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Christmas Around the World

Me Too.......

 

This fall the #MeToo movement created a wave of awareness and brave confrontations over sexual harassment and assault across our nation. The #MeToo movement brought a sense of unity among victims and has now been named "Time Magazine's" Person of the Year for 2017.

 

But.... before Me Too was a world-changing movement it was a staff motto for Musana Community Development Organization in Uganda. I got to serve alongside this ministry last summer. On Fridays (casual day), I would see the staff sporting their Me Too shirts from Flat Irons church in Colorado Springs. They wore them to remind them to live as their authentic selves and that if we live this way we will find profound, lasting unity.

 

Over the next few weeks, the world will raise up its voice in celebration.  My prayer is that this holiday season we can live out more Me Too across the globe. That we would be able to see past our differences, look at each other and say Me Too.

 

 

 

Ukraine

Children dress in traditional costume and sing carols as part of Orthodox Christmas.

 

Ukraine, like most of Eastern Europe, follows the Orthodox Christmas tradition and celebrates the birth of Christ on January 7th.  On this day a 40-day fast comes to an end with a 12 dish meal. Following the meal, children dress up and go caroling. 

People in Ukraine also celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 19th.  It is on this day that they celebrate the more secular traditions of Christmas like; gift giving and Christmas trees decorated with spider webs. 

 

 

Israel

Catholics worship at the Church of the Nativity in Israel

 

Israel is the home of three major world religions and three different religious holidays in December. Christians from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Israel light candles and worship at the Church of the Nativity. The Church of the Nativity is located in the West Bank and thought to be the birthplace of Christ.

 

 

Italy

Swiss guards parade before the arrival of Pope Francis for the traditional "Urbi et Orbi".

 

Urbi et Orbi ("to the City [of Rome] and to the World") is a blessing given to the city of Rome and to the entire world by the Pope on certain religious holidays like Christmas and Easter. The difference between this and other blessings is that this one includes a special indulgence for those receiving it directly there in the Square or through the media.

 

 

Kenya

Kenyans customarily travel to their home village at the beginning of December to spend the entire month with family.

 

In Kenya, people try to be home for Christmas Eve so that they can help with the hours of Christmas meal preparations. Houses and churches are often decorated with colorful balloons, ribbons, paper decorations, flowers and green leaves. Kenyans usually go to church at midnight. After church, the real festivities begin. Gifts are rarely exchanged. And if Santa arrives he is on a camel or bike.

 

 

Lebanon

Assyrian Christians, from Syria and Iraq, receive communion during a Christmas mass at Saint Georges church in an eastern suburb of the Lebanese capital Beirut.

 

In Lebanon the commercial, western Christmas takes second stage to the religious traditions. About 35% of the population is Christian (Maronite Catholic).  Instead of a tree; these Christians build manger scenes in their homes called a Nativity Crib. The crib scene then becomes a focus for the prayer of people in the house. It is also common to attend midnight mass.

 

Japan

Getting into the Christmas Spirit, two Japanese Santas clean the windows of a Tokyo hotel on December 20.

 

For the Japanese, Christmas is known more as a time to spread happiness, rather than a religious celebration. Christmas Eve is typically celebrated more than Christmas Day and is seen as a romantic day, in which couples spend together and exchange presents. 

 

 

China

A color lit shopping mall in Beijing

 

In China, most people only know a few things about Christmas. Christmas is primarily celebrated in major cities. In these big cities, there are Christmas Trees, lights and other decorations on the streets and in department stores. The traditional gift given at Christmas is an apple wrapped in colorful paper.

 

 

India

Christmas on the beach, Goa

 

In India, only 2% of the population is Christian, so Christmas is considered a small festival. Christmas is primarily celebrated in Goa and Mumbai with more western traditions such as plastic trees, midnight mass caroling, and poultry feasts. You will also see star-shaped lanterns lining the streets.

 

 

Mexico

Traditional Las Posadas in Mexico City

 

Las Posadas (The Inns) is a 400-year-old tradition in cities and towns across Mexico, the United States, and Latin America. It is a nine-day festival that leads up to Christmas. Each evening during the festival, a small child dressed as an angel leads a procession through the streets of the town. The procession is made up of children dressed in silver and gold robes carrying candles and images of Mary and Joseph riding a donkey.

 

 

 

 

Nigeria

 

During a Nigerian Christmas time, children expect a new cloth, called a “Christmas cloth,” from their parents. The new Christmas cloth is what most children, and some parents who still enjoy the tradition, wear on Christmas day. Children then go from house to house in the neighborhood getting Christmas gifts, usually in the form of small amounts of money. Children use most of the money to buy firecrackers.

 

 

You receive a Christmas blessing .... Me Too

You exchange gifts ..... Me Too

You are exhausted  from Christmas preparation .... Me Too

You spend time with family and loved ones .... Me Too

You grieve the loss of loved ones at Christmas ..... Me Too

You enjoy the season of lights .... Me Too

You feel stressed about finances at Christmas .... Me Too

You spend time reflecting on Christ's birth .... Me Too

You hate holiday traffic .... Me Too

 

 

 

 

 

 

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