It's That Intiruging Reminder That Every Culture is Different!
It's easy to forget how unique your customs and traditions are –to other people. As we gear up to celebrate the holidays, book those last minute flights to our loved ones, and relfect on what tha many holidays mean to us, we thought'd it be fun to explore some cultural differences of the "Holidays"
Australia – With the Australian Christmas in the middle of the summer holidays, many families spend their Christmas Day away from home, in a resort or on the beach. In Sydney it is traditional to go to Bondi Beach where you can find a large amount of people on Christmas Day. In 1937, because of the warm weather, Australians started an unusual tradition. This consists of a Christmas Eve carol service, which is held in Melbourne every year. Thousands of people gather in the city. They will sit on blankets, light numerous candles under the night sky and join together to sing Christmas Carols.
England – The festivities actually start around the beginning of November, when the city of London gathers to watch Big Ben "Switch On." Much like the United States, famalies put up christmas trees, but with a greater emphasis on family time and tradition. Christmas trees were actually popularized by Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria. He was German and thought it a great way to celebrate "Christmas" in the U.K. And though they celebrate Christams on the 25th of December, children write letters to the "Father of Christmas" not santa and anticipate his delivery of presents to their stocking or pillow case.
China – Maybe one percent of the total population in China celebrate Christmas! Being so, celebrations occurr in larger cities, where you'll find all the custom acutrements of the holiday: decorations, Christmas trees, toy filled grotto shops, etc. But becase such a small percentage actually celebrate the holiday, few know what it is. Interestingly enough, with most artificial tress being made in China, few probably know what they are even for! And Santa Claus is acutally referred to as, "Shen Dan Lao Ren." People give apples on Christmas Eve because in Chinese Christmas Eve is called "Ping'an Ye," meaning "peaceful," which has been translated from the carol 'Silent Night'. The word for apple in Mandarin is "píngguǒ" which sounds like the word for peace –maybe we should start giving apples out on Christams Eve?
Kenya – Christmas is a time when families and friends try to be one with eachother. Many travel back to the villages where the main part of their family might live or where they heritage lies. This is very important, because it's often the only time and entire family will be together for an entire year!
While home, families and friends decorate their homes with paper chains, flowers, and ribbon. The common Christmas tree is actually, a Cyprus tree! And you probably wont find prime rib but BBQ goat around the dinner table, which will served at the lunch hour. Christmas day actually coincides with another national holiday, "Boxing Day" –which is all about friends, sport, and celebration. The other socially accpeted norm for the holiday is to sleep.
Thanks for reading. Happy Travels and Holidays!
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