Christmas in Malaysia
In Malaysia, Christmas is celebrated on a small scale. This is because only 10% of the population are Christians and the majority of people are Muslim. However, in the last 10 years businesses have taken the opportunity to promote the event to sell more goods and to hold lots of end- of- year sales. Christmas Day is the only public holiday in Malaysia.
When Tina was little her mother would cook a western-style meal of chicken casserole, baked or mashed potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and peas. In recent years her family has also had roast turkey or beef. She likes this food as on most other days she has Asian meals and rice. Her dad always prepares fruit cocktail or shandy to drink at the Christmas meal and they often ask close friends to come to share the food. They also ask people who do not have the opportunity to have a special meal at this time eg, a disabled child or a lonely, elderly person.
Tina and her sister Bella put up a Christmas tree and decorate it with colourful little toys. The gifts they have bought for each other are placed under the tree. After their Christmas Eve dinner, her family goes to Midnight Mass and when they get home they open their gifts. On Christmas morning they sleep in and then they visit their friends to celebrate Christmas and continue to feast.
Santa Claus is not a very important part of Christmas celebrations in Malaysia. Asian houses are not built with the chimney concept as it is very hot and humid. However, some men dress up in Santa suits and sit in the malls giving children presents.
Christmas in Sweden
Christmas is a very important holiday in Sweden because it is the celebration of Jesuss birth. Several weeks before Christmas Eve people decorate the streets and shops. Families decorate their houses by setting up stars and candles in their windows, placing red table cloths on their tables, put out Santa Claus and decorating all their houses in red. EVERY family has a green tree in their house that they decorate and place presents underneath it. Some people sing Christmas carols and dance around the tree on Christmas Eve.
Food is an important part of Christmas celebrations. All the family members usually get together to eat a big dinner where there are many different dishes to choose. The main dishes are Christmas ham, meat balls, small sausages, different kinds of fish, potatoes, salmon, a special Christmas anchovy and sliced potato dish called Janssons temptation and home made candy. The food is good, but the children like the presents that they give to each other!
Click here for carols sung in Sweden at Christmas (in English!)
Christmas in England
Christmas is celebrated in England with people giving and receiving presents to family and friends. Many people share a Christmas meal of roast turkey, roast potatoes and a large choice of vegetables followed by Christmas Pudding and Mince pies. They may also organize parties where beer, wine and sometimes champagne are served. Not many people go out at Christmas, unless they are going to families as on Christmas Day no shops or amusements are open.
Christmas celebrations are not just on 25th December as people celebrate on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas which is called Boxing Day.
Santa Claus is part of the Christmas festivities and small children believe he brings their presents down the chimney on Christmas Eve. No body ever gets to see him in their homes, though, because he only comes when everybody is sound asleep. Children believe that he lives in the North Pole and it is a tradition to leave a glass of sherry for Santa and a carrot for his reindeers. There is lots of excitement on Christmas morning as children get up VERY early to open their presents. In the weeks before Christmas, Santa also sits in Santas grotto in shopping malls where lots of different Christmas carols are played and sung. Children can go and get a small present from him.
Click here for some special recipes from the Midlands.
Christmas in Australia
Christmas preparations in Australia begin early in December when people put up decorations in their houses which include door wreaths, artifical Christmas trees, nativity scenes and send Christmas cards to friends and relatives. Many start shopping for gifts and baking Christmas cakes and puddings. People who have real Christmas trees put them up with lights and decorations closer to Christmas Day. Shopping Centres and large Department stores always have Santa Claus sitting in a special chair handing out small gifts to children. Lots of different Christmas carols are played in Shopping Centres, schools and churches. School holidays start about 20th of December for five weeks as it is Summer so everyone really looks forward to this time of the year. On Christmas Eve some people go to church at midnight. Others go early on Christmas morning. Children believe that Santa Claus comes in the night and places their presents under their Christmas tree so they get up very early to open the presents. They often leave a glass of Coca Cola or milk for him and some carrots for his reindeers.
Families often get together for Christmas lunch, but before they start they exchange gifts. A traditional meal consists of a roast turkey and cranberry sauce, ham, lots of baked vegetables or salads for the main course. Then people have a Christmas Pudding with brandy sauce. Later in the afternoon they may slice up some Christmas Cake with coffee. People often have wine, beer, punch and champagne with the meal. As Christmas Day can sometimes be very hot some people prefer to have cold meats or seafood. Some families also have their main meal at dinner time. The next day, Boxing Day is a public holiday so people relax again and often go to the beach or watch a cricket match.
Katharina Surikow's friends often go to church on 24th of December and then the evening meal is a large meal with family and friends. Her parent's follow the Russian tradition of having twelve different dishes of food on the table. Each dish represents one of Christ's disciples. After the meal the children receive their presents which have been placed under a REAL, green tree. Christmas Day is a much quieter day.
The food her family prepares includes fish, seafood, salads and vegetables.The adults usually have the traditional Russian drink, Vodka.Two dishes that are always served are Siliotka and Piroshki which are small meat-filled yeast pastries which her grandma makes.
The 6th of December is St. Nicholas's Day and it is common for children to put a shoe on the windowsill the night before.If the child has been good , St. Nicholas or his helper, Knecht Ruprecht leaves a small present.
Click here for recipes for Christmas Cake and Pudding.
Click here for directions on making a Christmas wreath.
Christmas in Germany
Christmas in Germany starts early. People light one candle on every Sunday and have a "Adventskalender". On the 6th of December they have St. Nicola's Day, but they still have to go to school. On the day before Christmas families decorate their own Christmas trees with candles, balls and tinsel. On the evening of the 24th December families give gifts to family members and friends. They also sing Christmas carols and eat lots of yummy food like ducks with dumplings.
Before they give presents on Christmas Eve they go to church. The day after Christmas Day people have holidays.
Christmas in America.
Christmas trees with special ornaments and an angel on top and other decorations are put up in homes about one month before Christmas Day. Electric candles are hung in windows and greenery (some fake and some real ) in other places. Christmas stockings are hung on the mantle of the fire place, one for each member of the family including pets. Some families also place a nativity scene under the tree with the gifts which are usually opened on Christmas morning.When children are in bed on Christmas eve Santa Claus flies through the night in his magic sleigh pulled by reindeers, lands on the roof tops, slides down the chimney and fills the stockings with small gifts and bones and treats for pets. The true reason Christmas is celebrated is for the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all.
Families get together for the midday meal or dinner. The foods eaten include boiled lobster, salads. breads and a variety of desserts. Sometimes roast of beef instead of lobster is eaten.
Click here for a special recipe for Stollen made in America.
Click here to go on the Christmas Toy Hunt
Click here to find out how to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 90 different languages.
Click here to see an Advent Calendar