Author Topic: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?  (Read 645 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nektarios_In_E.S.

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« on: December 24, 2013, 01:30:34 PM »
Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!!

I will quickly begin this thread (hopefully) by asking everyone how do you celebrate Christmas in your country and/or culture?

I realize that all cultures and countries throughout the world celebrate Christmas with some differences, some may be similar to others and some may be entirely different.  There are cases when you could be living in another country (i.e.; if you're an immigrant in another country) but you keep your traditions still (or you may adapt the ones from where you live in).

As far as I'm concerned, I live in Central America so most of us celebrate Christmas Eve.  Because most Central Americans are Roman Catholic -though protestantism is growing really fast- we start our "party" early in the afternoon or evening.  There is not fasting season for these cultures so ... people are eating all kinds of native foods.  One really popular food to eat is either chicken tamales or turkey/ chicken submarine type (huge) sandwiches stuffed with all kinds of veggies: carrots, cucumbers, watercress, cabbage, dipped in a tomato sauce. 

We normally celebrate most of Christmas Eve: the 24th and at midnight we open our presents -then the "real" party begins.  Firecrackers go ablaze all over and just fill the sky for a few hours.  Loud latin music will be heard all over: especially from our neighbors.  Actually, the firecrackers begin at about 10pm and they could go well into 2-3am.  It's quite the show.  We have rooftop access from my house and like going up at night and taking in "the show."

Now, as Orthodox Christians, we do keep the Pre-Nativity Fast and so we will be eating meat after midnight -though we are eating meat, we will be keeping it in light portions, considering the time that we're eating.  We're drinking wine with our meal so that should definitely help us digest :) .   Oh yes, we do not do the fireworks, not that we don't like them, we're all a bit "old" for them, I guess.  Watching them will be good enough.

Prior to opening our gifts, prior to our Christmas dinner, I will be reading homilies from different Patriarchs, Bishops and Priests from the Orthodox Christian world, Bible portions related to the birth of Our Lord, plus excerpts from some of the Nativity writings of St.John Chrysostom and St.Athanasios.

How do you celebrate Christmas in your country and/or culture?

Offline Arachne

  • Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
  • Section Moderator
  • Merarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,528
  • Hatred is learned behaviour.
  • Faith: Cradle Greek Orthodox. Cope.
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese, UK
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 04:02:02 PM »
In Greece, where I grew up, Christmas starts with Liturgy very early in the morning (actually, it's supposed to start before dawn). Festive meals depend on regional traditions, although the classic turkey is popular in the cities; in my part of the country they prefer a pork and leek casserole.

There is also a lot of visiting done, on the day itself and those following, as it is customary to receive visitors on one's name day, and this last week of the year holds several of the most popular names in the country. Traditionally, people don't expect presents on their name day (except for children), only sweet treats and/or bottles of wine or spirits.

The big parties are reserved for New Year's Eve. There are open-air celebrations in town squares, fireworks at midnight, and then partying until morning. The post-reveillon breakfasts offered by elite hotels like the Grande Bretagne are legendary. A common setup involves the family gathering at home until the year changes, and then the young people go off clubbing and the older people play cards until late.

In the morning a pomegranate is broken on the threshold, presents are exchanged, and later in the day the vasilopita (St Basil's pie) is cut; that's a special cake or sweet bread with a coin hidden inside. Whoever finds it gets an extra present, usually money.
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

Blog ~ Bookshelf ~ Jukebox

Offline Nektarios_In_E.S.

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 04:30:39 PM »
sounds like a very sweet way of celebrating :)

I particularly liked the pomegranate bit and the vasilopita. 

Do you normally eat the Turkey, Pork or Leek Casserole on the 24th or 25th? like for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

By the way, how "usual" is drinking wine with your food in Greece?

By the way, I've been teaching myself to read a little bit of Koine Greek for a deeper understanding of the New Testament. :)

Offline Arachne

  • Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
  • Section Moderator
  • Merarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,528
  • Hatred is learned behaviour.
  • Faith: Cradle Greek Orthodox. Cope.
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese, UK
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2013, 04:34:48 PM »
Do you normally eat the Turkey, Pork or Leek Casserole on the 24th or 25th? like for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Lunch on the 25th. Lunch is still the main meal of the day there.

By the way, how "usual" is drinking wine with your food in Greece?

Very, but usually with evening meals. Festive meals like Christmas are the exception. Still, nobody would think of having mimosas for breakfast (at least not at home) like we do here in the UK.
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

Blog ~ Bookshelf ~ Jukebox

Offline mike

  • A sexual pervert with limited English reading comprehension
  • Protostrator
  • ***************
  • Posts: 24,872
  • Polish Laser Jesus shooting down schismatics
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of Białystok and Gdańsk
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2013, 05:53:15 PM »
We put Christmas tree like 2-4 days before the feast.

So on Christmas Eve, around dusk we start Christmas Eve supper. Nothing is eaten prior to this that day. We usually go to my maternal grandmother's. It starts with kutsia, then other traditional meals follow (cabbage-mushroom pierogi, fried fish, carp in aspic, herrings, Greek style fish (apparently has no connection to Greece), borsch or mushroom soup etc.). There is dried fruit kompot to drink. Most hardcore people prepare oatmeal jelly. There is hay on the table underneath the cloth. There are presents and caroling after we get stuffed and we return home.

We grab a couple of hours to sleep, then go to church to 2.00. We are back around 6.00. After returning from church we have some breakfast (with meat and vodka this time) and we go to sleep for a following couple of hours again.

Then we visit my second grandparents. We arrive there around 11.30 (it takes around an hour to get there). Then we have a lunch. With meat and vodka and stuff. In that village there is a tradition that carolers visit houses on that time. So the meal is interrupted from time to time (the amount decreases from year to year) to listen to some kids more pleasantly sing a carol to get money. At least some of them carry a star so it means they put some effort in it. Then we return home. And we can have some normal sleep at last.

And it's all pretty much.

A year ago I took all carolers that visited my grandfather's:















« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 06:05:34 PM by Michał Kalina »
Hyperdox Herman, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - fb, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - tt

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who can watch the watchmen?
"No one is paying attention to your post reports"
Why do posters that claim to have me blocked keep sending me pms and responding to my posts? That makes no sense.

Offline Nektarios_In_E.S.

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2013, 07:34:27 PM »
Quote
In that village there is a tradition that carolers visit houses on that time. So the meal is interrupted from time to time (the amount decreases from year to year) to listen to some kids more pleasantly sing a carol to get money. At least some of them carry a star so it means they put some effort in it.

Very fascinating traditions!

I like the traditions of the Carolers.  Though the meal may be interrupted constantly, I'm sure it is still nice since you do not get carolers every day.  Love the photos!!! Wonderful job!!  Thank you!

Offline Arachne

  • Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
  • Section Moderator
  • Merarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,528
  • Hatred is learned behaviour.
  • Faith: Cradle Greek Orthodox. Cope.
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese, UK
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2013, 07:48:29 PM »
Greek carolers go out very early in the morning, instead. The objective is to be hoarse and weighed down with money by mid-morning. :D
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

Blog ~ Bookshelf ~ Jukebox

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,912
  • Excelsior
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2013, 09:26:13 PM »
In my house, we used to put up a creche under the tree every year. Now we don't.  :(
My only weakness is, well, never mind

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,456
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2013, 09:29:04 PM »
With lots of pork and wine and plum brandy. Caroling too.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.

Offline Maximum Bob

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,474
  • Personal Text? We can have personal text?
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2013, 01:57:48 AM »
Well, we're still working out how we are celebrating as Orthodox so most of this is from my Protestant upbringing in the middle of the United States.

As a child in the 4 weeks leading up  to Christmas we would celebrate at church by decorating, putting up a tree, and an advent wreath with 5 candles one for each week leading up and the fifth for Christmas day. Sundays in December the songs for the services would feature religiously based carols. Usually the Sunday before Christmas there would be a program with more Christmas music verses or spoken poems recited by the children with the youngest receiving quite a bit of help sometimes to the point that the line simply read by a teacher in the first row punctuated by pauses in which the child would not repeat what was said. Other times the younger child would plunge ahead on their own but screw up the line to a degree that it would cause great, if gentle amusement for the audience. Adults and older children would often do a play re-enacting the birth story of Jesus.

On the family front we would begin decorating sometime in early to mid December which would include wreaths, lights and always we would cut down a real tree. Sometime in December the church would have caroling for those who wished to go no expectation of getting anything until the end then usually there would be a party at the last house cider Christmas cookies etc. but not a meal.  We would celebrate with my fathers family: grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins etc. on Christmas Eve  usually with a large meal and then presents. On Christmas day we would sometimes go to the pre-sunrise service at church and then celebrate with my mothers family which generally consisted of just my grandmother, my grandfather having passed away before I was born and my mothers only sibling living usually some distance away. This time it would be present first and a light breakfast meal. My mother is Swedish so we always had Swedish Christmas rice. Lunch would be another large meal usually with turkey or ham or some such as was the case the night before.

When I had grown up and gotten married things changed some but not a lot. The biggest difference is that we got involved in more organizational Christmas parties. Works, clubs, gathering with friends etc. Also our family parties moved further apart as sibling got married and didn't live in the same areas we would schedule parties that could be a couple weeks apart between one side of the family and the other. Presents are generally confined to the kids and grandparents. usually, but not always we visit my wife's family, who live 6 hours away on Christmas and so celebrate our family Christmas the morning of the day before we leave to go down there fir a couple days. My parent's family Christmas is generally celebrated on a different day each year as decided by the siblings schedules. Decorating at home sometimes involves outdoor lights and inflatables sometimes not. at some point due to the financial situation we went with an artificial tree. Decorating begins more consistently now around the start of December. The last Protestant church we went to was less formal. So they still did the Christmas Program and Christmas carols but no advent wreath and no pre-sunrise service. In fact if Christmas day was on a Sunday there were years we would cancel the service altogether, if I remember correctly.

Now, of course, Christmas involves the Nativity fast, our sponsors gave us a box and book to do a Jesse tree. Were looking for ways to extend the celebration for the full 12 days of Christmas but we're really not solid yet. This is only our second truly Orthodox Christmas .
the first we were attending our Orthodox Church on Saturdays but hadn't left our Protestant church yet.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2013, 01:58:22 AM by Maximum Bob »
Psalm 37:23 The Lord guides a man safely in the way he should go.

Prov. 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,758
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2013, 01:27:19 PM »
In New Mexico, one great Spanish Catholic traditions is the celebration of Las Posadas. It is a reenactment of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary's search for inn in which Christ is to be born. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Posadas

Also, we eat special Christmas cookies called "biscochitos." You can learn about them here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/biscochitos-traditional-cookies/

In stead of traditional Christmas lights, those who adhere to New Mexican tradition will decorate the exterior of their homes with luminarias:


Finally, Christmas dinner will consist of tamales: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/real-homemade-tamales/

carne adovada: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/carne-adovada-2/

Posole: http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/deliciousmaindishes/r/Posole.htm

and a pot of Red Chile: http://www.focusnewmexico.com/chile/chile3.htm
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Alpo

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,291
  • Faith: Finnish Orthodox
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2013, 01:47:04 PM »
Christ is born, let's gain overweight! Ham, casseroles, gingerbread, smoked salmon, joulutorttu, bundt cake, beetroot salad, mushroom salad, chocolate...
« Last Edit: December 25, 2013, 01:50:20 PM by Alpo »
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,912
  • Excelsior
Re: How do you Celebrate Christmas in your country/culture?
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2013, 02:36:45 PM »
Christ is born, let's gain overweight! Ham, casseroles, gingerbread, smoked salmon, joulutorttu, bundt cake, beetroot salad, mushroom salad, chocolate...

The fast is over. Enjoy yourself!  :D
My only weakness is, well, never mind