Today is one of the special days for Christians, celebrated by many people, all around the world. Like many celebrations (e.g. Thingyan in Myanmar, Tet in Vietnam), Christmas is traditionally a time when families come together and share food.
There are however many different Christmas traditions that have developed in different parts of the world. Read about some of them below, and then enter your details in the test sheet to identify the True, False, Not Given statements.
In Japan, not many people are Christians, only about 1 percent of the population. However, Japanese people have embraced a tradition of eating a special bucket of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) “Christmas Chicken” on Christmas Eve (24th December). The KFC Christmas dinner includes cake and champagne, and costs about US$40. Many Japanese order their meals in advance to avoid long queues.
In Wales, at Christmas time, a effigy (= a likeness of a person shaped out of stone or other materials) of a horse figure is carried around the villages and towns. The effigy is called Mari Lwyd, or “Gray Mare,” (mare = female horse) and is usually made with a horse skull, a white sheet, and adorned with colorful ribbons and bells.
In Austria, they have a 'bad Santa' called Krampus, who is part goat, and who punishes children who have misbehaved during the year. On the night before Christmas, adults dress up as Krampus, and often they visit towns and places together on a “Krampus run.” Krampus is usually depicted as hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. His long, pointed tongue lolls out, and he has fangs.
In Sweden, on Christmas Eve, about half of Sweden sits down to watch 'Kalle Anka' which is the 1958 Walt Disney TV special “From All of Us to All of You.” which features Donald Duck wishing people a merry Christmas. Since 1959, the show has been airing without commercials at 3.00pm every December 24 on Sweden’s main public television channel. It is so popular that many people in Sweden can recite lines of the cartoon’s dialogue off by heart (= from memory, without reading)
Whatever you do at Christmas, whether you celebrate it or not, I wish that you and your families are all happy and safe. May you all share in my merit.