Christmas Traditions Around the World

Native Bolivians celebrate Christmas more as a harvest festival. Thanks are given for completion of the year's work. They give an account of the work done during the year and propose what is to be done the next year. Christmas tends to become a feast of adoration of the Goddess Mother Earth, who is asked to bring a fruitful harvest, to keep away plagues, and to give a prosperous year.

In Brazil Santa Claus is little known and those who do know of the jolly fellow call him Papa Noel.

The children have no Christmas trees, but they do have a creche or Presepio, representing the Christ-child's birth. Gifts and toys are exchanged during the holidays after which the Presepio is put away until the following Christmas.

In Ecuador the children write letters to the Christ-child and place shoes in the window in which he may place toys as he passes by on Christmas Eve. Noise-making toys are common and are used with much energy on the streets on Christmas morning.

Since the weather is very warm, most celebrations are in the streets. There are firecrackers, brass bands, and dancing. At midnight everyone goes to Mass. after which the family dinner is enjoyed.

In Chile little figures made of clay are placed under the Christmas tree called pesebre. Father Christmas is known as Viejito Pascuero and he would wish everyone a Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Anc Nuevo or Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

In Venezuela on December 16th families bring out their pesebres which is a specially designed and thought out depiction of the nativity scene.

It is a custom to attend at one of nine carol services is observed by most venezuelans. Firecrackers explode and bells ring to call worshippers from bed in the predawn hours. The last of the of the masses takes place on Nochebuena de Navidad Christmas Eve. Families attend a mass on this night and then return home to a huge and fancy dinner.

Mexicans share many traditions with the spanish. Their main Christmas celebration is called La Posada, which is a religious procession that reenacts the search for shelter by joseph and Mary before the birth of Jesus. During the procession, the celebrants go from house to house carrying the images of Mary and Joseph looking for shelter.

Santa Claus is not predominant, but the bright red suit is represented in the traditional flower of the season. This flower is the poinsettia, which has a brilliant red star-shaped bloom. It is believed that a young boy walking to the church to see the nativity scene showing the birth of Jesus had relized on the way that he had no gift to offer the Christ child so he gathered up some plain green branches as he walked in he was laughed at but upon placing the branches near the manger they started to bloom a bright red poinsettia flower on each branch.

Mexicans attend a midnight mass service which is called la misa del gallo or "the rooster's mass," and at the mass they sing lullabies to Jesus.