From America to the Netherlands people celebrate the holiday season with special rituals and celebrations. We are going to take a quick tour of some holiday traditions in England, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands and America. If you would like to learn more about special and unique holiday traditions around the world the library has books and movies available for your enjoyment. We also have many audio CD’S to help celebrate this holiday season.
Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.
Families celebrate Sinterklaas’ Feast by singing songs and indulging in a feast, which consists mainly of sweets like marzipan, chocolate initials, pepernoten (ginger biscuits) and hot chocolate with whipped cream.
During holidays in the Victorian era, the English would hang sprigs of mistletoe from ceilings and in doorways. If someone was found standing under the mistletoe, they would be kissed by someone else in the room, behavior not usually demonstrated in Victorian society.
Hoping for presents from Christkind or der Weihnachtsmann, some children also hope that ‘der Nikolaus’ will bring them sweets and chocolate on the 6th of December (St Nicholas’s Day). He comes in the night and puts the presents into the shoes of children, who usually place them by their doors. He might also knock on the door, and the children will have to sing a song, play a song on an instrument or tell a story to St. Nicholas before he gives them their presents.
Most people in Scandinavian countries honor St. Lucia (also known as St. Lucy) each year on December 13. 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 with nine lighted candles.