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FortKnox's Journal: Foreign Christmas Traditions? 26

Journal by FortKnox
OK, I was watching a "Wiggly wiggly Christmas" with my sick son yesterday (We TiVo "The Wiggles" cause its his favorite show). There was something seriously wrong, though. The Wiggles is an Aussie kids show, so they were talking about taking a Christmas picnic out onto the beach and stuff like that. I realized, 12/25 (err... 25/12 I guess) is summertime in Austrailia. Go fig.

This made me wonder what Christmas time is like in foreign countries. Anyone care to explain what their countries (and cultures) Christmas's include? Hey Canadians/UK'ers... how about explaining "Boxing Day" for us US'ers?
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Foreign Christmas Traditions?

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  • Apparently at one time in the UK, it was the tradition on the second day of Christmas to go door to door with boxes to collect money for the poor, and that's how the 26th came to be called Boxing Day. The name has nothing to do with it these days -- it's just that the first two days of Christmas (25th and 26th) are legal holidays (in Canada, anyway) and I guess they figured the second day off needed a name of it's own, rather than just calling them both Christmas.
  • Hey Canadians/UK'ers... how about explaining "Boxing Day" for us US'ers?

    Google's definition feature was (unusually) almost stumped by this one, turning up only this [princeton.edu]: Boxing Day -- (first weekday after Christmas). On the other hand, Snopes has an entry [snopes.com], debunking the myth that the name derives from disposing of empty boxes after Christmas day, and giving a few different possibilities. The one I've always heard is that this was the day on which the Church "poor box" was opened, and the contents distributed

    • The one I've always heard is that this was the day on which the Church "poor box" was opened, and the contents distributed to the poor.

      That's the story I've heard as well (or somewhat similarly, that Boxing Day was the day that alms/donations for the poor were boxed up and given to the recipients). The Encyclopaedia Britannica also agrees, although in an oddly hesitantly phrased entry ("Explanations for the origin of the name have varied, with some believing that it derived from the opening of alms boxes

  • in some areas, it has evolved into the day you leave gifts for officials, landlords, postal workers, stuff like that. I'm not sending my landlord a present. After what he charges for rent, he can buy his own.
  • There is a small group of people who celibrate Festivus [karber.net]. :)
    • Christmas was always a big ordeal for PH, because his family is almost entirely nuts. So he's not big on Christmas trees or decorations. He said he was going to start celebrating Festivus.
  • First of all, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas eve, that is, on 24th of December. And (a relatively sober) Santa Claus comes through the front door with a bag full of presents and after the kids have sung to him, he gives the presents to everyone, one by one. (Because Santa visits every home it is not that uncommon to see a van unload half a dozen Santas that visit different houses...)

    And by the way, Santa lives on Korvatunturi ("Ear Fjeld"), not on the North Pole.

    Traditional foods are ham (or turkey)
  • Heh. My kids brought up the same question. It wasn't until I had read the bios of the cast somewhere that I realized the show was from Oz. That made the beach party pretty easy to figure out.

    My kids aren't quite ready for the concept of hemispheres and axis tilt and everything, so I just tell them that it's "warm where they live."
    • My kids aren't quite ready for the concept of hemispheres and axis tilt and everything, so I just tell them that it's "warm where they live."

      I spent a good solid 10 minutes explaining the concept of the globe and axis and seasons and everything to him.
      His respone was "No. Get down, daddy" which is two-speak for "I want to go play, set me down" ;-)
      • "No. Get down, daddy" which is two-speak for "I want to go play, set me down" ;-)

        On a completely off topic note, my wife and I found it confusing that when holding my 17month old daughter she would often yell "Up! Up! Up!" and we would say "You are up. You want down?"

        Then it dawned on me -- when she is in her high chair and done with lunch, we will ask her "You want to get up now?" which really means "Out of the chair and down on the floor." Thus has she apparently associated "up" with "walking around o

  • It is summer here, so yea, we do have some different Christmas traditions. My family, however, has mostly stuck with the "traditional" Christmas tradition of having a big Christmas feast for lunch on Christmas Day. This usually consists of roast turkey, roast pork, ham, plenty of vegetables, followed by steaming hot Christmas Pudding with brandy custard. It can be quite a struggle to get through all this on a stinking hot summer's day, but it just has to be done. ;-)

    It is quite common for people to go to t
  • I hear that in certain circles, tv, especially football, is the thing on Christmas, IIRC. This is never done at my parents' house, where the tv stays off all day.

    We have a quaint custom in our family (don't quite know where it comes from -- an old Scottish tradition, perhaps?) where we are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve just before turning in, and then the rest of the presents Christmas morning -- but only after breakfast. It also has to be light out before we can have breakfast, but I thi
  • In New Zealand, we have the traditional roast ham and crackers for xmas lunch for family and friends. We usually have a pine tree for xmas, (Pinus radiata grows really quick here) but there is the new zealand xmas tree, the pohutakawa which has red flowers.
    It's the only day that TV is ad free, and then on boxing day there is an international cricket match at the capital's basin reserve cricket field. This year it's NZ vs Pakistan.
    There is only annoying xmas songs on the radio, so we just go visit our friend

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