Today was our 4-year-old grandson’s Christmas concert. They are still allowed to use that title at his school and rightly so as the greatest majority of families in that community celebrate Christmas … not necessarily from the religious perspective.
IMHO, it was just the way a Christmas concert should be with excited, joyful children proudly singing the cheery holiday songs and classic carols they have been practising for weeks. Each group, from JK to Grade 5, looked like a representation of a classic Norman Rockwell painting. Beaming faces, toothless smiles, waving to their families, nudging each other, gazing off into space, a few doing nasal maintenance, some loudly singing while others shyly murmured, fidgeting, bouncing … you know the scene … absolutely delightful!
Needless to say, I teared up a few times as I watched those innocent children sing about peace and love and goodwill to mankind. If only we could have every adult in the world doing the same.
They also sang Hanukkah songs as well as a beautiful Diwali selection that was accompanied by a sitar. All the cultural traditions represented in their school community that are celebrated at this time of year were honoured. As they should be.
How timely that the concert was today when I have one of my most favourite people visiting here and she surprised me by writing a post about traditions at this time of year around the world. I want to tell you that Tameri Etherton is one of the nicest, brightest, most thoughtful and seriously hilarious women I have never met … True! At least not in person. Our friendship has blossomed since the summer of 2011 when we were both enrolled in one of Kristen Lamb’s well-known online blogging courses. We had the great good fortune to bond with an amazing writing group that has become a family. The in-person meeting will happen this summer at the RWA annual conference in Atlanta, if all goes as planned. Woohoo! It’s a party waiting to happen!
Tameri is a talented writer whose blog is always a great spot to visit and you can do that by clicking right here.We are all eagerly awaiting the pending release of her first novel!
So, with even greater trumpet fanfare than usual, accompanied by a magnificent and festive drumroll … please welcome Tameri (I notice she is quite restrained and behaving herself today … guess she’s keeping her eye on Santa’s naughty list)!
When Patricia first invited me to be a guest on her blog, I was thrilled. I mean, Patricia Sands! International Woman of Mystery! (Note from Patricia – LOL,okay Tameri, I liked it better when you called me the Kickass Crush of The Month on your blog!)
Then a moment of panic set in. What would I blog about?
I knew that it had to be something international and since we’re so close to Christmas, which I adore, I figured it might be fun to write about some different customs around the world. Thank you, Patricia, for giving me this chance to hang out with your readers and have some Christmas fun!
What better place to start our Christmas World Tour than in France, since it’s practically Patricia’s second home.
In France they call Christmas Noël and Santa is Père Noël. Father Christmas, how romantic is that? I love it.
Instead of hanging stockings by the fire with care, children in France put out their shoes on Christmas Eve for Père Noël to fill with fruit, nuts, and small toys. Am I the only one thinking those children should find their cleanest, largest boots to put out? You can’t put many toys in dainty slippers, now can you?
The focal point of most French homes’ decorations is the nativity, not the tree like in the US.
Over in Australia they decorate trees, but also have a Christmas Bush that they will surround themselves with when they go out caroling. In 1937 Carols by Candlelight began in Melbourne and today in excess of 10,000 people will join in to sing their favorite Christmas songs. I bet that sounds amazing.
Something you won’t find in Australia? A white Christmas. Since it’s summer there, you might see Santa arriving by surfboard and it isn’t uncommon to find families having a traditional Christmas dinner on the beach. Can you imagine swimming or playing cricket in the back garden on Christmas Day?
I can, but then, I live in Southern California, so unwrapping gifts in 80 degrees plus weather isn’t surprising to us.
The Aussies partake of a similar meal to the US with turkey, ham, and pork dishes. Their traditional dessert is plum pudding, which is neither made with plums or is a pudding. It’s more like a fruitcake. Sort of. The coolest thing about the pudding? It’s served flaming! Back during the Australian gold rush, a nugget of gold was baked into the pudding. Now days, a small trinket is inserted before baking. Whoever finds the favor is said to enjoy good luck.
In Ireland they won’t be surfing on Christmas Day, but they will be celebrating the second of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Yes, you read that right. Traditionally, the twelve days referred to in the popular song start on Christmas Eve and continue until January 6th, when Epiphany is celebrated.
December 26th is the Wren Boys Procession when children in Ireland go door to door singing carols. They carry a stick topped with a holly bush and a wren. They used to have a dead wren tied to the stick, but thankfully, now they use a fake one. When they finish singing, the children will ask for money for the ‘starving wren’. Sounds a bit like Halloween, to me! The best part? The kids get to keep the money.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little jaunt around the world. There are many more customs and traditions we didn’t have time to explore, but are equally fascinating!
This holiday season, no matter what your tradition or customs, I hope you’ll find joy in the simple things and love for those in all walks of life.
What are some special traditions you have? Do you think you might try some caroling with a fake wren? How about surfing with Santa?
Tameri, you sugarplum fairy, do you have your Christmas tiara all polished up? Thank you for all of this fab information about other Christmas traditions. I’ll bet you will be writing about what I imagine will be over-the-top Etherton traditions on your blog, so send us the link when you do. In the meantime, dear readers, when you visit Tameri’s sparkly blog, A Cup of Tea and Sorcery , you will also find links there to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Go ahead. Do it! You will be very glad you did! She is simply THE best kind of friend!
In case you are still hungering for more Yuletide talk, here’s a cool Christmas website that talks about Christmas in every country around the world.