About the holiday Christmas
The whole world is preparing to meet the holiday Christmas – one of the best family holidays.
Nativity, also called Christmas is one of the largest festive events in the Christian world. In Bulgaria it continues the Christmas Eve, called in some regions of the country small Christmas.
Tradition dictates on December 24 before the festive meal, the host of the house lights the the cut piece of oak in the fireplace. Shaking he calls: “As many sparks in the fireplace so many chickens, lambs and babies into my house”.
The tree remains to smolder all night and keep the fire alive. It is believed that its light and warmth symbolizes not only the birth of Jesus Christ, but they are the cause of the festive meal on Christmas Eve to visit the dead ancestors and the first piece of the festive ritual bread is given in the name of the very Mother of God.
Traditionally the festive table should have 7, 9 or 12 meatless dishes – 7 because so are the days in the week; 9, because the pregnancy lasts so and 12 as there are months in the year.
At midnight on Christmas Eve starts the Bulgarian traditional custom – Koleduvane – practiced for ferrtility, health and good luck.
The young men – soon married, engaged or bachelors are involved in the custom. They are called Koledari.
They start their preparations early on December 20, when individual groups of Koledari are formed. They determine their leader, who must be older than others and married, learn Christmas songs, prepare clothing. Tradition dictates that the custom lasts from midnight to sunrise.
According to legends precisely at this time appear supernatural creatures like goblins and ghouls. It is believed that with their songs Koledari have the power to drive them out.
The custom suggests singing on the road in front of the door and into the house. The ritual songs performed are different depending on the place in which they are Koledari sing songs to each family member – from the oldest to the youngest.
The hosts usually give to them a piece of bread, money, wine, while the custom ends with a feast at which all groups of Koledari come together. Products that remain after it are donated to the poor and the money – to the community center, school and church.
More about the Bulgarian traditions you can read here.
And here’s how the world celebrates the holiday Christmas …
The name comes from Old English Christmas – Christes Maesse or Christs Mass – Mass of Christ. The name of Santa Claus comes from the Dutch name for St. Nicholas – Sint Nikolass, abbreviated to Sinterklass, which Americans quickly turned into Santa Klos.
In Greece, Christmas traditions are especially closely related to religion. The tree is arranged at 24.12 and it should be taken away 12 days later, just after Yordanovden or Fota, as Greeks call it. On Christmas Eve they eat lean – oshaf, strudel, beans. Almost the same is the custom – Koleduvane. In Greece, Christmas is a family holiday – all family comes together and goes to church, after that they lunch together – pork, roast turkey with cabbage and extremely delicious baklava with sesame, cinnamon and orange peel which is not lacking in any house. Gifts are exchanged on the New Year’s Eve. Ayios Vasilis is the favorite saint of Greek children. It is their Santa Claus.
In Italy, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. The holidays begins on December 24 and ends on January 6 – the day on which the three wise men, called Magi arrive in Bethlehem and served presents to the newborn Jesus.
On the holiday Christmas in Italis are served lenten meals and no meat. Italians prepare spaghetti with tomato sauce and tuna, as well as various fried things like cauliflower or smoked codfish. There are also desserts – two typical Italian cakes – panetone in the region around Milan and Pandora from the area around Verona.
Christmas Eve in Spain is called Nochebuena (Nochebuena) and is celebrated from the whole family on December 24. A typical dish of the evening is the turkey. Still, there are some typical sweets such as: polvoron, mazapan, turron (polvoron, masapan and Turonian). Turonat represents nuts in a mixture of honey, egg and sugar and is very tasty. Christmas in Spain is called Navidad (Navidad), and this day commemorates the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (Spanish Belen). Dinner is again in the family and like the previous night. Only in some municipalities in Spain on this day children expect their gifts from Santa Claus, which here is called Papa Noel.
In Portugal, Christmas Eve is the most important holiday, which brings the whole family together.
The table on Christmas Eve is traditionally served with dishes with codfish. Some prefer roast goose. At midnight the tradition is to open the presents. In many families, starting with the oldest, children receive presents.
On Christmas table is served “bolo rei” – translated king cake – a traditional cake with candied fruit. It contains a coin or whole nuts and one who finds it, should buy or bake royal cake for next Christmas.
December 24, many Danes attend church. That night in almost every Danish family is served crispy baked goose, homemade candied beetroot and potatoes.
There is a tradition to put a bowl of rice porridge to the barn. It is designed for the Scandinavian dwarf called Yule Nissen. There is an old tradition whereby the meal is placed to the dwarf to bribe it not to make mischief during the year. Typical herring that has literally swim in beer or vodka is served.
In the Netherlands celebrations of the holiday Christmas start in mid-November. Then in the port in Almere, near Amsterdam, decorated arrives the festive steamer with the white-haired old man “Sinterklaas” – the Dutch Santa Claus. He is accompanied by his assistant “Tsvarte Peter” – Peter Black. Port await children who receive sweets. Sinterklaas begins tour of the country, ending on 5 December.
Gifts are given of course only to good children. Since Sinterklaas and Black Peter come on horseback, children should put a bowl of water and carrots to strengthen them from the long journey.
Another typical Dutch tradition is the preparation of small cakes in the shape of letters. Each family member gets the first letter of his name. 25 and 26 December are celebrated in a cozy family atmosphere.
The Holiday Christmas in Russia is a reflection of deep-rooted Slavic traditions and customs. In the past, girls were climbing the stairs step by step, repeating “yes” or “no” to see if they meet chosen one of their heart. Another traditional symbol: the branches of the tree were covered up for days cage with white doves that were released on freedom on Christmas Eve, hoping to return with luck and happiness.
Austria is a country where was born the famous Christmas song “Holy Night” performed for the first time in the church “St. Nicholas” in Obendorf, near Salzburg in 1818. Today, this song is sung everywhere.
In this country, the holiday Christmas is necessarily linked with the construction of the manger where Christ was born. Especially picturesque is the tradition in Tyrol and Salzburg – an enormous pyramidal structure recreates the life of humanity to the birth of Christ.
On Christmas Eve Austrians prepare famous “strudel” with nuts and fruit, which will draw together friends and family, but will be given also to poor on the streets.
Austria is primarily known for its Christmas decorations of its stations – this way the Austrians wish a happy holiday to all passengers in the “holy night” absent from their homes.
Often Christmas there is celebrated on the beach at 40 degrees temperature.
In the Southern Hemisphere Christmas coincides with holidays and vacations and Australians love watch over the festive night in the garden by the light of candles and torches.