All About Christmas Around The World

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We have many Christmas traditions here in the UK but all over the world Christians celebrate Christmas in different ways.

In France…

Christmas starts on 6th December, which is St Nicholas's Day. On 24th December children put their shoes by the chimney and wait for Pere Noel (Father Christmas) to fill up their shoes with sweets. People exchange presents on Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day.

In Italy…

A nativity scene called a presepe is laid out in churches, town squares and many houses. Father Christmas is called Babbo Natale but presents are brought by an old witch called La Befana. She visits children on 6th January, the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. If they have been good she brings presents, but if they have been naughty she puts a lump of coal in their stockings.

In Germany…

Christmas fairs are set up in every town and city. Houses are decorated with lights and Christmas trees are put up on 24th December, when shops close early and Christmas begins.

In Norway…

Father Christmas is called Julenisse and he brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. Christmas is called Jul.

In Iceland…

Christmas starts on 24th December. Children put their shoes on the window sill and wait for Juletide Lads (Father Christmas) to arrive and fill their shoes with little presents. No snow at Christmas is called a rauð jól, a 'red Christmas', and everyone is very disappointed.

In the Ukraine…

Saint Nicholas is called Svyatyi Mykolai and he brings presents to children. Sviata Vecherya or "Holy Supper" is celebrated on 24th December. Christmas trees are often decorated with gold and silver spiders' webs. This comes from the story of a poor widow who had no money to buy food for her children or decorate her home for Christmas. As she slept on Christmas Eve, spiders spun webs of gold and silver on the tree which was both a beautiful decoration and the means of feeding her children.

In the Phillipines…

Christmas lanterns called paról are made at home or sold in markets. The lanterns are star-shaped, to remember the star of Bethlehem.

In Ghana…

People start putting up their Christmas decorations on 1st December. On Christmas Day there is a family meal, followed by a church service for the whole community and a holiday parade.

In Ethiopia…

Christmas is called Ganna and it begins with a day of fasting and going to church, and then a feast. Normally people don't exchange presents. In Ethiopia they use as a different calendar called the Julian calendar. This was the old calendar, which has been replaced in most parts of the world by the new Gregorian calendar. So in Ethiopia dates are different and Christmas is celebrated on 7th January.

In Australia…

It is often very hot at Christmas and many people head to the beach for a picnic.

In Brazil…

There are often nativity scenes in front of the churches called presepio. Father Christmas is called Papai Noel and Christmas trees are very popular.

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