The Whole World Celebrates!

It’s that most wonderful time of the year! Are you counting down the days? I am! This post is all about the fascinating ways different people from countries all around the world celebrate the season. I know most of you study ‘Christmas Around the World’ every year, so I tried to find some unique customs you might not know about. See if you can match up the clue with its country of origin. Then, click on the map to see if you’re right! (Bet you can’t guess which one goes with the good ole’ USA!)

Please note, countries are not to scale. If they were, which country would be the largest? the smallest?

Now here are some customs from each nation listed above. Match up the country with its Christmas tradition. Click on the country’s map to see if you’re correct!

  • In this country, people greet each other by saying, “Nollag Shoma!” Children attach pillow cases to the end of their beds to hold all their Christmas toys.
  • Christmas cake made from sponge cake, strawberries, and whipped cream is a holiday favorite in this country. Also, the preferred meal on Christmas Day? Kentucky Fried Chicken!
  • The favorite food for this nation’s holiday feast is ‘il capitone’, a fancy name for eel! Bubba Natali brings Christmas gifts to good children.
  • It’s traditional in this country to hide an ornament shaped like a pickle on the Christmas tree. In one part of this country, people parade an ox through the streets. The ox is decorated with holly and ribbons.
  • People in this country make dolls called ‘prune people’ from prunes, figs, and walnuts. They’re supposed to bring good luck. Children leave their shoes outside, hoping that St. Nicholas will fill them with candy.
  • Christmas is celebrated on January 7 in this country. Great Frosty visits, and children listen to the legend of Babushka.
  • Beginning December 12 each year, the Jolasveinars (Christmas Boys) cause all kinds of trouble in this island nation. They snatch candles, slam doors, and get into mischief.
  • Most of this nation’s population is Buddhist, so Christmas is not a public holiday here. Children still go to school on December 25, but they might be treated to a classroom party featuring a visit from Santa.
  • Since this nation is south of the equator, December 25 falls during its summer. Santa travels from town to town on a fire engine. A traditional Christmas food in this nation is pavlova.
  • The traditional Christmas meal, called ‘wigilia’ is eaten after the entire family sees the first star in the evening. They have named the star, ‘Gwiazda’. The family members all eat an ‘oplatek’, a special kind of wafer. According to legend, an angel or Gwiazda leave presents for children beneath the Christmas tree.
  • Most of the people in this country are Buddhist, but they like to make beautiful paper lanterns to decorate their homes. Santa Claus goes by the name of Chen-dan-lao-ren in this populous nation.
  • In this nation, you can expect to see an advent wreath in every home. They celebrate St. Lucia Day. They believe St. Lucia had a halo, or she actually glowed!

Merry Christmas to all!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip around the world. Look back at the nations you studied today. What continents were not included in our travels?

If you have time, there are lots of fun activities on this web page produced by a school in Kent, United Kingdom. Check it out! (Click on the picture below!)

Read something terrific over Christmas break, and make sure you finish your story from last week so you can get it entered in the contest.

This is my last post for the year 2012! Have a very Merry Christmas, and I’ll be back in January, 2013!

In the comment box below, please tell me about your favorite holiday tradition. How does your family celebrate the holidays?