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Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2011 - 14:44:53 

Traditions & History  

World Wide Christmas Celebrations
By Sarah Lane
Nov 16, 2008, 01:08 PST

World Wide Celebration

Great Britain
At midnight on Christmas Eve, bells ring out all over the countryside in Great Britain announcing the birth of Christ. In Wales, caroling is especially popular and in Scotland the biggest celebration begins on New Years Eve.

Santa puts his presents inside your shoes if you live in France. The lighting of the Yule Log is very important as well as eating chocolate cake made to look like a Yule log.

If you were from Poland you would be celebrating Christmas with a twelve-course meal. Don't forget to leave an extra space at the table in case an unexpected guest arrives. Also put straw or wheat in the 4 corners of the main room in memory of Christ's birthplace in a stable.

In Sweden, Christmas celebrations start on December 13th. A young girl wearing white and a crown wakes up sleeping families at dawn. Everyone then shares a breakfast of wheat cakes and coffee. It is also popular to reenact the journey of the Wise Men to Bethlehem, and to eat roasted pig and lots of cake on Christmas Day.

Germany and Austria
Many North American Christmas customs come from Germany. The first Christmas trees came from the Black Forest. Marzipan, advent calendars, and wreaths with candles are from this area as well. Here, the patron Saint Nicholas brings presents to children.

A woman named Lady Befana gives presents to children on Epiphany, twelve days after Christmas, in Italy. She is said to come down the chimney just like Santa. During celebrations people march through town playing music in front of manger scenes and carpenter shops in honor of Joseps profession.

Christmas begins in Spain on December 8th with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Families gather around manger scenes, sing carols, and give food and clothing to the poor to gain good luck in the year ahead. Children receive presents on January 6th from the 3 Magi (Wisemen) who are on their way to Bethlehem.

Find more information on Christmas and the holidays with help from Google.

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