- Transport for Santa 5. A Christmas summer style
- A Christmas miracle made by insects 6. The first guest is important
- Remembering the dead 7. Celebrating on another day
- A Christmas exercise 8. A female Santa
A. For people who live in the northern hemisphere, the thought of celebrating Christmas with great heat and bright sun seems strange and exotic. But in Australia, where the holidays fall on summer, it’s completely normal. Though most of the traditions of celebrating Christmas in Australia are the same as in European countries, there is still a little variation. On Christmas Day, most Australians have the holiday midday dinner outside. The dinner is often followed by some backyard cricket or a swim in the pool.
B. In Italy, children do not ask Santa Claus for presents. In their country an ugly, yet kind, old witch named Befana controls the present-giving duties instead of Santa. On the eve of the holiday parents leave out a plate of broccoli with some sausage and a glass of wine for Befana. Flying around the world on her broomstick and entering each house down the chimney, the witch delivers toys, clothing and candy to well-behaved children and puts coal — or dark candy — in bad kids’ socks.
C. An ancient Ukrainian legend tells us about the children from a poor family, who spent months dreaming up ways to decorate their Christmas tree for the holiday. But their parents could not afford any Christmas decoration. However, on Christmas morning, when the children woke up, they saw that spiders had spun webs of shiny silk around the tree’s branches. The morning sun turned each thread into silver and gold. Even nowadays the Ukrainians dress up their trees with spider webs to welcome good luck into the coming year.
D. Hogmanay celebrations take place over Christmas in Scotland. It is a cheerful holiday celebrating the birth of a new year. One of the most important traditions is called First-Footing. Once midnight strikes, all eyes await the arrival of the year’s first visitor. The person who crosses the home’s threshold first is said to bring good fortune for the year ahead. Top of the lucky list: a male, dark-haired visitor. Women or blonde men are believed to be unlucky.
E. Going to the cemetery is something that we do not normally include in our Christmas programme. However, for many Finns, this time is dedicated to visiting graves. People light candles beside the gravestones, and when enough of them get together, the effect is spectacular! The warm glow of millions of lighted candles creates a breath-taking scene. Christmas cemeteries look so nice that people come there to enjoy the scenery and peaceful environment.
F. In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January, not on the 25th of December like in most other countries. The different date of the holiday is because the Orthodox Church uses the old ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days. According to tradition, on Christmas Eve some Russian people don’t eat anything until the first star has appeared in the sky.
G. Like in most countries which are predominantly Catholic, the locals of Venezuela, especially in their capital city, Caracas, attend the Misa de Aguinaldo. They go to church on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus. However, in Caracas, people, old and young, don’t just go to church, they usually roller skate to church. The streets of Caracas are closed to vehicles up to 8am on Christmas Day to make way for their citizens who travel by roller skates to and from church.