By Rosie Moore

I want to add the various tributes to Christmas that are celebrated around the world.

A very interesting country that celebrates Christmas is India. Compared to other religious festivals, Christmas is quite a small festival in India, due to the number of people who are Christians (about 2.3%) compared to people who belong to other religions. The population of India is over 1 billion, so there are over 25 million Christians in India.

Midnight mass is a very important service for Christians in India. The whole family will walk to the mass and this will be followed by a massive feast of different delicacies and the giving and receiving of presents. Churches are decorated with poinsettias and candles.

Instead of traditional Christmas trees, a banana or mango tree is decorated. Christians often put a small oil burning clay lamp on the flat roofs of their houses  to show their neighbors Jesus is the light of the world.

Christmas in Norway wasn’t celebrated until about the year 1000 or 1100 when Christianity first came to the area. Before this people celebrated in the middle of winter a rite to proclaim the harvest is gone and to look forward to spring.

The children in Norway go carol singing and they often dress up as characters from the Christmas story such as the Wise Men and Shepherds. The most famous Christmas custom in Norway is the big Christmas tree which they give to UK as a present to say “thank you” for the help UK gave them during World War II.

A Norwegian Christmas tree is decorated with small paper baskets made in the shape of a heart. It is said that Hans Christian Anderson invented them in 1860s.

Many different types of cakes and biscuits are eaten at Christmas. One of the most popular is a special bread that has raisins, candied peel, and cardamom in it.

Does Russia celebrate Christmas? Yes, to a certain extent. he Orthodox church does celebrate Advent which lasts forty days The official Christmas and New Holidays last from December 31, to January 10.

Mostly the cause of celebration commemorates the end of a good harvest. Some people don’t eat anything on Christmas Eve until the first star has appeared in the sky, then they will eat a porridge made of wheat or rice with honey, poppy seeds, berries and walnuts. In the past some people would throw a spoonful of the porridge upon the ceiling. If it stuck there, it was meant they would have good luck and a good harvest. Presents were given out on New Year’s Eve.

It is hard to ascertain if the Russians celebrate Christ’s birthday but there are a few who go to midnight church services. And they have Christmas trees. On New Year’s Eve children hold hands, make a circle around the tree and call for “Grandfather Frost,” their version of Santa Claus, to bring them presents.

As you can see nearly all the countries I’ve mentioned celebrate this holiday with presents, lots of food and different customs. When all the presents have been opened, when the feast is cleared away, when the shreds of wrapping paper are discarded, and when the sparkling lights are turned off, the memory of our Christ’s birth and His remarkable love should remain with us throughout the year. Merry Christmas to all!

Thought for the day: Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:15

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