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I Tell about the differences between parties in your country and in the UK.

5. Extra Activities: Celebration of Christmas
5a Below are the descriptions of how people in different countries celebrate Christmas. Read the texts and match them with the countries. · France · Brazil · Japan · Mexico · Italy

5b Mark the words and phrases denoting the objects/events peculiar for every country.

5c Mark the words and phrases denoting the objects/events common for all the countries.


The festivities start on December 16. Each night for nine nights before Christmas, families go to each other's homes for parties, or posadas. Each posada starts with a parade of all the guests. The paraders go to a door of the host's house and knock. The host calls out that there is no room in his house. The guests continue to sing and knock, and finally they are invited in. The holy figures are placed on an altar and the people pray and sing.

On Christmas Eve, the largest posada of all is held. There are fireworks and noisemakers. At midnight, the people go to church. After church, a large feast is held. Sometimes gifts are exchanged, but children often wait until King's Day (6 Jan) to receive gifts.


In this country Christmas arrives at the beginning of summer. There is no snow or cold, but in spite of the heat, Santa Claus known here as "Papai Noel" wears the traditional costume as seen in countries where it is winter. The celebration runs from December 25th to Jan 6th (Three Kings' Day), lasting 12 days. People attend Mass on Christmas Eve, where the Christmas story is retold. One week later on New Year's Eve, many people will flock to Copacabana beach and participate in an African spiritualist ceremony that honors 'Lemanja', the goddess of the sea. Then on Epiphany or Three Kings' Day Children put their shoes beside the window or outside the door, hoping to find them filled with treats the next day, supposedly by the three wise men. This officially ends the Christmas season.




Most families enjoy two creches (Nativity Scene). The first is in their own church. The other is at home. Holly and greens are purchased for a backdrop. A lighted star is always suspended over the creche. The family gathers around and sings carols as the Jesus is placed in the manger. The three kings are placed there on Epiphany eve, (6 Jan). A special cookie is baked. Some feel it must first be shared with needy people.

Christmas Eve is for gift giving, Shoes are left by the fire to be filled by Pere Noel. Birch sticks are sometimes left as a reminder to be good. Ashes from the Yule log are saved and used during the year to ward off sickness, or other misfortunes.

The children go to bed early to dream of their Christmas miracle. They place wooden shoes near the fireplace or under the tree. The shoes are filled with candies, oranges and chestnuts. Christmas presents are given on New Year's Day.


Several days before Christmas, children go door to door singing favorite Christmas carols. They are often accompanied by pipers wearing bright red jackets and broad-brimmed hats with red tassels. They carry bagpipes, flutes and oboes, on which they play sweet holiday music. On Christmas Eve, many candles are lit as the children in the family take turns telling the wonderful story of Christmas and the birth of the holy "Bambino."

At this time, families gather around their beloved "Presepio," a shrine to the Holy Child, and pray. After a 24-hour fast, all members of the family then sit down to a feast of delicious lasagna and spaghetti. On the 12th day of the holidays (6 Jan) a kindly old witch known as "La Befana" brings gifts to the children. La Bafana is often shown as being old and ugly, but children love her very much. That is unless they have been naughty, for then their shoes will be filled with coal and ashes instead of candy and gifts.


This is not a predominantly Christian country, but Christmas has become a holiday that many people there enjoy. Homes are decorated with evergreens, special meals are prepared, and Christmas songs sung. Santa, called Hoteisho, may visit some of the homes. Children believe that he has eyes on the back of his head so he can see all the good and bad things they do. More than Christmas, children look forward to New Year's Day. All the homes are cleaned and scrubbed, then decorated with evergreens, bamboo, or flowers. Special rice cakes are made. Everyone pays all their bills, so that they will not be starting the new year in debt. On New Year's Eve, temple bells ring 108 times to show the old year is over and the new one is beginning. People put good luck poems under their pillows as they go to bed to bring good fortune in the coming year. On New Year's Day everyone wears their finest clothes. Gifts are often exchanged at this time.


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