Tuesday, December 18, 2007

holiday traditions...part deux

Here's some Holiday traditions that you just might want to start in your own home...

Germany: The Christmas Pickle
The last ornament that is put on the tree is a glass pickle, which is hidden in the branches. On Christmas morning, the first child who finds the pickle ornament receives an extra present.

Lithuania: Sing For Your Supper In order to receive their gifts, children must perform a song or dance.

United Kingdom? Crackers Crackers are short cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful paper. They are typically set next to each plate on the Christmas dinner table. When the crackers are pulled - with a bang! - a toy or gift and a festive joke fall out! christmas celebrators with their cracker hats

Denmark: "Cut and Paste Day"
Family and friends gather together for an afternoon of cutting and pasting to create tree ornaments. Everyone brings scissors, glue, colored paper, and a variety of materials. Hearts are a favorite for they symbolize love and family warmth.

Spain: Luminarios These festive lights are made by partly filling paper bags with sand and inserting a candle in each bag. The luminarios are placed along walkways and garden walls to guide the Christ child to each home.

Poland: The Star! On Christmas night, everyone watches the sky hoping to see the first star and shout, "The star!' When the star appears, everyone exchanges good wishes and the holiday feast can begin.

Phillipines: Gift raffle. Children choose numbers hanging from the Christmas tree and then find the corresponding package under the tree to open. This is cool...especially for a large family.

Netherlands: Hide and Seek In addition to the gifts received from St. Nicholas, the children play a game of hide and seek. The children will look in the cupboards and cubbyholes of the house for special gifts and they are rarely disappointed.

Ireland: Story Time
On Christmas night, the oldest member of the family gathers everyone around and tells them stories. The Night Before Christmas is a good one to start with...

Finland: Joulusauna The Christmas sauna is a popular tradition in Finland that is over 2000 years old. They typically sit in hot steam for 15-30 minutes during the late afternoon before dinner. This probably warms up those frozen toes and fingers...hot bath anyone?

Italy: Panettone is a typical bread of Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year around Italy. Italians bought more than 68 million pannetoni to eat or share last Christmas… This sweet bread with bits of fruit (we are not talking fruit cake) is delicious toasted and lovely with tea. yum...


Anonymous said...

What incredible traditions. My tradition is the quality time gathered watching holiday movies with my family. I just got the Limited Edition Christmas Classics DVD set that features "Frosty the Snowman", "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "Santa Clause is Coming to Town", and many more. It also came with a holiday cd that my family really enjoys. I work with the company so I know firsthand how important these classic films are to families. You can get the set anywhere they sell DVDs or at http://www.christmasclassics.tv. Family and togetherness is what the holidays are meant to remind us of, love is the most important thing in the world!

sf said...

Sheesh - guess we should've put all this in you know what!!!
Course, how many pages would that make it?
One of our best traditions we started after I read the book, Little, Big, by John Crowley. Allour kids were still at home then, and we have continued it to this day, and frequently are joined by friends and neighbors who want to be part of the
tradition. It goes like this:
On the night of Christmas eve (after sledding, movies, dance party and cocktail hour, we light the ONE fire of the year in the fireplace (after moving over all those stocking that are hung by the chimney with care). Then everyone gets a fresh piece of paper and pen, pencil, or crayon. We write letters to Santa. But they don't have to follow the formula (Hey Santa, How are you, how's Rudolph, hope you're good, I was good, here's what I want). They CAN follow that formula, but among some of us who are older the wishes have changed, evolved and often are letters are more like discussions of the past year, how it was for us, what we imagine for the future, or dream of; it's different for us each of course. We wait until everyone has finished (they ARE private letters and you can't hurry them along!!!) and when everyone has, we each throw them into the fire, where the smoke carries them directly to Santa. He sometimes answers us specifically, sometimes
we aren't sure what he's thinking come the next day, and year, but that's our tradition and (to quote Dana Carvey as a crotchety old man "We like it!!! We love it."

Tiglizzyclone said...

Thank you for taking the time to post all the information about traditions from around the world. My tradition is to handmake three or four new Christmas tree ornaments a year. I find it funny, didn’t even know those hats were called cracker hats until two days ago. My daughter came home with one after she went to a dinner with her co-workers. She said one of the ladies at the lunch was English and brought cracker packages for everyone. She was telling me how all of about 35 people wore the hats except one girl who said it would mess up her hair. It is so nice you do not find it beyond your dignity to wear a cracker hat. Whether you are wearing a tiara or a cracker hat you still you look wonderful!

Vivian Love said...

Thanks for sharing the traditions. At the Nixon Libary in Yorba Linda (near my home) they have Christmas trees representing different countries. You should go check it out sometime during the holidays. It's awesome. And they have a tree representing Germany with a "pickle" ornament hidden in it too! I enjoy your blog & art!

Lynn said...

While I was shopping today a display of Panettone bread caught my eye. I had never heard of this bread before until I read about it here. It has been interesting to learn about Christmas traditions from around the world. The tradition we have in our family at Christmas time is my Grandmother's custard. Grandmother made hers homemade and I buy mine from the grocery store but at least I'm trying to continue the tradition and maybe someday I'll get around to making it homemade. My Dad told me years ago that his family used to put their presents in the tree branches and when he was a kid after all the presents were opened he would look in the tree to see if he could find one more. So now I always hide a present in the tree for him to find after all the presents have been opened.