“Word Echoes from SANZ”: “Christmas around the World”
Written by Helewise Arends on December 13, 2017
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday around the world.
It is filled with many different secular & religious traditions and customs.
SWEDEN – most people in Scandinavian countries honour St. Lucia (aka St. Lucy) each year on December 13.
It began in Sweden , but spread to Denmark & Finland in the 19th Century. This day marks the beginning of
the Christmas season, referred to as “little Yule”. Traditionally, the oldest daughter in each family rises early
and wakes each of her family members, dressed in a long, white gown with a red sash, and wearing a crown
made of twigs and 9 lighted candles. For the day she is called “Lussi” or “Lussibruden(Lucy bride)”.
The family then eats breakfast in a room lighted with candles. Light(candles) is the main theme of St. Lucia.
According to legend, Lucia lost her eyes while being tortured and is the patron saint of the blind.
NORWAY – Norway is the birthplace of the Yule log. The ancient Norse used the Yule log in their celebration of the
return ot the sun at winter solace. “Yule” came from the Norse word hweol, meaning wheel. The Norse
believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that rolled towards and then away from the earth.
Hence, the fireplace is such a central part of a typical Christmas scene.
GERMANY – Decorating evergreen trees appeared in the 17th century in Strasbourg and this tradition spread to
England after Germany’s Prince Albert married Queen Victoria. The 1st German immigrants decorated
Christmas trees in Pennsylvania in 1820.
MEXICO – In 1828, the American minister to Mexico brought a red-and-green plant from Mexico to America, called a
Poinsettia and by the 1900s they became the symbol of the American holiday season.
ENGLAND – Caroling began in England where wandering musicians would travel from town to town performing for
rich folks and in return the musicians hoped to receive a hot meal or money.
The tradition of sending Christmas cards began when Englishman, John Calcott Horesley, designed a greeting
card ft. festive scenes and a pre-written holiday greeting in the late 1800s.
Celtics started the tradition of the mistletoe. It was hung in homes to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits
and if someone was found standing under the mistletoe, they would be kissed by someone else in the room.
Whatever your Christmas tradition includes, may it be decorated with friends and family that reminds us all that the #SpiritofGiving
starts from the heart.