Vacations with Christmas Traditions
Christmas is a time for joy for everybody (parents, grandparents, and children), an occasion for families to get together. Though its religious meaning is diminishing day by day, Christmas is still a magic moment for giving and receiving presents, for decorating the home, for feeling good together with your loved ones.
Its religious symbols are less and less known, being slowly replaced by a festive dinner celebrating the birth of Christ which, reason for the larger family to get together to enjoy traditional dishes.
Only once in a while, taken over by the special atmosphere of vacation do we remember the real meaning of this holiday. This does not only happen to us here in Romania, it has become ubiquitous in our world. So we should not be judged for this and neither should be others. The world evolves and traditions change their meanings and values.
Christmas here comes a lot earlier than in any other country, on the 6th of December, and the one who brings the presents is called St. Nick.
Father Christmas is not so present although children receive gifts on the 25th of December as well.
The most important gifts that children yearn for are brought by St. Nicholas. Traditions respecting families organize a Christmas dinner on the 5th of December.
Finland is, according to its inhabitants and to the opinions of millions of children around the world who send letters to Santa Clause, the country where this figure lives. The Finnish people say he lives in the North of the country, in the area called Korvatunturi.
Christmas traditions of the Finns are quite different from those of other people.
By tradition, Christmas cleaning of homes lasts for a week and the holiday is tree days long: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. In the morning of Christmas Eve the whole family eats rice pudding and drinks prune juice after which they decorate both the house and the tree.
In the evening the family (without friends) has the festive dinner. Then Santa Clause accompanied by elves visits the children and brings gifts. Boxing Day is on the 26th of December.
Present in other countries as well, this day is dedicated to needy people who receive money, clothing and food as Christmas gift. It is a tradition inherited from the English Colonies where the wealthier put clothes and various other objects in boxes that later are given to the poor ones. Presently, on Boxing Day the whole family visits the elderly relatives, especially the grandparents.
On Christmas Eve children can’t wait for the first star to come up on the evening sky because this is the harbinger of the Christmas dinner.
On the table there is always an extra plate for just in case someone unexpected should pop in. The holidays start on the 24th of December and ends on the 6th of January. On Christmas day children dress up in magi, devils, angels, shepherds and go from door to door and get money and cookies.
German people adore to decorate the both the inside and the outside of their homes for Christmas. LED lights are placed around the windows and colorful Christmas stickers are, especially ones with religious themes, are placed on the glasses of windows.
Mostly every house features an Adventskranz, a metal stand with four candles. “Advent” means “upcoming” and this stand symbolizes the four weeks before Christmas. Every Sunday one more candle is lit.