The Adventurer AFS INTERCULTURE CANADA’s newsletter
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Suksan Wan Christmas
hristmas is coming soon and we are happy to provide you with this Holidays’ special edition.
We thought you might like to know how the participants hosted in Canada this year usually celebrate Christmas in their own country. We would like to thank Annie, Isabel, Jakob, Toma, Saya, Maria, Isadora, Rafael, Ana, Tiago, Ingvild G., Dominik, Flavie, Ingvild J. and Pia.
2011 Scolarships On November 19th, 2010, the scolarships selection commitee met to evaluate the candidatures received for the winter 2011 departure programs. We must thank all the volunteers present that day. The familial social and economic situation and overall quality of the participants application file were part of the selection criterias. The granted amounts for this selection vary between 450$ and 1,100$. The happy scolarship holders are Hillary Ting, Keziah Tolentino, Léo-Thomas Brylowski, Crystal Ho, Zoe David-Delves, Chloé Chapdelaine, Julie Houle et Stéphanie Laflamme. The participants registered for a summer 2011 departure program have until April 30th, 2011 to apply for a grant. Should you need further information, do not hesitate to contact us!
AFS office We are proud to announce an addition within the AFS team; Ms. Julie Plaisance is our new Volunteer Development Coordinator. We are pleased to welcome her!
Testimony « My name is Ingvild Grini and I am an exchange student from Norway, living in Gatineau, QC, Canada. I just want to share with you a speech that my canadian little sister (Naomie Lemyre, 11 years old) has written. The speech is about AFS and she will present it in front of her entire school. » « A.F.S an inspiration for peace Hello, bonjour, bonjourno, god dag, hola, guten tag, Nǐ hǎo. Judges, teachers, principle and students, my name is Naomie Lemyre and today I want to talk about an exchange organization named A.F.S. A.F.S means American field service and it was created after the First World War in 1914. It started as an ambulance organization to rescue the injured French soldiers. After the Second World War, having seen and cared for a lot of injured soldiers, the ambulance drivers wanted to have peace in the world so they started A.F.S. as an exchange program for students who come from other countries. The ambulance drivers thought that by having people from different countries meet and learn about each other, they would not want to fight and start new wars. Today A.F.S has exchanges between 50 different countries. You can do an exchange when you are 15 to 18 years old. As an exchange student to Canada, you live in a host family and go to a local school to learn French or English and at the same time, learn about the Canadian culture. When you do an exchange with A.F.S. you become more open-minded about others cultures and you grow as a person. The exchange students learn to respect others, no matter their religion, culture or language. I believe that students who will have done an exchange will be important in the future, because they will show others to have an open-mind. Somebody who has an open-mind can understand that it is OK if we are all different. People fight when they don’t respect others because they are different. So, we can live in peace if we have an open-mind. My family has been hosting exchange students for many years now. I have 1 brother and 9 sisters from all over the world. It’s really cool to have an older sister or older brother. As a host family you need to be respectful, nice, active, and to share your life and home with the exchange student. My brother and sisters from different countries have showed me their cultures and I even got to know my own Canadian culture better because I had to show it to them. I am very proud to be Canadian and I enjoy telling my exchange siblings about how great it is to live in our beautiful country. I showed them how to skate, walk with snowshoes, ride a snowmobile, and even care about others like Canadians do. When I get older I want to be an exchange student too because I want to learn about other parts of the world. Then I will be a part of making a small difference in the world, and get a bigger understanding for others. I want to be an exchange student because I want to learn another language, meet new friends, and have a new family in another country. But the most important thing is that I will learn to open my mind to other cultures and at the same time, I will help to bring peace to my world. Thank you! » Naomie Lemyre
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas : n. A holiday on Dec. 25 celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Habits may differ according to the place where we live. Our hosted participants tell us about their Chrtistmas...
Christmas in the Dominican Republic « Christmas in the Dominican Republic is one of the most anticipated events by the people for a variety of reasons. From the beginning of December until the end, we celebrate this as a great festival. We have dishes that are typical of this time of the year, such as moro of black beans, potato salad, roasted pork and pastry sheets, among others.
eating pork uncles and cousins are using forks and knives, but some are desperates and eat with their fingers. In 2008, we even saw my brother dancing reggaeton with my grandmother!
day is January 1st. After the party is over in the house, it all starts outside as young people go to party in the clubs. My father has the habit of going to the beach until dawn with who wants to join him.
December 24th is a family day, The next day we celebrate again, where everyone gathers. In my because we’re Dominicans! » case we meet at my maternal grandfather’s house where all María Del Pilar Almonte families have different dishes. Sometimes we do a little angel, the angel is a game to give presents; you pick a name randomly and on the day of Christmas gifts to the angels are given.
In the villages, they do not have a lot of money (but they just celebrate and enjoy) so they cook moro of lentils, spaghetti, chicken and manioc. My brothers, my father and I do not stay to eat in the house of my Each family has its way of cel- maternal grandfather, but we eat ebrating, but ultimately the same with my paternal grandmother. purpose. In every house there is This dinner is usually made by my a Christmas tree, no matter what grandmother and my aunt. Before social level you are. You can find the dinner there is a prayer. The a lot of coloured decorations, my religion of the majority of Dominihouse normally is decorated in cans is Catholicism. I normally do red. the prayer. After the dinner we talk a bit and we go back to the house In December are also being final- of my maternal grandfather, where ized the baseball games, so the we make the angel or whatever town is lively. Friends and neigh- activity. bors tend to go to a grocery store to see the latest games with beers The 25th is the day of opening in their hands. Alive discussions gifts and reheat food that was left to support the teams move across the day before, cousins sit in the the country. The most popular chairs and open the presents. teams are Las Aguilas (yellow), Licey (blue), Las Estrellas (green) December 31st is more varied. and Escogido (red). First of all we gather with the family and celebrate in different ways My family begins with the first holi- but ultimately never miss the fireday celebrating family, organized works and the countdown. It is a by my paternal grandfather. It is very active party where we eat, a meeting of brothers, cousins, dance, talk, laugh, etc. When finuncles and close family friends. ished eating, we wait for New Year In this event the habit is to share, with fireworks and in my case with dance and eat a roasted pig. By a cake for my cousin whose birth-
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Mexico « Christmas in Mexico is not very different from here. We celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, almost all the time in a family reunion. First, well in my family, we go to church, to give thanks and after we return to our house. Then we open the presents that everyone has to give. The stories that people tell to young children are that they have to behave well all the year, so that Santa Claus (in almost all
the cases) or God are going to give them their gifts. Finishing with the gifts, we all have dinner and almost all of the time it is turkey or chicken with some soup or salad. Because in Christmas for my family, is not very common to eat Mexican food. » Rafael Rivera Colmenero
Christmas in Germany « Traditionally, the Germans celebrate Christmas on December 24th, at Christmas Eve. After busy days preparing meals and decorating the Christmas tree, the whole family, dressed in fine clothes, goes to the church. Being back there is a small break. After, the children hear Christmas stories while someone light up the Christmas tree in the livingroom. The stories are read until you hear a small bell. With hearing the bell, everybody knows the Christ child was there, the tree is lit up and all the Christmas presents are under the tree. German children were told the Christ child brings the presents and decorate the Christmas tree. Before the hanging out of presents, the whole family sings several Christmas carols in front of the illuminated tree. If someone plays a music instrument, Christmas Eve is a popular event to play home concerts. The rest of the evening is full of wrapping out presents, eating, talking and playing games. If the chil-
dren are old enough, many families go to the traditional midnight Holy Mass instead of the late afternoon Holy Mass. In the following two Christmas holidays, we invite our relations or visit them. » Dominik Matyssek
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Colombia « The first celebration occurs on December 7th, the day of Virgin Mary. It is called Day of the candles. It is a religious tradition consisting in lighting candles to the Virgin. Nowadays, it has adopted a more secular
haps, of the whole year. Extended families gather in houses (usually those of the most respected and cherished elders), where they eat
twist. At night, most houses light lanterns and candles in the walkways. Some neighborhoods use candles to create figures on the streets. Families get together to dine and light candles. December 15th signals the beginning of so-called novenas, nightly celebrations during the nine days preceding Christmas. People get together in houses to pray, sing, and dine. The most common meal is called nochebuena, consisting of bread-like biscuits and sweets (especially a Spanish-inherited tradition of making sweets out of lemons and oranges, using their peels). Christmas Eve is the most important day of the season and, per-
Christmas in Brazil « Brazil is a huge country and every region has some variants of the Christmas traditions. Because the population is a mix of different immigrants and their cultures, each family ends up choosing its own way of spending Christmas. Usually, the traditions involve a meal and an exchange of gifts (properly set under a decorated pine tree) in the evening of December 24th. The children expect the gifts from our Papai Noel. The adults choose a random name in their group so that each one gets a gift and they will not know from whom it comes until Christmas Eve. For most families, the Natal is the most important date of the year because it’s when all the people forget their problems and stay together. » Isadora Cattoi
(turkey or chicken, sweets and biscuits) and exchange presents. Some houses bring musical groups to play traditional Christmas music called chirimía, of indigenous ancestry (drums and cane flutes). Christmas morning is presents time, when kids awake to collect the presents left by el niño dios (God child) the previous evening and which usually conform to what they have requested in letters left by the Christmas tree at the beginning of the season. On New Year’s Eve, families gather again to dine and wait for midnight eating and drinking. Traditional families perform specific rituals as midnight arrives: circling the house carrying a luggage will bring travels during the incoming year; stuffing the pockets with lentils mean that food will be plenty; eating 12 grapes mean secure happiness and wearing yellow underwear means good love. » Isabel Gnecco
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Norway Christmas is the biggest celebration of the year, in Norway. What's typical with the Norwegian Christmas is that it's the darkest time of the year. Just six hours of daylight in Oslo, almost completely dark to the north. Normally, there's a lot of snow during the holidays. Our Christmas tradition is that we often stay inside where there's light and it's warm. Christmas in Norway is long; it usually lasts from December 2nd and stays in practice until the 2nd New Year’s Day. Many people have off work. It's just the food shops and public transport that keep running.
December 24th is the day where every Norwegian goes to church. There are often two or three services in one church. We eat the Christmas dinner around 6 and 7 o'clock. Most people eat pork ribs,
but some also eat lamb, salmon or lobster. The kids get their gifts by midnight. That's when Santa Claus usually visits, if there are nice kids in the house. The first and second Christmas days are public holidays. The first Christmas day is the holiest of all days in Norway and the day shall be spent at home with your nearest family. From the second Christmas day, there's a lot dinners, parties and days outside until the next morning. Annie Munezero
Christmas in Denmark « Christmas, for most Danes, is more a cultural tradition than a religious one. It’s a more than 1,000 years-old Viking tradition, as a celebration of the days getting longer. Scandinavia in December is awfully dark, that’s why I really love Christmas; it is like a little light and cosiness in the middle of the darkness. Christmas starts at the first day of Advent (usually the last Sunday of November). During December, everything is decorated with lights and glitters. We do a lot of activities together during December, such as making Christmas cookies, cutting small decorative hearts or making candle decorations. People usually decorate their house by the end of November or the beginning of December. We exchange gifts on December 24th. Sometimes, my Mom and I go to church during the afternoon. My Dad is atheist, which is why we don’t have a star on the top of the tree, but a nisser (a special Danish thing, like elves, but not quite). During the afternoon, there’s also the Donald Duck Christmas show, with Jiminy Cricket as the host, which all kids watch. An hour or two after it gets dark, we start putting candles on the tree. After that we walk around the tree while singing Christmas songs about Jesus, nisser, the Christmas tree, the food, etc. The last song we sing is Nu er det jul igen (Now it’s Christmas again) where we run through all the rooms in the house, holding each other’s hands. After that we open up the presents. That usually takes an hour or two, while we start eating the tree, like we use to
say (which means we eat all the candies in the heart decorations). After that we have food! Duck, pork, potatoes, sugar potatoes, brown sauce, waldorf salad, red cabbage, and for dessert; almond rice (rice with vanilla, whipped cream, and almonds) with hot cherry sauce on the top. That dessert is the best! My family is quite special; we exchange gifts before the dinner, but most Danish families do the opposite. The following days we have lunches with family and friends, until people get sick of eating food all the time (usually around the 28th). » Julie Damborg
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Hungary « Our Christmas begins on the 24th of December, more exactly in the morning, when my father and grandfather get together and cook our special Christmas food, the fisherman’s soup, which is a 3-4 hour process. During the day, nothing special happens, making the last moves on the decorations, making the table, because we are having a dinner together with the close relatives. When it gets dark, we go to our church and in front of it
we are singing Christ- tree, and open their presmas songs, and when it’s ent, which wasn’t brought possible, they light a fire by Santa Claus. It was so everyone is around the fire, which creates a nice atmosphere. After it, we go inside the church and we have the annual Christmas service, usually there is a play of the birth of Jesus. After that, we go home, have our dinner, what is the earlier mentioned fisherman’s soup, and usually another kind of fish follows. After the dinner, the children go to the well decorated
brought by Jézuska, the small Jesus, and after we talk for a while and everyone goes home. On the other day, the other part of the family comes, but then there is not a big fuss around it, not as much decorated and precise and we normally just talk and enjoy everyone’s company, discussing what happened to them through the whole year » Tamas Marosvari
Christmas in Brazil « The Christmas is the holiday that I love the most of all the holidays and in my family, we celebrate it the catholic way and full of traditions. Generally, in the beginning of December my mother, my father, my sister and I put the Christmas decorations around the house all together, but now we live in an apartment, we put more decorations inside. It’s very important to have decorations because we don’t want that the magic of Christmas to get lost in our family, so we do a wonderful Christmas tree and generally, we put silver and blue balls with another kind of decorations with a big star in the top of our tree, of course. But the best part is down the tree, because we always recreate the place where Jesus was born, like a crib, and we put the little Jesus, Joseph, Maria and all the other characters. We make a little waterfall, a little river, we improvise the grass for the sheeps and of course we put a lot of lights. So, our house is ready for Christmas.
We generally do, the night of Christmas on December 24th, a big and wonderful dinner with our family. We are a family very catholic and traditional, and so every year we go to the church to have the Christmas Celebration. It’s very good and we celebrate because Jesus was born and for us it’s really meaningful. After the celebration, we go to our house and we wait for all our relatives to have a big dinner and, naturally, the distribution of the gifts. When I was younger, we always had a Santa Claus who went to our house and distribute the gifts and it was very good. Even today I remember those moments and it’s also very meaningful to me. After
the distribution of the gifts, we eat. Generally, we have a big chicken in the middle of the table with a lot of fruits, rice and others traditional foods, and after we eat the candies. Generally, my mother does a lot of candies and we all enjoy it. Yes, we have a lot of stories, but the main story is about Santa Claus, that we have to wait inside the house for him and if we don’t wait inside the house, probably he wouldn’t come, so my cousins and I stayed playing inside the house. Also there are a lot of things on TV about Christmas, especially programs, and we really love to watch them all. It is very good and maybe it will be the thing that I will miss the most in my exchange program, because it is one night each year that all my family is together and we celebrate with a lot of hope and happiness and my family and I really enjoy it. » Tiago Tasca
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Norway « I don’t know much about how Canadians celebrate Christmas, that’s why I decided to do this foreign exchange in the first place. But, if there is something I do know, it’s Norway and Norwegian Christmas traditions. So with no further ado, here’s a Norwegian Christmas for you. It all starts with a bang on December 1st. The kids have custom made calendars with 24 hatches filled with anything from chocolate to pencil sharpeners. Most likely all of the Norwegian television stations start airing series with a 24 episodes span, counting down the days to Christmas with anything red and smelling like cinnamon. We also light 4 purple candles, one every Sunday up until Christmas, but I’m not sure if that’s a religious tradition or a Norwegian one. To make it short, for most Norwegians, December is about waiting, counting down the days, hours and minutes until the evening of December 24th. And before you’re even going to ask, I’ll save you the trouble. Yes, we do celebrate most of Christmas on the 24th, meaning we get to open our presents approximately 12 hours before everyone else. But before the gift wrapping is torn, there are some things that never change. For example, every December 23rd, or Little Christmas Eve as we like to call it, the film Dinner for One airs on Norwegian television. For some, Christmas simply can’t start without it. The same goes for Christmas day. I don’t know what it is about the people from my country and television, but the fact is there are probably more people in front of the television on the December 24th watching the annual Disney-mar-
been opened and my neighbour has stopped by in a Santa-costume, we treat ourselves with yet another round of foods. This time it’s coffee and, at least, seven different kinds of cakes. Christmas Moving on to more important mat- is not successful unless people ters: food! In the long, outstretched have to roll out the doors. country that is Norway, people create different traditions in between Whether we like it or not, Christevery mountain range; this also mas is the time to spend with includes food. I can’t speak on your family. For Norwegians, 1st behalf of all Norwegians, but my and 2nd Christmas days are like family eats salty lamb with sauce an Olympics of going to famand potatoes, tiny sausages and ily dinners and eating more than vegetables. For dessert, we eat your own body weight. And when rice pudding and whoever gets you feel like you’re just about to the almond hidden in it wins a break into a cold sweat from too pig made out of marzipan. It’s the many ginger snaps, that’s when meal of the year, maybe for some it’s time to go back to reality. Unmore than others. I remember as less you’re a child, of course. a child, constantly looking over at During the time between Christthe tree and the presents, hoping mas and New Year, children all that my grandfather wouldn’t serve over Norway dress up as little Santa Claus and walk door to himself another portion. door, singing Christmas carols in After the tension is dissolved for exchange of candy. Very much the children, the presents have like Halloween. athon and a Czech version of Cinderella, than there are in church. And for those who actually go to church, chances are this is a once in a year occasion.
Again, I can’t speak for every Norwegian out there, nor can I point out every single little tradition we have in our household, although I would absolutely love to. For some people, Christmas might be about last minute shopping, or not quite pulling through with your baking skills. But for me, Christmas is, and will always be, about family. This year will be different, a thousand miles away. But there’s no need to be scared. I’m very excited to experience a Canadian Christmas and possibly traditions that I will take with me later in life. And rumour has it; they know how to eat in America to! » Ingvild Jonhsen
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Japan « In Japan, except real Christians, most people consider that Christmas is only as a festival occasion rather than celebrating the religious meaning. Staying home with family, partying with friends, dinner out with one’s boyfriend or girlfriend are popular ways of spending Christmas. When I was little, I used to believe in Santa Claus, and thought that he really came on Christmas Eve and left presents beside of my pillow. We also decorate a Christmas tree and enjoy special dishes and cakes on Christmas. Come in December, one can start hearing Christmas music from all over the city. » Saya Kobayashi
Christmas in France « First, in France, Christmas is called Noël and Santa Claus is Père Noël. For this period of the year, in school, we have 15 days of holidays. They begin a little bit before Christmas and finish after the New Year’s Day. At the begin of December, we do the Christmas tree in the living room; awhile, we were buying a real tree that we planted in the garden after Christmas, but now for the past years we use a false tree that we need to build. After, we decorate it with balls, wood toys and a multicolour electric garland. Being a catholic family, we do the Holy Crib, which is quite big. We have many different little characters (called Santons) constituting the crib. Among this one, we put 4 candles which represent the 4 Sundays of Advent, the time of Christmas’ preparation. We decorate a little bit the house: garlands for the outside, wreath for the front door, a mobile of musicians angels, little Santa Claus, cushions decorated with Christmas trees or snowmen for the inside.
At the beginning of December, in the big towns, but also in the little villages too, there are Christmas markets with many things to buy: foods, decorations, Christmas trees, ideas for gifts... In my family, we have a tradition: each of my two sisters and I have a big decorative sock; we put it to our bedroom’s door and, when we wake-up in the Christmas morning, we find different kinds of chocolate inside. On the evening of December 24th, we have a family dinner: it’s not always the same, but it’s a special dinner compared to the rest of the year. The most common food for this occasion is: duck or goose liver, smoked salmon and seafood. My family always goes to the midnight mass (which is rather at 10pm or 11pm) before eating the dessert. When we come back, we put the little Jesus in the crib, since we have just celebrated his birth, and if we are enough hungry, we eat the dessert. Otherwise, we keep it for the day after. The dessert is always a Yule log. There are different kinds of Yule logs: chocolate, ice, fruits... Before we go to the bed, each member of the family puts a pair of his shoes under the Christmas tree. We always open the presents in the Christmas Morning. During the Christmas day, we do nothing. We stay home to share this day with the rest of the family. »
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Sweden « In Sweden, we celebrate Christmas especially on Christmas Eve. But it really begins on the first day of Advent, as we light a candle for each Sunday of Advent until Christmas Eve. The Swedish Christmas is said to be tied to the Christian Christmas nowadays, but you can see many elements of pagan customs in the Swedish Christmas. It becomes more and more an old habite today. For example, it was said that we would leave the porridge outside the door of the courtyard for the brownies (not the cookies, it’s a kind of little persons who look like Santa Claus help workers).
predicted to be married the next year. At 3 pm, the Donald Duck movie begins on TV. This is now very common that all children and parents watch it. It can almost be seen as a habite nowadays. In the evening, the Christmas dinner begins, where you have a great Christmas buffet consisting of pickled herring, pickles, ham, grits sausage, pie, baked beans, gratin, cheese, sausage and meatballs.
After the dinner it is customary to hand out gifts, as it is also usual in the rest of the world. After this, Christmas usually stops, although there are still The Swedish traditional Christmas starts with a gift many like me, going to midnight mass. But after that in a big sock in the morning. There is one for each Christmas celebrations end in almost all the homes family member. Forward in the lunch time you get in Sweden. » to eat porridge. It is very common to make this with real milk. It’s usual as well to add an almond in it and the one receiving the almond in the bowl is Jakob Lunberg
Christmas in Colombia « In Colombia, Christmas starts on December 7th by celebrating the day of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. This day is widely known as the day of the candles. How do we celebrate this day? We start at dusk by lighting candles on long pieces of wood board to make infinite lines that illuminate the front of the houses, churches, etc.
by remembering the birth of Jesus. But what are those traditions you will find unique to Colombia? To start, the first tradition is linked to the table; we can’t speak about traditions if we don’t mention the typical dishes served on the Christmas Eve. We have different typical foods for the Christmas dinner, like natilla, buñuelos, hojaldras, etc.
On December 16th, all the family gathers each night until the 24th to pray. The novena is a special occasion to get closer to our faith
Today, Christmas is more colorful than ever; many capitol cities invest in decorating their city with regional themes, mixed with international
traditions such as lighting a Christmas tree and having a gift exchange. At midnight, the bigger cities put up some fireworks. In Colombia, December is a month full of happiness, party and fun! » Ana Maria Noguera
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SPECIAL BOOKLET Christmas in Austria « Christmas in Austria is one of the most important seasons during the year and it is celebrated in the evening of December 24th. But our Christmas time starts at the 4th Sunday before Christmas Eve, so approximately at the end of November, and this Sunday is called 1st Advent. The following Sunday is the 2nd Advent, and so on. During this time, each household has an Advent wreath with 4 candles, which represent the 4 Advent-Sundays, and an Advent calendar. This is a calendar which contains 24 little surprises, for example little pieces of chocolate, and from the beginning of December you are allowed to open a door each day.
disguised people who look like devils and they go around and try to scare the people, especially the girls, who are screaming and running away. The 6th December is St.Nicholas’ Day, where most of the people are getting together with their families or friends and in the evening St.Nicholas, usually it is a disguised friend or a family member, comes and reads a book and the children that have been well-behaved during the year get a little present, sweets, apples, oranges and nuts.
when we come back at home, we are all hiding in a room, no one is allowed to go to the living room, because everybody is waiting for the ring of the little bell. In Austria, it is not Santa Claus who brings the presents; it is the Christkind. The Christkind is a little angel, nearly everybody imagine it as a child, with wings and golden locks, so when the Christkind is done with lightening the candles and placing the presents underneath the tree, he rings the bell. So we go back into the living room, but before opening the presents, we sing all kinds of Christmas songs. When all the gifts are given, we have a dinner. Actually, we don’t really have a typical food for Christmas, but for example in my family we eat something like fondue every year.
We have got a lot of little, but really nice traditions, for example baking some cookies with the family or friends, or getting together with the family in the evening around the Advent wreath and singing some Christmas songs. The 25th and 26th December are usually used to visit the two big For the children, another really families and celebrate again, so important point during the Advent actually we have got 3 times gifts is writing the list of wishes. These exchange. are usually adhered to the window, which has to be open, so that the Christmas in Austria might be reChristkind (I will tell you later what ally different, but there is a lot of the Christkind is about) can get it. getting together with friends and the family and in my opinion, During the week before Christ- nearly nowhere else is Christmas mas Eve, each household is look- as beautiful and fascinating as in ing for a Christmas tree, but you Austria! » have to know that in Austria we have REAL trees and REAL can- Pia Hocheneder dles. No plastic and not too much glitters. This is probably a bigger effort, but I think this is a real nice move. The tree is placed in the living room and decorated by the family in the morning of the 24th with decent decoration and also sweets.
Well in Austria we have got a really nice tradition and in my opinion this is the best thing about Christmas: the Christmas markets. There are everywhere during the Advent, in every town, in villages, churches, farms, etc. These markets are most of the time outside and consist of little cabanas, in which they sell something like Christmas decorations, toys, selfmade clothes and bags, things to eat, etc. There is a lot of art and handwork. But really typical are Glühwein, Punsch and Raclette bread. For your explanation, Glühwein is a hot wine with different kinds of condiments, Punsch is a mixture of arrack, neutral spirits, sugar, water and various flavorings and the Raclette bread is a slice of brown bread with a special melted cheese. Frequently in the evenings, for example after work, a lot of people are getting together at the Christmas markets with friends while standing around a fire and drinking Punsch, Glüh- At Christmas Eve, a lot of people go to church; there is a mass for wein, etc. children in the evening and one A really important event is the for adults at midnight. Of course evening of the 5th December, be- it depends on the family and the cause at all the Christmas mar- town, but in my family we usually kets are the Perchten. These are go to the mass for children and
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Christmas in Norway « In Norway, the celebration of Christmas starts already the 1st of December with opening the Christmas calendar which counts down the days until Christmas Eve. Every Sunday from December 1st to the 24th, we light a candle. We have 4 purple candles standing in a square form. Each Sunday we light a new candle while reading a poem. Each candle has its own poem because they all stand for different things; joy, hope, longing and peace. On Christmas Eve all the candles burn down.
On the 13th of December we celebrate Saint Lucia, queen of light. On this day the students walk together dressed up in white dresses and carrying candles while singing the Saint Lucia song. During the month of December it is also normal that kids walk julebukk. They are dressed up as something associated with Christmas, walk around in the neighbourhood, sing Christmas carols and get treats for it. Before the Christmas holiday starts, almost every school have a Christmas tree party. At a Christmas tree party, we sing and dance around the Christmas tree, drink a special mulled wine and eat rice porridge. In the evening of the 23th we take a bowl of rice porridge and put it outside. The rice porridge is for the Norwegian nisser, which looks like a little elf. The nisser hides from humans, but shows its presence by eating our food and doing small tricks on us. We put out the rice porridge for the nisser so he won’t be unhappy. In Norway we celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24th and we eat rice porridge for lunch, but now with a hidden almond in it. The one who gets the almond win a present. In the after-noon it is normal to go to the church. At 4 o’clock all the church bells in Norway ring, and Christmas is officially started. For dinner, you either eat roasted pork belly, salted, dry or smoked lamb ribs or stockfish. What you eat depends on where in Norway you and your origins come from. We normally eat three hours before we start to open all the presents. We are opening the presents one-by-one, while everyone is looking. When we are finished opening all the presents, Santa Claus arrives with more presents for the kids. The next morning, on the 25th, we sleep in, look at all our presents and eat a big brunch with our family and friends. The rest of the days until New Years Eve is spent dining with family and friends at home or at a cabin up in the Norwegian mountains. » Ingvild Grini