25-12-2017 07:00 AM
Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Christmas is celebrated around the world with oodles of festive fun
It is that time of the year when the whole world becomes joyful and merry with celebrations abound on Christmas. Different interesting rituals and traditions are followed in different countries on a couple of days during this festive season that is guaranteed to be special and sometimes, funny.
Every year in the Philippines, the Giant Lantern Festival is held each year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando – the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.” Spectators from around the country, as well as the world, arrive here to witness this colorful and vibrant festival that involves the display of giant lanterns illuminated by electric bulbs that sparkle in a kaleidoscope of patterns.
Did you know that St. Nicholas had an evil accomplice called Krampus! According to Austrian tradition, St. Nicholas rewards nice little boys and girls, while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack. So in the first week of December, young men in Austria dress up as the Krampus (especially on the eve of St. Nicholas Day) frightening children with clattering chains and bells.
In Iceland, 13 Icelandic Yule Lads – troll-like characters run amok this time of year in one of the more fun and mischievous Christmas traditions. In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, children place their best shoes by the window and the Yule Lads while visiting the children across the country, leave gifts for nice girls and boys and rotting potatoes for the naughty ones!
In a flight from the tradition where houses are cleaned spic and span before festivals, people hide their brooms in Norway on Christmas Eve. The tradition dates back to centuries when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. So even today, people in Norway hide their brooms in the safest place in the house so that they are not stolen.
Its normal to head to the church on Christmas Eve, but in Venezuela, the city residents follow a unique tradition of going to church on roller skates for reasons known only to them. This skating tradition is so popular that roads across the city are closed to cars so that people can skate to church in safety, before heading home for the less-than-traditional Christmas dinner of ‘tamales’ (a wrap made out of cornmeal dough and stuffed with meat, then steamed).
People in Japan head to KFC for dinner on Christmas! This new, quirky “tradition” has emerged in recent years, maybe due to some excellent advertising campaigns. Before Christmas, the festive menu is advertised on the KFC Japan website and, even if you don’t understand Japanese, the pictures sure will look delicious with everything from a Christmas-themed standard bucket to a premium roast-bird feast.
The Christmas season begins in Colombia with the Little Candles’ Day (Día de las Velitas) wherein people place candles and paper lanterns in their windows, balconies and front yards in honor of the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception. Entire towns and cities across the country are lit up with elaborate displays and neighborhoods compete to see who can create the most impressive arrangement.
No matter how Christmas is celebrated in different countries across the world, the feelings of love, the spirit of giving and sharing, impressive decorations, feasts, gifts will always prevail to spread joy and merriment. Merry Christmas !!