Christmas is a time of giving, helping your fellow man and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Do you know how other countries celebrate Christmas? Do you know there customs? In this article I will tell you how Australia, New Zealand and Japan celebrate. But first let’s talk about America.
In America almost every nation on Earth has moved into the U.S. Every ethnic group has a place in our society and Christmas is celebrated in many different ways in America. But I will concentrate on the traditional American celebration.
America has a very diverse climate which sets the stage for various kinds of celebrations.
But these celebrations are traditionally about the birth of Christ with a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings and loved ones all around. It may be a picnic on the beach in Florida or Hawaii to candles in a window and a fireplace burning with stockings hanging for Santa to fill in the colder places such as Alaska or even Ohio.
Gifts come from Santa Claus and are placed under a Christmas tree (pine) by Santa on Christmas Eve. In New York City people stop to watch skaters on the ice at Rockefeller Center. In Washington DC the highlight of the season is the lighting of the tree on the Ellipse. A large tree stands for the Nation and smaller trees represent each state.
In Australia Christmas isn’t just about gifts either. It’s about thinking of Jesus, helping each other and praying. Most Australians eat an English breakfast on Christmas day. Lunch in Australia is usually a cold salad type lunch preferred by most but some eat a traditional English hot lunch.
Most Australians go to the beach on Christmas or play in pools because it is so hot. Australians like Americans also decorate there homes and trees and open gifts.
In New Zealand there Christmas tree is called Pohutokawa and its flowers are a gorgeous scarlet color all during the Christmas season. In New Zealand it is summer when Christmas occurs but Santa still visits in his red and white robe.
They have Turkey served with plum pudding and salads. Sometimes the meal is cooked outside on the barbeque. Because so many people from the Northern Hemisphere now live in New Zealand Christmas is celebrated twice a year. One on Dec 25th and next in July which is the middle of winter in New Zealand.
Most people in New Zealand do a Maori Hangi which essentially is a big hole in the ground which is heated by hot rocks. Then the hole is loaded with food, covered and allowed to cook underground.
The Hangi is usually ready around 5pm and after everyone is done eating they sit around and sing carols.
In Japan they do not officially celebrate Christmas because less they one percent of the population is Christian. But there is an unofficial observance of Christmas due to the influence of Americans after the war. And the fact that Japans Christmas Industry provides decorations for Christian Nations around the world. But it is not Santa who brings the gifts, it is Hoteiosho a God from the Japanese Pantheon. It is said he has eyes in the back of his head so he is able to see the behavior of the children. For most in Japan Christmas is just a holiday devoted to the love of there children.
One of the lost popular Japanese decorations is the Origami Swan. Children have exchanged thousands of these folded paper birds of peace with young people all over the world as a pledge that war must not happen again.
As you can see there are some differences in the way different countries celebrate Christmas and the reasons behind the celebration but one thing stays consistent with all. Christmas is about love, happiness, unity and the children.