Christmas in Bulgary
In Bulgary relatives, friends and family members gather around the New Year table and the lights are turned off in all the houses for three minutes. At that time all the people around the table kiss each other. Nobody says whom he kissed. Those New Year kisses are kept by the New year darkness.
Christmas in Russia
The Russian people used to celebrate New Year on the 1st of September. The Russian people started to celebrate New Year on the 1st of January from 1699 like their neighbours in the years of Petros the Great. The main hero of the New Year in Russia is Grandpa of Frost (Ded Moroz). He is a very kind and generous grandpa who comes with his grand-daughter and brings a lot of presents to the kids. But in the past he was known as the incarnation of evil who used to wander in the deserts freezing the passengers. But in Russian Literature there was also Morozka who was the incarnation of kindness and goodness.
Christmas in Spain
Christmas in Spain is quite a treat. There are celebrations and religious services from mid-December through January 6. There is the giant multi-billion euro lottery, splendid nativity scenes, lots of great food, and one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations you are likely to see. As early as October, traditional sweets such as turron, an almond and honey confection, and marzipan appeared in supermarkets. But the real events start in December. December 22 — The Christmas Lottery takes place. “El Gordo” (the fat one) is the biggest lottery in the world and one of the oldest, having started in 1812. All of Spain stops for the big draw on December 22 and the lottery, which tends to be played by groups as the price of tickets is so high, has turned around the fortunes of whole villages.
- December 24 — Christmas Eve (Noche Buena in Spanish).
- December 25 — Christmas Day (Navidad in Spanish).
- December 31 — New Year’s Eve (Noche Vieja in Spanish).
- January 6 — Three Kings Day, or Dia De Los Reyes in Spanish, is the day the children of Spain receive presents.
Christmas in Georgia
Christmas has always been a special celebration in Georgia. This is the day when people express love, warmth and support in the name of Jesus Christ. On this day each Georgian has a special festive mood. The streets are decorated with beautiful Christmas illuminations and one can hear Christmas carols sung around. In Georgia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7 according to the Julian Calendar and it marks the end of the great fast. Believers usually meet Christmas in the church where special service is held and only afterwards they go and celebrate this day together with their family members and close people. One of the inseparable parts of this day is Traditional Christmas march called Alilo (named after the Georgian Christmas chant that is sang during the procession ). As a rule the march starts in the morning after the special Christmas service held in the churches. Orthodox Christians throughout Georgia take part in this beautiful Christmas event. Christmas trees serve as an important attribute at Georgian Christmas, as well. Specifically for this celebration, chichilaki — a traditional Georgian Christmas Tree is made from dried hazelnut branches that are shaved to form a small coniferous tree. Georgians believe that the shaved tree resembles the famous beard of St. Basil the Great, who is thought to visit people during Christmas similar to the Santa Claus tradition. For Georgians, Chichilaki is considered to be the tree of life, symbolizing hope and belief.
Christmas in Belgium
As in The Netherlands, children in Belgium believe that ‘Saint Nicholas’ (Walloon) brings them presents on December 5th and 6th, St. Nicholas’ Eve and St. Nicholas’ Day. Children put their shoes in front of the fireplace, together something for Sinterklaas like a drawing or biscuits; they might also leave a carrot for Sinterklass’s horse. Then in the night, Sinterklaas arrives on the roof on his horse with Zwarte Piet. Zwarte Piet climbs down the chimney and leaves the presents in and around the shoes. Sinterklaas has a book in which he keeps all the names of the children and it tells if they’ve been bad or good. Children are told that if they’ve been bad, Zwarte Piet will put you in his sack and take you back to Spain! Traditional foods that are left for Sinterklaas include tangerines, gingerbread, chocolate and ‘mokjes’ (cookies made in the shapes of letters. There are lots of songs that children sing about Sinterklaas. Different regions of Belgium have different customs and traditions about St. Nicholas. On Christmas Eve (‘Kerstavond’ in Flemish and ‘le réveillion de Noël’ in Walloon), a special meal is eaten by most families. It starts with a drink (apéritif) and ‘nibbles’, followed by a starter course such as sea-food, and then stuffed turkey. The dessert is ‘Kerststronk’ (Flemish) or ‘la bûche de Noël’ (Walloon) a chocolate Christmas Log made of sponge roll layered with cream. The outside is covered with chocolate butter cream and made to resemble a bark-covered log.