Christmas In Different European Nations

In Finland, Christmas Eve is the standard time to set up the Christmas tree and it’s also traditional to visit the sauna and for families to listen to a broadcast of the national ‘Peace of Christmas’ on the radio. Christmas Dinner generally consists of a main dish of boiled codfish that is fluffy and snowy in appearance, served with cream sauce and boiled potatoes. Christmas dinner is rounded out with roast suckling pig or roasted fresh ham and veggies.

Christmas in France is called Noel, from the expression ‘les bonnes nouvelles,’ or ‘ the good news,’ which refers to the gospel. On Christmas Eve, cathedrals and churches are perfectly lit and filled with the sounds of Christmas carols, sounding church bells and carillons. The custom amongst children is to put their shoes by the fireplace for Pere Noel or le petit Jesus to fill them with gifts.

In the north of France however, children receive gifts on Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day, rather of Christmas. Most French homes will have a Nativity scene on screen during the season. In Southern France, some people will burn alog in their home from Christmas Eve up until New Years Day, which comes out of a farming tradition of using the log for good luck in the coming harvest. The French likewise make a conventional cake called the buche de Noel, or Christmas Log, which is formed like a Yule log and is part of a late dinner called le reveillon held after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The main dish for this meal generally consists of poultry, ham, salads, white wine, fruit and cake but differs according to region. The main course in Burgundy is turkey with chestnuts and in Paris it’ s oysters, foie gras and the buche de Noel cake. The white wines normally served are Champagne, Muscadet, Sauterne and Anjou. A yearly tradition of puppet shows, particularly in Paris and Lyons, is popular during Christmas time. In Paris, it’s also popular for big outlet store to have grand, animated window displays.

Christmas in Italy is called ‘Il Natale,’ or ‘the birthday.’ Christmas season starts 8 days prior to Christmas, a period called the Novena, and runs for three weeks. During the Novena, children impersonate shepherds and go from house to house stating Christmas poems, singing and playing pipelines. They often receive money to purchase presents during this activity. The Nativity scene, called the Presepio, has mini figures, carved in great information out of clay or plaster, of the Holy Family in the steady and is the center of Christmas for families. Families state prayers and kids recite poems around the Presepio. Christmas Eve supper, called cenone, is a standard dish of roasted, baked or fried eel. Christmas sweet sare called panettone and typically have almonds and nuts. On Christmas Eve, kids set out their shoes for a kind, old female or awful witch called La Befana, who flights on a broomstick down chimneys, to fill them with presents of toys or candies.

Norwegians today frequently go into the forest to cut their own Christmas trees, which is secretly embellished on Christmas Eve to shock children. After the Christmastree is exposed, Norwegians engage in ‘circling around the Christmas tree,’ a tradition in which everyone signs up with hands forming a ring around the tree.

In Finland, Christmas Eve is the conventional time to set up the Christmas tree and it’s also conventional to visit the sauna and for households to listen to abroadcast of the nationwide ‘Peace of Christmas’ on the radio. On Christmas Eve, cathedrals and churches are magnificently lit and filled with the sounds of Christmas carols, calling church bells and carillons. French also make a traditional cake called the buche de Noel, or Christmas Log, which is shaped like a Yule log and is part of a late dinner called le reveillon held after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Christmas season starts 8 days prior to Christmas, a period called the Novena, and runs for three weeks. Norwegians today typically go into the forest to cut their own Christmas trees, which is secretly embellished on Christmas Eve to shock kids.

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