CHRISTMAS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES Kolyada E.A. Christmas in India Christian community in India celebrate Christmas with pomp, gaiety and devotion. Celebrations of Christmas festival begin on the eve of Christmas on 24th of December and continue till New Year's Day. Christmas Day called 'Bada Din' (Big Day) in Hindi is a national holiday in India and people from all religions join their Christian friends to make the most of the joyous celebrations. Preparations for Christmas Preparations begin at least a month in advance. People clean the house to give it a fresh new look. Ladies start preparations for the traditional Christmas cake. Hectic shopping activity takes place as everyone buys new clothes for the festival. Christmas Gifts are also bought for friends, relatives and kids in the family. In South India Christians light clay lamps on the rooftops and walls of their houses, the same way as Hindus decorate their homes during the Diwali Festival. In several states of India a popular custom is to decorate banana or mango tree instead of traditional pine tree. In northwest India, the tribal Christians of the Bhil tribe go out night after night for a week during Christmas to sing their equivalent of carols the whole night through. CHRISTMAS IN GOA Most exhilarating celebration of Christmas can be seen here. A lot of tourists come to the beaches Goa during Christmas festival to watch Goa at its cultural best. One can enjoy Goa music and dance during Christmas festivities. Catholics in Goa participate in the traditional midnight mass services locally called Missa de Galo or Cock Crow as they go on well in the morning. The Carnival is the most important event at Goa. This is similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Christmas in Portugal The country of Portugal do celebrate Christmas, because their main religion is Catholicism. They sing Christmas songs like "Happy Christmas", "Silent Night", "White Christmas". The Portuguese, on Christmas eat boiled cod fish, and they also eat turkey for lunch. The people of Portugal open their presents on midnight, they also decorate their house with paper ribbons, candles, flowers. Christmas in Italy Celebration lasts for three weeks, from December 6th to Christmas Eve, beginning with a novena, or nine-day period of religious devotion. The celebrations end with the feast of Epiphany on January 6th. During the novena, children go from house to house to recite Christmas poems in return for small coins with which they buy sweets. In another Italian tradition, children write letters to their parents, extending wishes for a wonderful Christmas celebration and including promises that they will be good. December 24th is a day of abstinence from meat, but the evening meal is usually a lavish banquet. It generally includes capitone, a dish made with fried eels. A traditional vegetable dish is cardoni, of which Jerusalem artichokes and eggs are the chief ingredients. Sweets include torrone, a nougat candy, and cannoli, or pastries filled with cream cheese. Christmas in Africa Christmas day begins with groups of carolers walking to and fro through the village, along the roadway, by the houses of the missionaries, singing the lovely carols known the world around. Christmas in South Africa is a summer holiday. There is no snow, but it has many flowers, many beautiful varieties of cultivated and wild flowers being in their full pride. Dinner is eaten outdoors with everyone sitting in a circle to share the meal of rice, beef and biscuits. Games are played in the afternoon, and at night fireworks light up the sky. Christmas in Japan The celebration of Christmas in Japan is quite different from western countries. The major religions in Japan are Buddhism and Shinto and the population of Christians is only ВЅ of 1%. In spite of this, Christmas is a popular festival in Japan. The main celebration of the festival revolves around Christmas Eve and not Christmas day. Though December 25th is not a national holiday in Japan, Japanese tend to celebrate Christmas especially in a commercial style. People of this country celebrate this festival by eating a 'Christmas cake'. One can find many variety of Christmas cakes on this occasion. Exchange of Christmas Gifts Exchange of Christmas gifts is common among Japanese on this occasion. Within the family parents give presents to their children, but the children do not give presents to the parents. Reason behind this is that only Santa bring presents for all. Like US and Australia, families also have a Christmas tree on this occasion and now having lights on the outside of house has become more popular. Christmas in France Unique and delightful Christmas traditions are followed in France. The centre of attraction in all homes is the Nativity scene that is decorated with cute little clay figures called 'Santons' or 'Little Saints'. These colourful little saints are a special and age old feature of Christmas in France and are prepared all round the year by skilled craftsmen in the south of France. Popular Santons include shepherds, Magi, Holy Family besides local characters and dignitaries. Christmas Tree is not so popular but it is symbolic presence can be felt in the Christmas Cake. The traditional French Christmas Cake is prepared in the shape of Yule log and is called the buche de Nol, meaning "Christmas LogвЂњ. On the eve of Christmas, children leave their wooden clogs called sabots by the fireplace so that their favorite Christ Child or Pere Noel could fill it with gifts. Children believe that Pere Noel travels with his companion Pre Fouettard, who tells Pere Noel about the behavior of each child in the past year. Adults usually wait until New Year's Day to exchange gifts. Christmas in Australia There is summer-like weather during December in Australia, and most Australian families go away and spend their holidays in a resort or on the beach. Swimming is always popular. Australians also sing carols by candlelight and decorate their homes with flowers and other plants. Generally, Christmas is celebrated along traditional lines and families often travel great distances to be together. Church is attended in great mass on Christmas Day. Services are often held very early in the morning. Many carols sung are Australian, celebrating Christ's birth with an imagery drawn from the Australian Christmas Bush, which flowers at Christmas. Other songs sung and listened to are about Snow and Snowmen.