From Cambodia to Czechoslovakia, Christmas celebrations have worldwide connotations with fantastic cheer, good luck, and hope for the new year to come. Our Christmas trees, presents, caroling and myths about Santa Claus’ magical delivery sleigh, are mainstays of an amazing holiday time that turns us all into children just once a year.
Legends and folklore about the holiday make for some incredibly colorful, playful changes to the world around us at Christmastime. In Germany, celebrations begin on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. According to legend, rivers turn to wine and mountains reveal precious gems. While the world does not transform for us, something we can thank Germany for is the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree was originally meant to be a surprise for the children, was not laden with ornaments but apples, candy, cars, angels, and candles.
Why do we eat so much over the holidays? Outside of the obvious winter necessity, this is something we can also thank the Germans for. Tradition states that those who do not eat fully on Christmas Eve will spend the night being haunted by demons!
Christmas carols have far-reaching roots. Good King Wenceslaus is a traditional Christmas tune, but what does it mean? According to legend, English troops fighting in Czechoslovakia, or Bohemia as it was known in the good old 10th Century, brought the carol back to England.
Exchanging gifts is a big tradition that spans the globe – the Japanese have greeted the Christmas spirit with open arms. Even the depiction of Baby Jesus in a manger has been adopted as a fascinating aspect of the holiday as babies in Japan never sleep in cradles.
Venezuela has one of the most exciting holiday practices of all – in Caracas, they close the streets to cars early in the morning, and following that, roller skate to a church service. On Christmas eve, children tie strings to their big toes and hang the opposite end out the window. As roller skaters go by, they tug on the strings they see hanging!
The truth is, Christmas traditions come from all over the world. These are just a few countries of the hundreds that enjoy this beautiful time of year. Christmas brings us together. Enjoy the spirit of the year!