24 December 2012

Around The World...

Never a practical person, I was dismayed to notice the calendar and realized my plan for a series of  'Around The World Christmas Festivities' posts was not likely to happen. Sigh...
The original idea was to post about six different places (some visited, some still to discover) around the world and introduce their own special Christmas festivities. Ah well...
Practical I am not, a dreamer I shall always be but promises even if only made to myself shall come to pass!
My last four 'tours' follows in one swoop...

Our first stop is in Russia...

Following the Julian calendar Orthodox Russians celebrate Christmas on 7th January (13 days behind our own Gregorian calendar).
Many people abstain from eating meat, eggs or milk a few weeks before Christmas and it is customary to fast until after the first church service on Christmas Eve. However meals are plentiful and very festive. Check out what I mean (HERE)! Natalia and Masha's home is breathtaking for the holidays!

A typical Christmas dinner includes delicacies such as hot roast Pirog (Russian pies made out of meat or cabbage), and Pelmeni (meat dumplings) and most important a special porridge called kutya. The traditional ingredients are wheatberries (or other grains which symbolize hope and immortality), and honey and poppy seeds which ensure happiness, success and peace. The kutya is eaten from a common dish to symbolize unity.

A Christmas ceremony of great significance in Russia is the blessing of individual homes. During Christmastime, a priest visits homes accompanied by boys carrying vessels of Holy water. A little water is sprinkled in each room, which is believed to usher in happiness and fortune to them. 

From there to Portugal...

A very important Christmas tradition in Portugal is setting up the Creche, the representation of Christ's nativity in the stable at Bethlehem.

In every Portuguese house, a piece of oak is kept burning on the hearth all through the Christmas day. This wooden piece is known as the "Cepo de Natal" or the Christmas log.
The Portugese enjoy a feast, called consoada, in the early morning hours of Christmas Day. They set extra places at the table for alminhas a penar ("the souls of the dead").

On 5th of January or Epiphany Eve, children keep their shoes along windowsills and doorways and fill them with carrots and straw. Children wake up in the morning to collect the gifts and the goodies consisting usually of candied fruits and sweet breads.

Then we travel to Armenia...

The Armenian Apostolic Church still uses the old 'Julian' Calendar and so Christmas is celebrated on 6 January. The Christmas holiday season starts on New Year's Eve (31st Decembre) and continues until the old Julian calendar's New Year's Eve on 13th January.
Some people do celebrate on 25th Decembre, but not Christmas but Soorb Stepanos Day (St Steven's day) celebrated on 26th Decembre (Boxing Day in th UK).

Traditional Holiday foods in Armenia include Anooshaboor (Armenian Christmas Pudding), Khozee bood (glazed ham) and dried fruits. Every house is ready with lots of sweets because anyone might knock on the door and come in for a party!

On a special note: The evening of 5th January, before the Divine Liturgy of Armenian Christmas Eve (Jrakalooyts), three young boys and a deacon alternately chant the biblical story of the Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace from the Book of Daniel. Since the earliest years of Christendom, Armenians have chanted this Old Testament story on the eve of Christmas and Easter.

And finally we stop in Holland...

Prior to Christmas Day, many Dutch people decorate their homes and gardens with Christmas trees. In the Netherlands the Christmas tree is called the paradise tree.
Many people attend church services on this day and spend the rest of the day quietly in the company of family or close friends. Public life during Christmas is in fact, a quite one in Netherlands.
SinterKlaas or St. Nicholas's feast, held on 6th Decembre in the Netherlands and elsewhere, is a popular children's holiday. The Netherlands have long been a country of sailors and Saint Nicholas, believed to be the patron saint of sailors, is regarded here very highly.

A Christmas dinner might consist of North Sea shrimps (the best!), smoked fish (especially salmon and eel), soup, roast or stewed poultry or meat, such as duck, turkey, beef, wild boar or venison, and some choicest seasonal vegetables and perhaps a Yule log.

Vrolijk kerstfeest!

Christmas celebrations around the World...
As one, we pray...for Love, Peace and Charity...

A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...


  1. Joyeux Noel Noelle !!
    Quelle sympas message!! et très intéressent!!
    Merci beaucoup de mettre la ligne d`enternt sur nous ma mère et moi. Ma mère est tomber malade et quand j`ai la montrée votre message ça fait vraiment plaisir et elle était très contante et elle vous envoi beaucoup de bisous!! :* Moi aussi je suis très contante merci beaucoup!! :0)
    Bonne fête!! :*
    xxx Maria xxx

  2. Dear Masha, please tell your Mum I hope she is soon recovered and able to enjoy the festivities.
    Best wishes to all and glad you liked the post! I meant every word!
    God bless,

    1. Merci beaucoup!! Je va lui dire!! :*

      P.S.: Et j`était vraiment surpris,et contante que vous parlée de la religion Orthodoxe !!

      Bonne soirée!!
      xxx Maria xxx

  3. Thank you, Noelle for such an interesting post! It`s a great tour around the world :o) Such a peaceful and warm reading :o) Thank you for linking my blog too, I`m so touched :o)
    Have a wonderful time, dear friend. Best wishes for the New Year from all my heart :o)
    lot of love from Russia
    Natasha & Fam


I love to share dreams and always enjoy meeting kindred spirits!
Thank you for stopping by!