The English gift giver is Father Christmas who leaves gifts in socks and pillow cases hanging out from the end of the bed. The gifts are not opened before the morning service, or morning mass is done. Christmas dinner includes goose (traditional) or turkey (American tradition). Christmas cake is usually prepared by the end of September and matured regularly by putting brandy.

In Spain the festival has a special dance called Jota. Shoes are filled with straw or barley for the tired camels who must carry the wise men through the night. By morning the shoes are filled with presents, and the camels are gone. The Spanish specially honour the cow, because, when Mary gave birth to Jesus a cow in the stable breathed on the baby to keep him warm.

Polish people on Christmas eve spread hay on their floor under their table cloth to remind themselves of a stable and manger. In Poland Christmas is called Boze Narodzenie. When they make up their table for dinner two extra places are kept for Baby Jesus and any lonely wanderer in case they should knock at the door for shelter. In Alaska boys and girls with lanterns and long poles carry a large figure of a star from door to door.

SANTA CLAUS VILLGE. About half a century ago Santa Claus started frequented the Arctic circle near village Rovaniemi in Finland. Here he found a tranquil place which also allowed him to meet his friends who love him and come to meet him in Christmas. This is Santa’s Scandinavian destination in the ultimate sense. Meet the forever Santa Clause in SANTA CLAUS POST OFFICE. Letters come pouring in addressed to Santa and are sorted in pigeon holes marked with names of countries from whence they come.

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By KallolG