It has officially been a few weeks since I have posted anything! So, here is another year almost come to a close. Can you believe it, Christmas is just around the corner! It is weird to think that 2012 is almost here. So what is your New Years Resolution? Mine, I am going to go to the gym more often and get back into shape!
So for this week’s blog I have decided that I am going to share with you a little about the different Christmas traditions around the world. I don’t think we have time for everywhere around the world, so I am going to choose about 2 or 3 different countries.
Our first country is China. For the small number of Christians in China, Christmas is called Sheng Dan Jieh, which means Holy Birth Festival. People decorate their home with poster, bright paper chains, and evergreens. They put up the “tree of light,” or the Christmas Tree, they decorate it with flower, lanterns, and red paper chains that symbolize happiness.
Many Chinese people enjoy the fun and color of the Christmas season. The bigger cities in China are gaily decorated and many shops sell plastic trees and Christmas decorations. Believe it or not, Santa Claus is a popular good-luck figure, he is also called Lan Khoong-Khoong, “Nice Old Father.” There are many fireworks, jugglers (Yay!) and Acrobats that entertain. Also at this time of year, the people of Hong Kong celebrate Ta Chiu, a festival of peace and renewal, by making offerings to saints and reading the names of everyone who live in the area.
On Christmas Eve, Christian children in China hang up their stockings that are specially mad so Christmas Old Men or “Dun Che Lao Ren,” can fill them with wonderful gifts.
Our next visit takes us to Ethiopia, which is the one of the oldest nations in Africa. Because Ethiopians still follow the ancient Julian calendar they celebrate Christmas on January 7. This is called Ganna.
On “Ganna Eve,” people fast all day. On Ganna at dawn, most Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. It is basically worn like a toga. Then they head to the early mass which starts at 4am.
The foods during the Ganna season include wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs as well. The wat is served on a injera, which is a flat sourdough bread.
Twelve day after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration call Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ. Ganna and Timkat are not occasions for giving gifts in Ethiopia. If a child receives any gift at all, it is usually a small gift of clothing. Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.
Most other countries celebrate the Christmas we know. With presents and lots of good food. If you would like to read a little bit more about different traditions around the world please visit http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/christmas-traditions-around-the-world-ga.htm. So there you have it! What is the best and/or worst Christmas present you ever received? I have always received really great Christmas presents so I can’t just pick one.
Casey S. Hibbert© – Guest Blogger