пятница, 17 декабря 2010 г.

“Put your problems on probation, Run your troubles off the track, throw your worries out the window, it is Christmas time again” This quote represents the maddening impatience with which people wait for their favorite winter festival, yes! Christmas has arrived to take away those winter blues, and replace those dowdy moods with an atmosphere of hope and grandeur. It is that fun filled time of the year when the regular banalities of life seem like a passing phase, and you carry on with life amidst joyful worries of Christmas trees, presents, and turkey. All this fun and frolic aside, for those of you who are the curious sorts, it also poses a couple of questions. It makes you wonder how this wonderful festival came into existence. When did it start? Was it always like this? If not, how different was it? Here are some answers to these tiring questions that tweak your brain and give you a better understanding of the festival you love.



Grand Mom’s Biblical Version

To start off with, let us begin with your granny’s version of the tale; a really long time ago, 2000 years ago to be precise, there was a nice girl called Mary. Mary loved praying and one day as she sat by her small wooden bed and prayed, a stranger appeared and stood before her. Mary of course was scared but the stranger told her not to be afraid. The stranger was the angel Gabriel and he bore a message for her. The angel told her that she would have a son. At this point of time as a child, you probably screamed, “the son is Jesus” which is pretty obvious, but however the story doesn’t end here. The angel Gabriel also went to another person that night, the angel went to a man called Joseph, he asked Joseph to marry Mary. Joseph and Mary got married and she soon gave to birth to Jesus in a place called Bethlehem on the 25th December, the same day we celebrate Christmas. 

Chrsitmas Traditions & Celebrations

Christmas traditions and customs have become increasingly commercialized, yet, the old-world rituals make Christmas a new alacrity every year and infuse true enthusiasm in the Christmas celebrations. The traditions that are followed mainly focus on the birth of Christ and the joy of the precious moment. The vast differences are mostly due to other regional influences and people may celebrate Christmas by reading Bible and scriptures or make it more musical or perform living nativity, but the main theme is to involve the children and let them know about why Christmas is celebrated and the preaching of Christ. Keeping up the custom of giving presents to this day commemorates the three Wise Men who gave precious gifts to Jesus.

Most of the Christmas carols sing about the Christ's birth and the nativity scenes and appearance of angel to the shepherds, the Wise Men and animals surrounding the baby Jesus. Cultural and historical influences have shaped Christian traditions, rituals and customs too. It is said that December 25th was chosen to celebrate the birth of Christ to lead people away from the Roam festival Saturnalia that was celebrated in December and was a time of feasting and parties, which are still a part of Christmas celebrations. The Yule festival of 
northern characterized by dancing around huge bonfires yelling for the winter to end has been replaced by burning of a Yule log in Christmas. The Christmas tree originated in Germany, reached other lands along with Germans while Saint NIcholas, the 4th century saint inspired our modern figure of Santa Claus, was born near Myra, a port on the Mediterranean Sea that linked the seasports of Egypt, Greece and Rome.


He was especially interested that families had enough to eat and a good place to live, that children got ahead in life, and that old people lived ouyt their lives with dignity and respect.

Yet it is as a lover of children that Nicholas is besty remembered today. While he lived, he gave the little ones he met small gifts-some candy, a toy. His kindness which always managed to surprise them, touched theirhearts, and they learned from this holy man what a beautiful thing giving is.

In the figure of Santa Claus, whole name and activity Nicholas inspired, we have this saint with us today.
     
Christmas Stockings

Christmas stockings are empty socks or sock-shaped bags hung by the fireplace on the eve of Christmas. It is mainly the Children who hang the stockings in the hope that Santa Claus will come by the chimney and fill them with toys, candies, coins, etc. The traditional place for hanging the stockings for Christmas is the fireplace. However, in homes without a fireplace, the stockings can be hung anywhere near the Christmas tree. As per the legend, a child who behaves badly during the year receives only a piece of coal in is Christmas stockings. In this section, we have covered the following ideas related to Christmas stockings. 
Santa's Home

Far, far away in the north, amid the endless wilderness of Finnish Lapland, is a mysterious mountain called Korvatunturi. Right at the foot, hidden from human eyes and ears, lives Santa Claus with his wife, his elves and his reindeer.
Santa's home is usually said to be either the north Pole in northen Canada, in Dalecarlia in Sweden, in Greenland or as it's beeen already mentioned, Korvatunturi in Finnish Lapland, depending on the tradition and country. Sometimes his home is in Caesarea or in The Laughing Valley of Hohaho.
New Year is the biggest moment of the year at Santa's home. All nine reindeer are hitched up, the elves are packing Santa's red sack which is magical in that it is bottomless and continues to sta full until Santa has made all his deliveries to all the children around the world. Finally, Santa's sleigh is flying across the sky. The elves wave good-bye. cheering for Santa and the reindeer as the begin their trip to deliver toys.

No one knows how old Santa is they say he stopped counting at 550! He is anxions to keep his secrets; he says they are, after all, an important part of the Christmans story. But one thing we know for sure is that he knows everything about us and our dreams. So don't forget that every time you go to bed and them get up the next morning, New Year is one day closser!!! 

Santa Claus All Over The World





The present-day Christmas traditions are said to have their origin the Victorian period during 1860s. Santa Claus or Father Christmas has many forms around the world that have different personalities, different duties and dresses. Here we are going to discuss some of the characters that play the Christmas angels and can be said similar to our beloved Santa Claus all over the world. In Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, St. Lucia is believed to mark the beginning of the Christmas festivities and is also known as St. Lucy or 'Little Yule'. On this day, the oldest daughter in each family rises early and dresses up in a long white gown with a red sash and a crown made of twigs with nine lighted candles on top. She is known as 'Lussi' for the day and has duty to wake up each family member dressed in this manner.

Finnish, too, choose a girl annually to be the national Lucia and she parades surrounded by torchbearers as the name Lucia, derived from the Latin word 'Lux' means 'Light'. It is said that on St Lucia Day, sun's rays again start to strengthen. According to the legend, Lucia is the patron saint of the blind. She lived in Syracuse in the 4th century when Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. Though, not much is known about her, it is said that she lost her sight because of a Diocletian tortured her much for following Christianity. Other version of the story says that she plucked her own eyes, as she could not bear to see Christians being tortured so cruelly anymore. Scandinavian children leave their shoes on hearth for Saint Nicholas to fill them with treats while American children who known him as Father Christmas hang stockings on their bedpost or near a fireplace on Christmas Eve in the hope of getting gifts from him.
The popularity of St Nicholas reached America in the 18th century with the Dutch families, who knew him as 'Sinter Klaas', which later got transformed to 'Santa Claus'. He used to wear a broad-rimmed hat then with huge Flemish trunk hose. Later, he turned into a joker with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat and yellow stockings
The present-day image of Santa Claus is attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, who wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters in 1822 that was called 'An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.' He lent Santa the image of 'jolly old elf' with a portly figure and the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney. The poem picturized that he flew from house to house on Christmas Eve in 'a miniature sleigh' led by eight flying reindeers and left presents for children who were good and obedient all through the year. Thomas Nast, the famous cartoonist added red clothes and protruding belly in 1881 along with a full, white beard and a sack of toys. He introduced North Pole toy workshop of Santa, his had-working elves, and his wife, Mrs. Claus too.

Swiss children wait for Christ-child on Christmas while Kris Kringle is the one to deliver gifts to German children. In hilly regions of Scandinavia, a jolly elf Jultomten delivers gifts in a sleigh drawn by goats. English children known Santa Claus by the name of Father Christmas while Pere Noel fills the shows of French children with treats and toys dutifully. Russian has an old lady called Babouschka who does the job on 5th of January every year. It is said that this lady was so used to solitude that she did not like being disturbed by the three wise men to ask for directions to Bethlehem. In anger, she gave them the wrong directions to mislead them as her supposed revenge. However, she repented her actions later and went in search of the men to tell them the right path and ask for forgiveness but she was too late and could not find them anymore. Ever since then, she visits Russian children and leave gifts for them in the hope that may be one of them is Baby Jesus who will then forgive her. Italians have a kind witch called La Befana who delivers gifts to the children's stockings while riding a broomstick.

Georgian Father Frost is absolutel different from Santa Claus, with a long white beard, a nabadi (pur traditional costume) and khurjini (a special bag for presents and sweets.) the number of customs and the diversity of traditional) festivals once more indicates that our culture is one of the most outstanding in the world.
Christmas Humor :D:D
Here is the fun and humor section for Christmas.

A Christmas Gift

A guy's wife was nagging him hard for a four-wheeler but still he bought her a beautiful extravagant diamond ring for Christmas. The husband's friend was amazed at his decision and asked him in secret, "Why couldn't you buy a car instead of the diamond ring?" The husband smiled and answered, "Fake cars are not easy to find." 

At Grandma's
 Two little boys went to their grandparents' place for Christmas. At bedtime, the youngest one began to pray at the top of lungs.

"I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE... 
I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE...
 
I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE..."

The older brother exclaimed, "Why are you shouting? Do you thing God is deaf." The little one promptly replied, "Nope! But Grandma certainly is!"

четверг, 16 декабря 2010 г.

Christmas Festivals All Over The World



France
In France, Christmas is always called 'Noël. Everyone has a Christmas tree, sometimes decorated in the old way with red ribbons and real white wax candles. Fir trees in the garden are often decorated too, with lights on all night
Father Christmas is called Père Noël. The Christmas meal is an important family gathering with good meat and the best wine. Not everyone sends Christmas cards.

Germany
Germans love to decorate their houses at Christmas. Many houses will have little wooden frames holding electric candles in their windows, and coloured pictures of paper or plastic which look beautiful from the outside at night. Often too, they will have an 'Adventskranz' - a wreath of leaves with four candles. (Advent - meaning 'coming' - is the 4 week period before Christmas). On each Sunday of Advent, another candle is lit. Most homes will also have little wooden 'cribs' - a small model of the stable where Jesus was born, with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and animals.Father Christmas - 'Der Weihnachtsmann' - brings presents in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve (December 24th), after people have been to a church meeting. The presents are then found under the Christmas tree. One person in the family will ring a bell and call everyone to come to the room. On Christmas Day, fish (carp) or goose will be cooked.

United States
 On Christmas Eve, children hang highly stylized stockings on the mantle of the fireplace, then go to bed early so that they will find presents in the morning. They are told that at midnight Santa will come, bringing a huge bag of toys. He will come down through the chimney, leave candy in the stockings and presents under the Christmas tree (anything from a Pine or Fir to a Spruce), then plug one nostril and shoot up through the chimney. Cookies are traditionally left for him, and a carrot is commonly left for Rudolph the
Red-nosed reindeer,







                 Great Britain
The celebration of the Christmas holiday in Great Britain is not unlike Western Christmas celebrations.  People in Britain prepare for the Christmas holiday throughout the entire month of December, making puddings, baking pies, and decorating their homes and Christmas trees.
The Christmas pudding is an all-important staple in British Christmas customs and traditions.  According to custom, the Christmas pudding must be prepared by the 25th day after the Trinity; it is prepared with 13 ingredients, which stand for Jesus and the twelve disciples. In honor of the journey the wise men made to visit baby Jesus on Christmas day, each member of the family will take turns stirring the Christmas pudding from east to west with a spoon.  Traditionally, the preparer drops a silver coin into the pudding mix before it gels, which is said to bring the family good luck and monetary stability during the coming year, and is said to help keep the family together.
Just like in the West, British families decorate their homes with brightly lit Christmas trees, laden with tinsel, light bulbs, tinsel, candy, and cookies.  During the Christmas season, many children write letters to Santa Claus with their Christmas wishes on them.  It is said that if the letters to Santa are burned in the fireplace, the smoke will carry the message out of the chimney and to the old elf, himself.  Advent calendars, which use cookies or candies to count down the numbers of days until Christmas, are extremely popular in Great Britain.
Giving poinsettia plants as Christmas gifts is also a tradition that originated in this area; the points on the flower represent the points on the star of Bethlehem.  The red petals and white leaves represent the purity of the blood of Christ. As most people don't know, the first Christmas card was created in Great Britain in 1840, and Christmas cards are an important part of the Christmas anticipation.
On Christmas Eve, British children hang stockings on their fireplace mantels just like American children.  If they truly believe that they have not been naughty during the year, Father Christmas will put small toys, candy, and other little goodies in their stockings.
Children in Great Britain celebrate the Christmas holiday on December 25th, as in most other countries.  They open their gifts on Christmas morning, which Father Christmas (also known as Santa Claus).  A big part of Christmas morning in the country is spent in church, worshipping.
A traditional Christmas dinner in Great Britain takes place in the late afternoon or early evening.  The table is festively decorated with candles and other Christmas items, and a great feast is placed before the family.  Their traditional Christmas feast is very similar to that in the United States; the turkey is the most central part of the dinner, along with cranberry sauce, green beans, potatoes, stuffing, and numerous other food items.  For dessert, traditionally families eat mince pies, fruit cake, or the famous Christmas pudding.



                                                                  Georgia

Like many other celebrations and festivals Georgians celebrate Christmas in an original way. On this day Georgian people sing carol Alilo and go door by door with this singing. Children, adults and priests gather money and sweets for charity. They collect different things and give them to the poor people. On christmas Eve Georgian people stand at the wintdows holding candles. Some Georgian people go to the Church to pray all night. It's called "Tsiskari".
Christmas is unimaginable without the national Georgian table. In every familey people try to have every kind of food and Georgian wine.