Christianity is the dominant religion in many parts of the world, but Christmastime traditions vary across cultures. See if you can identify some of these traditions and who celebrates them.
Christianity is the predominant religion of the Americas, Europe, Russia and many parts of Africa, but Christmas celebrations vary greatly from place to place. See if you can name the country associated with each of the following traditions or facts. Use the word bank below. No peeking! Answers at bottom.
• Czech Republic
• South Africa
1. Children in this country know about a witch named Befana, who drops gifts through the chimney on Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.
2. In what country is the “Posada” street procession, which portrays Mary and Joseph looking for an inn, performed by children for nine nights before concluding with a Christmas Eve church service, party and fireworks?
3. In which country is Santa Claus called Père Noël?
4. In what country do the men celebrate Christmas by playing a fast-paced game with sticks and wooden balls?
5. The Declaration of Christmas Peace has been read just before noon, on Christmas Eve, nearly every year since the 1300s, in which country?
6. In what country is there a tradition of roller-skating to early morning Mass each day during the week before Christmas?
7. If mince pies, pigs in blankets, trifle, bread sauce and Christmas pudding are on the Christmas menu, and you’re “pulling crackers,” you’re likely to be in what country?
8. If Malva or Lekker Pudding is on the Christmas dinner menu, what country are you in?
9. In what country is it a Christmas tradition for four children (three dressed like wisemen, the fourth carrying a Star of Bethlehem) to go from house to house singing and collecting money for charity?
10. If you attend The Mass of the Rooster, leave straw for tired camels in your shoes on Christmas Eve, and eat turron (almond candy), where are you?
11. In what nation do parents secretly place baby Jesus in his manger and gifts beneath a Christmas tree, before the family goes to Mass after a Christmas Eve meal?
12. In what country is garlic an essential element of the Christmas dinner, symbolizing strength and protection?
13. In this country, you’d likely head to the sauna on Christmas Eve.
14. Where is it a custom to attend a very early church service called “Plygain” (daybreak) between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., in which men sing carols, a cappella, in three- or four-part harmony?
15. In this country, a peeled almond is hidden in a festive rice pudding called Risgryngrot. The person who finds it is believed to be married within the year, or gets to make a wish.
16. In what country do families work together to build a beautiful nativity scene decorated with sawdust dyed in bright colors?
17. In what country do Father Frost and his granddaughter, Snegurochka, deliver gifts to children on New Year’s Eve?
18. In this country, people give gifts to orphanages and hospitals, rather than to each other, and St. Nicholas is regarded as the patron saint of sailors.
19. In what country are mince pies and a bottle of Guinness left out for Santa on Christmas Eve?
20. What country stopped celebrating Christmas for 400 years after the Reformation, and then revived its traditions in the 1960s?
8. South Africa
12. Czech Republic