The Befana is celebrated throughout all of Italy, and has become a national icon. In the regions of the Marches, Umbria and Latium, her figure is associated with the Papal States, where the Epiphany held the most importance. Urbania is thought to be her official home. Every year there is a big festival held to celebrate the holiday. About 30, to 50, people attend the festivities. "Mesopotamia," writes Earl W. Count, "is the very ancient Mother of Civilization. Christmas began there, OVER FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO, as the festival which renewed the world for another year. Songs "Classical" Artist Comments- Billboard Rank Subgenre Messiah George Frideric Handel The classic oratorio, especially popular around Christmastime, praises the Son who saved humanity by telling the stories of the Prophets who foretold his coming to earth, the annunciation to the shepherds of Christ's birth, the Passion of Christ, and finally the resurrection of the dead and Christ's. I like the faith message that I get out of the "literary device" viewpoint. My only minor quibble is that the order of Genesis 1 is close enough to the natural scientific order. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Alejandromagno. Regarding Hebrews, I agree that if we turn from Christ and trust animal sacrifices then we will not be saved.
They then head to church at dawn on Christmas morning. On Christmas Day, there will be colorful musical celebrations which involve the priests dressed in their best robes performing rituals, including dancing and playing drums and other instruments.
Early in the morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white and head to the nearby church. Late in the afternoon there will be the traditional game of Gena, a kind of hockey. According to an Ethiopian legend, the game was being played by the shepherds who were tending their flocks on the night that Jesus was born.
The game is attended by the leader of the community. A prize is awarded to the winner of the Gena game. Most Ethiopians don a traditional Shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. The holiday is followed up by the three-day festival Timkat starting on January 19 and celebrating the baptism of Jesus Christ. Nigerians as a whole tend to prepare various meats in large quantities. In the North several local desserts are also made which is hardly ever found in other parts of Nigeria.
Afterwards, local relatives begin approaching them asking for assistance of some kind, whether financial or not. There are occasional outbreaks of religious conflict. The gift bearer is Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Towns and cities have Carols by Candlelight in the beginning of the festive season where groups of people come together to sing Christmas carols and donate toys and clothing to needy children. The Christmas meal is mince pies, turkey, gammon, beef tongue, turducken, corned beef, green salad,roast beef or a barbecue outdoors.
The meal is finished with Christmas Pudding, Ice cream or trifle. Christmas crackers are used to make noise. However, it is still designated as a public holiday in China's special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau , both former colonies of Western powers with nominal Christian cultural heritage.
In the mainland, the small percentage of Chinese citizens who consider themselves Christians unofficially, and usually privately, observe Christmas.
Many customs, including sending cards, exchanging gifts, and hanging stockings are very similar to Western celebrations. Christmas trees are found in major malls and other public buildings,  and in some homes as well, despite the small living area.
Catholics in Hong Kong can attend Christmas Mass. Its traditions are mostly influenced by the Portuguese since the territory was a colony of Portugal until December 20, Casinos in Macau remain open on Christmas Day.
Christmas masses in Macau's Catholic churches are held in either Chinese or Portuguese. Japan Santa Claus in Kobe , Japan Encouraged by commerce, the secular celebration of Christmas is popular in Japan, though Christmas is not a national holiday. Gifts are sometimes exchanged. Christmas lights decorate cities, and Christmas trees adorn living areas and malls.
A successful advertising campaign in the s made eating at KFC around Christmas a national custom. Its chicken meals are so popular during the season that stores take reservations months in advance.
Some believe that unrecorded celebrations were held before this date, starting in when Saint Francis Xavier arrived in Japan.
Christianity was banned throughout Japan in Christianity in Japan along with Christmas reemerged in the Meiji period. Influenced by America, Christmas parties were held and presents were exchanged. The practice slowly spread, but its proximity to the New Year 's celebrations makes it a smaller focus of attention. From the s, with an expanding economy, and influenced by American TV, Christmas became popular.
The birthday of the current emperor, Akihito , on December 23 is a national holiday. Businesses soon close for the New Year's holidays, reopening after January 3. South Korea Christmas is a public holiday in South Korea.
South Asia This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. August India Christmas decorations for sale Being a British colony until , many British traditions stayed on in India.
Most of the Christians, especially Catholics in India attend the midnight mass. In many of the schools that are run by the Christian missionaries, the children actively participate in Christmas programs.
Also in many non-religious schools, there is tradition of Christmas celebration. Christmas is also increasingly celebrated by other religions in India. The total number of Christians is approximately 2,, in , or 1.
Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant. Christians celebrate Christmas by going from house to house singing carols, and in return the family offers something to the choir.
Their homes are decorated with local Christmas handicrafts while artificial stars signifying the Star of Bethlehem are hung on rooftops. Christmas celebrations are also popular with the urban middle class in the country with hotels, cafes, restaurants and theme parks hosting festivities and special events.
About 20 percent of the population are non-Muslims and anyone caught will face up to five years in jail. Before the Sharia law was passed in , non-Muslim expats were free to celebrate Christmas in Brunei. Most local television channels will broadcast Christmas musical concerts and annual national Christmas celebrations like concerts and Christmas shows which are held by the government. Like other countries, on Christmas Eve, people will go to church for Misa and will go to church again the next morning, and exchanging gifts is a usual tradition for Christians in Indonesia.
In addition to traditional foods, generally every Christmas Day is filled with cookies, like nastar pineapple tart , kastengel from Dutch word kasteengel , or ' putri salju '. Christianity in Malaysia Colourful Christmas greetings in Malaysia Although Christmas is a public holiday in Malaysia , much of the public celebration is commercial in nature and has no overt religious overtones. Occasionally, Christian activist groups do buy newspaper advertorials on Christmas or Easter but this is largely only allowed in English newspapers and permission is not given every year.
The advertorials themselves are usually indirect statements. There has been controversy over whether or not the national government has exerted pressure on Malaysian Christians not to use Christian religious symbols and hymns that specifically mention Jesus Christ.
Christmas in the Philippines Parols are an iconic display in the Philippines during its long Christmas season Christmas in the Philippines,  one of two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia the other one being East Timor , is one of the biggest holidays on the calendar and is widely celebrated. The country has earned the distinction of celebrating the world's longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols heard as early as September 1 when the "Ber Months" season kicks off traditionally.
The season is officially ushered in by the nine-day dawn Masses that start on December Occasionally such displays are left in place even in summer for example the parol representing the "Star of Bethlehem" which led the Three Kings to the newborn Baby Jesus.
Bisperas ng Pasko; Spanish: Family members dine together around 12 midnight on traditional Nochebuena fare, which may include: Some would also open presents at this time. Bisperas ng Bagong Taon; Spanish: In spite of the campaign against firecrackers, many Filipinos still see these as the traditional means to greet the New Year.
The loud noises and sounds of merrymaking are also supposed to drive away bad spirits. Safer methods of merrymaking include banging on pots and pans and blowing on car horns. Folk beliefs also include encouraging children to jump at the stroke of midnight in the belief that they will grow up tall, displaying circular fruit and wearing clothes with dots and other circular designs to symbolize money, eating twelve grapes at 12 midnight for good luck in the twelve months of the year, and opening windows and doors during the first day of the New Year to let in good luck.
Some children leave their shoes out, in the belief that the Three Kings will leave gifts like candy or money inside. The famous Singaporean shopping belt Orchard Road , as well as the Marina Bay area will feature lights and other decorations from early November till early January the part is November 14, all the way until January 5, The Christmas light-up and decorated shopping malls along Orchard Road often attract numerous visitors, locals and tourists alike.
Other than the light-up, other activities such as caroling, concerts and parades can also be experienced in Orchard Road.
In addition, companies in Singapore usually arrange gift exchange programs on the last working day before Christmas. Vietnam Christmas is not a national holiday but is becoming increasingly popular in Vietnam.
Vietnamese may be more accepting of corporate influence because for many, Christmas was never based on personal values to begin with. Instead, it's a time to go out on the town, shop, and take pictures with friends in front of colorful displays, especially on December The reason for this unusual date emerges from ancient history. It also coincides with the Epiphany. When the Gregorian calendar was implemented in , the Armenians rejected the reformed calendar and remained following the Julian Calendar.
Since the Julian calendar is thirteen days ahead of the Gregorian Calendar, when the Armenians of Jerusalem celebrate Christmas on January 6 according to the Julian calendar the Gregorian calendar counts the day as January Christmas Eve is particularly rich in traditions.
Dessert includes dried fruits and nuts, including rojik, which consists of whole shelled walnuts threaded on a string and encased in grape jelly, bastukh a paper-like confection of grape jelly, cornstarch, and flour , etc. This lighter menu is designed to ease the stomach off the week-long fast and prepare it for the rather more substantial Christmas Day dinner. Children take presents of fruits, nuts, and other candies to older relatives. Christmas in the Armenian tradition is a purely religious affair.
Assyrians colloquially call Christmas Eda Zora, meaning "little holiday. In Iraq, for instance, on Christmas Eve, Assyrian families congregate outside of their house and hold lighted candles while a child reads aloud the nativity story.
Then they all sing psalms over a bonfire made of thorn bushes. Folklore says that if the thorns burn to ashes, the family will have good luck. After the fire has been reduced to ashes, the family members will jump three times over the ashes and make a wish.
He blesses one person with a touch. That person touches the next person and the touch passes around until all have felt the touch of peace. These two dishes are only made twice a year: