Christmas Around the World

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Christmas around the World
by Picket Siapuatco

Christmas is the celebration of goodwill and cheer. Across the globe, people celebrate this joyous occasion. It is largely characterised by exchanging gifts with family members and friends as well as by gifts brought by Santa Claus or other mythical figures. Children fervently look for Santa Claus or Father Christmas who is supposed to appear to distribute attractive gifts to children. Santa Claus dresses himself in red and white, has a white and long beard, and carries a bag full of presents.

Each country’s Christmas celebration is unique. For example, Germans leave cookies for the little angelic figure, Christkind. Filipinos attend Misa de Gallo (a nine-day dawn mass novena). Bethlehem, in Israel, the birthplace of Christ, is home to a number of pilgrimages.

Christmas is a great season for all. Christmas hymns, in the form of carols, are sung by choirs in memory of Christ's birth. Shops, hotels, churches, schools, and colleges are all decorated with various types of trimmings, lanterns, coloured paper flowers, or balloons. Nowadays, Christmas is enjoyed and celebrated also by other communities not as a religious belief, but as a festive occasion.

Since Christmas is fast approaching, let us ponder on these words from Charles Dickens: “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys”.

On behalf of the Merlion Times Editorial Staff, we wish you a joyous and worthwhile Christmas and a prosperous 2013!
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