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  1. 9 Christmas Traditions With Pagan Roots
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Thank you for the informative post. I have a question about Christmas holiday in Italy. Can anyone tell me why my Italian American family kept our tree up till January 15 th? Every year it was the same time. But maybe there was a holy day then that was moved. Thanks, Gina. Italians keep up their Christmas decorations until the Epiphany on January 6th. This is a Catholic holy day, when the three wise men finally made it to see Jesus. It marks the end of the Christmas season here in Italy. Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Thinking of going to Italy? Our free online travel guide will answer any question you might have and if you want to experience some…. A traditional nativity scene, or presepio. Tags act like a local Christmas holidays Italy traditions.

9 Christmas Traditions With Pagan Roots

Bio Latest Posts. Elena Ciprietti. You may also like. November 26, at pm. Beth says:. December 1, at pm. Gil says:. December 22, at am. Francesca Santoro L'hoir says:. December 12, at am. Walks of Italy says:. February 14, at pm. December 16, at pm.

Icelandic Christmas Traditions

February 3, at pm. Robert says:. September 17, at am. October 7, at pm. When it's fried it has a similar texture to an Indian papadum and is consumed with butter - normally as one of the side dishes with smoked lamb during the holiday season. Baking may start as early as the first Sunday of Advent so the family has enough goodies to munch on during the whole month of December , but very often it takes place on one of the Sundays during Advent.

Although Christmas celebrations sort of begin on the first Sunday in Advent, or the 1st of December - or even on the 11th of December when first Santa comes to town - then they really are in full swing by the 23rd of December. Icelanders celebrate official Christmas at 6pm on Christmas Eve, the 24th of December. That means that the 23rd of December takes over as Christmas Eve - the last night before Christmas when everyone is buying their last present, and having a few drinks with their friends.

Personally, this is my favourite evening of all of Christmas. However, there's also a tradition to eat a specific fish dish this evening, called Skate. Unfortunately though, this fish has a really strong stench - one that sets into your clothes and fills up your house.

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So people that have Skate for dinner tend to dress up in their worst clothes during dinner, and then change into their finest clothes before going out. And those hosting a Skate dinner will open up all windows to get the stench out before Christmas Eve. This is the main day. When the clock strikes at , that's when Icelanders ring in Christmas. Before , most of the day is spent delivering presents perhaps even wrapping some last minute , bathing, cooking, laying the table, welcoming family over, nibbling on chocolates and sweets - kids often watching a film while the grown-ups get the dinner ready.

Traditions vary from one household to another. My family always gets together at noon to have Ris A L'Amande - a rice pudding with one almond in it. Whoever gets the almond wins a price, but you can't show the almond until the pudding is finished. I then have my own tradition of going round my friend's houses with a red Santa hat delivering presents. At however, that's when dinner takes place. Presents are opened after dinner. Alternatively, some people choose to attend Mass at , and then have dinner afterwards, but it's also possible to attend a midnight Mass.

Christmas | Origin, Definition, History, & Facts | badufyjuhi.cf

After presents have been opened, some people choose to go to the midnight Mass in their local church, while others stay at home - perhaps enjoying some of their new presents. Books are a common Christmas gift in Iceland, with dozens of new literature being published before each Christmas. There are so many books published before Christmas in Iceland, that it's called a Christmas Book Flood. It's worth noting, that for those without families to celebrate with or with low-income, there is a free Christmas dinner on offer in the City Hall, where a few hundred people come together to celebrate Christmas.

On Christmas Day and Boxing Day Icelanders tend to either meet up with extended families for a family party, or relax and do hardly anything at all. Personally I only have an extended family meet-up party on Boxing Day, so Christmas day normally is spent playing boardgames, watching films, reading books and eating good food.

On Boxing Day however, the entire family on my dad's side will meet up, around 50 people in total, and we'll cook dinner together and play games. Some people meet up with their extended families on Christmas Day - and some will meet one side of the family on Christmas Day and the other on Boxing Day. It's also common to visit cemeteries where loved ones may be resting and bring a wreath, candles or lights. As a result, Icelandic cemeteries are beautifully lit up during the Christmas Holidays. Boxing Day is also known to be a good day to go out partying downtown, after midnight.

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The cards are never printed in advance in the Hallmark fashion but handwritten like in the good old days. She is celebrated on the night between the 12th and the 13th of December, especially in schools, retirement homes, hospitals and other institutions all over Denmark, with small girl processions and traditional singning. Legend has it that Lucia, in order to keep her hands free, wore a wreath with candles on her head so that she could illegally feed the poor christians on the hide in the catacombs of ancient Rome.

As Christmas approaches all kinds of preparations accelerate in each and every Danish home. Remarkably, the old Scandinavian tradition has survived more og less untouched even in these modern times. Cerlainly, Christmas has been commercialized like everywhere else but all Danes - even young and hard core computer freaks - give in to their heritage at this particular time of the year. Everybody tries to participate in the preparation for Christmas Eve, however humble the effort!

The last two weeks before Christmas the great baking period begins - naturally with the kids playing the major rolls. Ginger cookies made from old traditioal recipies, deep fried crullers, vanilla bisquits and gingerbread shaped as hearts and decorated with ribbons - every family has favorite formulas from way back that has to be carried out at this time of the year. While the oven is working overtime all agile persons are concentrated in creating Christmas decorations for the house or the tree and sweetmeats or candies out of marzipan, chocolate fudge, almonds, dates, hazelnuts and crystallized fruits and berries.

Luckily, the demand for clean hands and fingernails is top priority at this time of the ear! Traditionally the Danish Christmas tree is the common spruce type, some call it the Norwegian spruce. In the old days, before central heating, this was fine. All homes were cold and moist and therefore perfectly suited to maintain the green neddles of the spruce. Nowadays most people prefer the Normann spruce.

It not only has softer needles, it also withstands the normal room temperature of modern homes much better. But beware: A true old fashioned Christmas enthusiast will scorn you for choosing anything but the common spruce. Even if it scatters needles all over your house and at New Years Eve looks rather poorly. Families fortunate enough to live close to the woods try to pick and cut their own tree. The ideal setting for any happy family is a weekend outing in mid December with daddy pulling the kids on the sledge with one hand, carrying the axe in the other, and mummy with the sandwiches and the thermo in the backpack - all on the lookout for that perfect tree.

And you have to believe this: They always find it! But of course, most Danes have to by their Christmas tree just around the corner. All over the country special sites have been chosen for just this very important purpose, and in many places it is the Danish boyscouts who control the trade and thus are able to add some funding to their good deeds.

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ChristmasThe most sacred Danish Christmas ritual concerns the lighting of the tree. You have to use real candles with real fire. No electricity, thank you. Of course, a lot of people have treacherously swapped the candles with the much easier and not so dangerous light chains. But, surely, they lack a bit of the original atmosphere. One thing is certain: If you chose to use light chains in stead of candles you have to use uncolored bulbs.

The tree itself is decorated with a silver or gold star on top never an angel , festoons of national flags, cornets with fruit, candies or cookies, small toy music instruments and the entire tree often finished off with scatters of white fairy hair or strips of tin foil. Especially the tin foil will reflect the flickereng light from the candles beautifully, whereas the tow creates a kind of fairytale illusion. But the world famous Danish Design has advanced in this area too, and companies like for exampel Georg Jensen produces very elegant and expensive Christmas decorations every year, loved by collectors and connaisseurs all over the world.

Previously it was the father in the family who was in charge of lighting the Christmas tree. After dinner and the washing up! Then he would invite the rest of the family to solemnly join him and admire the wonderful sight. Nowadays the children take part in all the sacred procedures. It is, comming to think of it, because of the children that Christmas still exists in the way it does, so why not let them be as active as possible? But nobody will give you the tar-and-feather treatment if you sit this one out!

The big festival is Christmas Eve the 24th of December. Just think of New Year the 1st of January!