Quiz: Christmas Customs Around the World
In Syria, Christian children receive their gifts from whom?
- The Three Wise Men traveled to Bethlehem in a camel caravan. The smallest camel was exhausted by the long journey, but because he wanted to see the Christ Child so much, Jesus blessed him with renewed strength and a long life. Every year he brings gifts for the children, who learn from his example that even the most insignificant creature is important to God.
In Sweden, the Christmas season begins on December 13, the feast day of St. Lucia. On this day it is traditional for the eldest daughter in every family
- In addition to the wreath, the young woman also wears a white robe with a red sash and (carefully) carries coffee and special pastries to family members for breakfast in their rooms. St. Lucia, whose name means "light," was a Christian martyr who died in the 4th century A.D. She is known as the Queen of Light, and her feast day originally marked the winter solstice.
The first nativity scene was displayed in 1223 by St. Francis of Assisi in which country?
In Mexico, the pastorelas are
- This custom originated in the plays that early missionaries in Mexico presented to teach the native people about Jesus. The pastorelas are performed during the nine days of posadas, or parties, leading up to Christmas.
Bonus: Orthodox churches that follow the old Julian calendar will celebrate Christmas on
- The Julian calendar now lags 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, which means December 25 (Julian) falls on January 7 (Gregorian). December 6 is St. Nicholas's feast day, and January 6 is Epiphany.
In which country is a Yule log-shaped cake called a "Bûche de Noel" traditionally served?
- The cake (as well as many other delicious dishes) is eaten at "le reveillon," which is a supper feast served usually after midnight mass or on Christmas Day in many French-speaking countries.
Christians in China call Santa Claus Dun Che Lao Ren, which means
- Christians are a small minority in China, which is officially atheist (the traditional religion contains elements of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism). For most Chinese, the major winter celebration is the New Year, or Spring Festival, which occurs in January or February.
Which country is home to the killantzaroi, goblins that appear only during the 12-day period between Christmas and Epiphany?
- These mischievous pranksters are believed to come into people's houses through the chimneys.
In Israel, special celebrations are held at the site of Jesus's birth. In which town or city do these celebrations take place?
- Located in the West Bank area, Bethlehem is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims. In the 4th century A.D., the emperor Constantine built the Church of the Nativity above the cave that is believed to be the manger where Jesus was born. At Christmastime the church is the scene of numerous processions and observances.
In Belgium, St. Nicholas pays how many visits to each house?
- In Belgium, St. Nicholas pays two visits to each house. On December 4 he comes to find out how each child has behaved. On the evening of December 6 (the feast day of St. Nicholas), he returns to leave presents for those who have been good, and he leaves switches for those who have been bad.
Brazilians celebrate Christmas partly by
- Christmas comes at the beginning of the summer season in Brazil, which is located in the Southern Hemisphere.