Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas from around the world

             The Tribal Tribune Team went on a magical journey on the internet to discover how Christmas is celebrated around the world. We researched each continent to see how the rest of human kind differed in their celebrations. 

First off, we have Africa. Most of Africa celebrates Christmas like we do in America. However, Liberia celebrates the holiday in a slightly different way. Carols are sung, meals of rice and barbecue are eaten outside, and gifts are given. Time spent with the family is prioritized. “Old Man Beggar” is Liberia’s answer to Santa Claus. He is a Christmas mascot who dresses in raggedy clothes, has a pot belly, and begs for gifts while entertaining kids.

Christmas in Antarctica really depends on the nationality of the base and on the prevailing base, but all Antarctic bases will have a slap-up Christmas meal and a party of some type. Dinner will be as traditional as possible, though fresh vegetables and meat are not easy to come by and will be supplemented with dried, tinned or frozen varieties. The party in the evening tends to be the main event. If there is anyone on base who can sing or play an instrument (no matter how awful) will perform during the party. If anyone has any presents during the party is the time to open them. Although, presents tend not to be exchanged between base members since there’s not really anywhere to buy them from. Many base members will have presents from home that may have arrived months earlier and are saved until Christmas to be opened. The real celebration in Antarctica is Mid Winter around Mid Winters Day on June the 21st, the shortest and darkest day of the year. It often lasts a whole week with base personnel making gifts on an Antarctic theme from materials found on base.

Most of Asia only celebrates Christmas as a commercial/joyous experience during the holidays because of their wide variety of religious beliefs. Japan usually celebrates Christmas as almost a purely commercial event due to their wide religious belief in Buddhism and Shinto. China celebrates the Chinese New Year instead of Christmas, although they are very similar to each other. However, since its not an official holiday most workplaces and schools remain open. The Philippines do celebrate it, and create a "pah-role", which is a decorated bamboo stick with a star on the top to symbolize the guiding star of Bethlehem. It is celebrated more widely in South Korea because Christians make up about 30% of the population. Only a small amount of people in Thailand celebrate Christmas because of the lack of Christians, and the Vietnamese celebrate the Christmas spirit despite it's small population of Christians.

The origin and the name given to this celebration are different depending on the country. For example, for the French word Noël definitely comes from the Latin word natalis(birth). The masses of Christ, held by English evangelists in December, gave birth to the English word "Christmas". "The Holy Night" is translated in German as Weihnacht...Taking place in the last few days of December, this holiday is not celebrated in the same way in every country. There are many symbols attached to this holiday in Europe, and each country has kept its own identity and traditions, while enriching them with influences from various other sources. This diversity and richness prove the importance given by Europeans to the Christmas holiday. The evergreen Christmas tree, like ivy and holly, is the symbol of eternal life. This tradition is first mentioned in the 16th century, in Alsace; but as early as the 11th century, the houses seem to have been decorated with "greenery taken from trees". Very early on, the Christmas tree was covered with various decorations and candles to light it up when Christmas came. In Hungary for example, the tree is decorated with biscuits, sweets and chocolates, which can be eaten from December 24, making sure that the coloured wrappers are not removed, so as not to leave the tree bare. In the 18th century, the Christmas tree reached the whole of Germany, and then spread to many other countries. However, certain countries, such as Italy and Spain, were long reluctant to adopt this tradition. In Greece, the Christmas tree does not exist, but people grow a Christmas rose called Ellebore.

North America
In North America, people celebrate Christmas on December 25th with many various traditions and activities. Families start the Christmas spirit off by going to their local tree farms to find a tree to cut down followed by the decoration of the tree and even their houses, too! As the holiday gets closer, families go out into town on Black Friday and days following to buy presents and stocking stuffers for people they care about. Many children believe that Santa Claus makes their presents and fills their stockings each Christmas Eve. Children start off by making their Christmas list and sending it off to the North Pole weeks before Christmas. Then, on Christmas Eve families prepare and put out Santa's cookies and milk before they go to bed. Days before Christmas arrives groups of carolers go around and sing popular songs to neighbors and perform at parties or other Christmas events! Another tradition would be hanging a Mistletoe, which is a plant that grows on apples, oak and other broadleaf trees, over a doorway. It was once believed that kissing under the Mistletoe would lead to marriage, however, nowadays people participate in this activity for fun. Finally, nothing is better than being with your family and sharing a meal! In North America, many families gather Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to eat Turkey, duck, ham, and other roast meat along with other types of foods similar to typical Thanksgiving feasts and also many sweets such as cookies and candy. North America is filled with the activities and traditions that make Christmas a big deal since it is  celebrated with friends and family. 

  South America 
Wealthy families in South America hang socks over their fireplace and they paint artificial snow everywhere. They also use plastic trees that have to be replaced every seven years, or else it’s bad luck! In this continent Santa is known as “Papai/Papá Noel,” “San Nicolás,” “Viejito Pascuero,” and “el gordo de Navidad.” It’s not unusual for a family member to dress up as Papá Noel and give gifts to the children. In South America during Christmas, it is actually summer and many families spent Christmas out by their swimming pools. In Argentina, people eat lamb, pork, and lots of sweets. Pan dulce is the one thing that has to be eaten by the whole family. In Brazil, the traditional Italian sweet bread panetone is hugely popular.

--The Journalism Team

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