Parthenia Manor Senior Club
Christmas Around the World
Continued from previous page
In Poland, an elaborate tradition called Wigilia is celebrated. Beginning on Christmas Eve, a strict 24-hour fast is observed which ends with a huge Christmas feast. In honor of the star of Bethlehem, the meal cannot begin until the first star of night appears. Though Christmas in Poland is officially known as Bozz Narodzenie, it is most often referred to as Gwiazdka, which means "little star."
The tradition in Romania is for children to travel from house to house singing carols and reciting poetry and legends throughout the Christmas season. The leader carries a large wooden star called a steaua, which is covered with shiny paper and decorated with bells and colored ribbon. A picture of the Holy Family is pasted in the star's center, and the entire creation is attached to a broomstick or stout pole.
St. Stephen's Day is celebrated in Ireland in a different way, but is similar to Boxing Day in that it also has to do with the solicitation of money. Young men in extravagant dress, sometimes wearing masks, parade noisily through the streets in the Wren Boys' Procession. They carry long pole on top of which is attached a holly bush. The bush supposedly contains a captured wren, and for whose sake the young men beg for money.
Preparation for Christmas in the Congo begins when some group is designated to prepare the annual Christmas pageant.
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. Often people may be awakened by a group of carolers beginning to converge on the house of worship. They return home to make final preparation as to the clothes one must wear and also as to his offering for the Christmas service.
The most important part of their Christmas worship service is the love offering, this is the gift in honor of Jesus. Then at about 8 or 9 o'clock everyone makes their way to the celebration of the birthday of Jesus.
Everyone who attends the service goes forward to lay down their gift upon the raised platform near the Communion table. Not one person will attend the service without giving a gift.
In Bangladesh formerly known as East Pakistan, the Christian village men would cut down scores of banana trees and replant them in pairs along the paths to churches and outside their homes. They would then bend over the huge leaves of the banana trees to form an arch, they would then make small holes in the bamboo poles, fill them with oil and tie them across the arches. When the oil is lit, the way to the church is lit up bright enough for all to see.
In Pakistan 25 December is a public holiday it is however in memory of Jinnah the founder of Pakistan.
In Christian homes they celebrate Christmas with the exchanging of gifts and cards, the wearing of new clothes and the visiting of houses of friends.
They have a church service which is packed on Christmas day which is called Bara Din the big day.
Monthly publication of Parthenia Manor Senior Club
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December 2006 Internet Edition
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