I don’t know about you but when it comes to foreign exchange students I like to ask a lot of questions about their countries, and around this time one question that might pop up is, Do you celebrate Christmas in your country and if you do what are some traditions and customs you have?
Everyone here knows how we celebrate Christmas in the United States, even one of you in your own country. I’m going to be explaining what the traditions and customs are in Turkey (which Saint Nick originated from), Russia, Germany, Australia and Jamaica during what we call the holiday season.
The country I will start of with is Turkey because this is where Saint Nick or Santa Claus originated from. Unlike the Santa Claus in the United States, Turkey’s St. Nicholas is a tall thin man, dressed up in a hooded robe. In Myra, a city in Turkey, there is a statue of him with a beard, holding a bag of toys and around him are children. For three days around the week of Dec. 6th ( which is saints official feast day) there is a festival celebrating Christmas. Christmas is a Christian tradition and even though there is a big amount of Jewish and Christian people in Turkey, most are Islam. Which means many people in Turkey do not celebrate Christmas. In Turkey, Christmas isn’t even a major holiday. Their main celebration in December is the coming of the New Year. Since the last decade or two the people in Turkey have been decorating pine trees for the New Year. Also neighborhoods gather in a circle during the New Year to watch fireworks and drink champagne.
In Russia, St. Nicholas is really popular. The story behind St. Nick is that a prince went to a different city to be baptized and he came back to tell the town of amazing things that St. Nicholas had done for him. In fact, still today Nicholas is a very popular name for boys. Christians in Russia mostly belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church. In Russia, Christmas eve