Christmas time is always a fun time to get together, and the Dickens' family Christmas party is no exception. This year it was held at our condos, so we had a very long commute, haha!
We had a nice baked potato meal, yum!! After dinner we got together, and presented how different countries celebrate Christmas, it was pretty interesting. Some celebrate it similar to us, some go way out, and some really don't spend much time on the commercial aspect of Christmas. We learned about Christmas traditions from Canada, Russia, Spain, Australia, China, Japan, and Mexico.
We didn't get pictures of all the presentations, but we got a few.
Michelle and Nicholas presenting on Russia. Not surprising during the Soviet Union days Christmas was not celebrated much if at all. It is now normally celebrated in January and not in December, and is celebrated together with the New Year for a couple of weeks!
Everyone listening to Jeremy give their presentation on Australia. Including kangaroos carrying the presents to the children's home for Santa when he lands because it is the middle of the summer and the reindeer just can't handle that, and neither can Santa because he changes clothes too!
A few of the kids got to be reindeer and a few kids got to be kangaroos and jump around delivery presents, Carson thought it was pretty cool.
Sydni could care less what everyone was doing, she was off in her own little world.
Robert presented on Mexico, and I thought he did a great job, despite having no time to prepare for the presentation. In Mexico children for the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas until Christmas even participate in what is called the 'Posada' were they travel from one house to the next finding no room in the inn, until one family will let them in. This changes each night and a new family lets them in, and a party/get together is had every night, until they have found all the pieces of the nativity set, baby Jesus being the last and then they go to Mass on Christmas evening.
Mama and Daddy aka Grandma and Grandpa presented on Canada, and came dressed for the occasion with their Canada pins. In Canada people dress up in costumes and knock on someones door and say in a disguised voice, "Are there an Mummers in the night?" meaning are "Mummers allowed in the house" If they are allowed in they party and have fun and games.
Though Christmas is not widely celebrated in Japan, though they have adopted some traditions such as Christmas cards and presents from the US. It is used mostly for spreading happiness rather than a religious celebration. Speaking of US adopted, Christmas dinner usually consists of KFC! And you may find a Buddha dressed as Santa here and there.
In Egypt, only about 15% of people are Christians, and Christmas is celebrated on Jan 7th instead. For 43 days leading up to Christmas, Christians go on a fast eating no animal products called "The Holy Fast." Once their Christmas service is over they all go home and eat a BIG meal, consisting of lots of meat products. It is becoming more of the commercial celebration in Egypt and Santa is known as Baba Noel( father Christmas.)
In China only 1% of people are Christians, so many people don't even know anything about Christmas, because it is only celebrated in major cities. If they have a Christmas tree it is just a plastic tree. A tradition that is becoming popular is giving apples during Christmas time. Some people go caroling, though they don't know or understand the nativity story.
Last but not least is Spain, where we sung Feliz Navidad of course! In Spain most people go to midnight Mass. Most family eat their main Christmas dinner before they go to Mass, and it is common to eat seafood. Spain celebrates Christmas and various holidays through the months of December and January, always celebrating and playing music.
We finished with the traditional gifts for the grandchildren and the adult white elephant gift exchange, we ended up with a toilet bowl sponge and a AJax :)