DO ALL COUNTRIES CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS ON THE SAME DAY?
Christmas in The Netherlands (Holland)
For example, in The Netherlands, the Dutch eagerly await December 5th for it is on this day that they celebrate
the coming of Sinterklaas Avond or St. Nicholas eve, whose legends of generosity and kindness are well known.
But Dutch children are really lucky, because on December 6th they celebrate with family activities, after which
everyone settles down to prepare for Christmas Day on December 25th and Three Kings Day on January 6th.
Christmas in Russia
In the traditional Russian Christmas, special prayers are said and people fast, sometimes for 39 days, until
January 6th, which is their Christmas Eve, when the first evening star in appears in the sky. Then begins a
twelve course supper in honor of each of the twelve apostles - fish, beet soup or Borsch, cabbage stuffed with
millet, cooked dried fruit and much more.
Hay is spread on the floors and tables to encourage horse feed to grow in the coming year and people make
clucking noises to encourage their hens to lay eggs.
On Christmas Day, January 7th, hymns and carols are sung. People gather in churches which have been decorated
with the usual Christmas trees or Yelka, flowers and colored lights. Christmas dinner includes a variety of
different meats - goose and suckling pig are favorites.
Babushka is a traditional Christmas figure who distributes presents to children. Her name means grandmother and the
legend is told that she declined to go with the wise men to see Jesus because of the cold weather. However, she
regretted not going and set off to try and catch up, filling her basket with presents. She never found Jesus, and
that is why she visits each house, leaving toys for good children.
Christmas in Turkey
The tradition of Santa Claus is named after St Nicholas,
who lived in the Turkish village of Demre,
in the 4th Century,
when he was Bishop of Myra, on Turkey's southern shores. St Nicholas's Day (which you could say is Santa Claus's Day too)
is celebrated on December 6th.
Article contributed by Mike Davies