Christmas day is the joyous time of the year and the most festive Christian holiday spent in almost all countries all over the world. It is the season of merrymaking and sharing happiness with our loved ones. It is certainly the most popular in terms of social and cultural importance. It is a public holiday in many nations. Government offices, academic institutions, and businesses are closed.
For ESL learners it’s time to set the books aside and enjoy the season. Also, it is an opportunity to use the English words you’ve learned for the Christmas season. The feast day starts with the Christmas dinner on the 24th of December. This lasts up to early morning on the 25th for the fun part, which is the opening of gifts and the expression of joy in the faces of the family members.
In the USA the holiday starts in November right after Halloween and Thanksgiving days. Christmas songs are aired on the radio. Weeks before Christmas day the Christmas tree is taken out of the closet and adorned with ornaments. Excitement builds up, the house is garlanded with different decorations giving it a festive atmosphere. The Christmas list is drawn up and the dinner is planned way ahead. Kids are in their best behaviour hoping for Santa Claus’s favouring them with their Christmas wish.
Buildings are decked with attractive lights and ornaments. Giant Christmas trees are set-up in strategic spots within the city. Christmas bargains are advertised in department stores. As you walk along the streets, there are snowmen and kids engaging in a snowball fight.
What a wonderful day of the year!
Various countries rejoice Christmas differently, let’s take a peek on how they celebrate this special occasion.
“Feliz Navidad” from Spain.
People attend the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve or “La Misa del Gallo.” Before attending the service most families eat their Christmas meal which is turkey stuffed with truffles, baked fish, platter of Spanish cured meats, pork sirloin with sweet potato puree, desserts composed of cakes, nougats and churos, and lots of wine.
After the mass, individuals stroll around carrying torches, thumping on tambourines, strumming the guitars, and beating drums. This is a night is spent for celebration and not for resting.
Christmas is celebrated differently in other parts of Spain, some have parades and floats.
Children receive presents on Christmas day but most are opened on January 6. This is Epiphany which commemorates the giving of gifts by the Wise Men or Kings.
“Sheng Dan Kuai Le” from China.
Only about one percent of the population are Christians, only a few celebrate this occasion by attending Midnight Mass. Christmas is celebrated only in big cities where there are Christmas trees that are decorated with light and ornaments in shopping malls.
On Christmas Eve people give apples wrapped in colored paper. Some go carolling even if they don’t know about the Christmas Story.
“Maligayang Pasko” from the Philippines.
A Christian country with more than 100 million people, Christmas starts with the “ber” months from September to December. Christmas songs are played on the radio on the first day of September. Some companies dole out early Christmas bonus so that their employees can avail of the sale offers by department stores.
People flock to the church to attend “Misa del Gallo” or Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Afterwards, they go home to partake of the sumptuous feast that awaits them. It is tradition to visit relatives and friends on the 25th were gifts and money are given to children.