Christmas Celebrations Around the World

Christmas Celebrations Around The World

 AAFSW Virtual Celebration

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 at 11:00 am

The Holiday Season is fast approaching, and we are longing to get together with family and friends! This year, in collaboration with various DC Embassies, AAFSW will offer its annual traditional Christmas event virtually! Please, join AAFSW Webinar for a magical trip around the world and warm your hearts together with all our international friends. 

“Christmas Celebrations Around the World” highlights the traditions of many countries, and this year, especially of Mexico and the Philippines. The Webinar Celebration will start at 11:00am on Tuesday, December 1, 2020.                                                           

The Philippines is known to have the longest Christmas holiday season in the world. Kicking off on September 1st or the start of the so-called ‘BER months’ and ending during the Feast of the Three Kings in January, Christmas in the Philippines is a time for families and friends to come together to celebrate and be thankful for the blessings received throughout the year.

Christmas is the season of peace, happiness, and hope, best symbolized by the “parol”, an ornamental star-shaped lantern that is present in almost every Filipino home and public building during the five months of Christmas festivities. Learn more about the “parol” and Philippine Christmas traditions as the Philippine Embassy presents a short video featuring a Christmas greeting from his Excellency, Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, and participates in a conversation about how Filipinos celebrate the merriest of holidays. 

Mexico is unique in the plethora and variety of customs and traditions celebrating Christmas. Las Posadas (meaning The Inns) started in 1586, beginning on December 16th and lasting through the 24th. Las Posadas is one of  the most awaited parts of the Christmas festivities, with its processions, singing, piñatas, aguinaldos and  food.

Las Posadas celebrates the journey that Joseph and Mary made to Bethlehem looking for shelter where Baby Jesus could be born. 

In Slovakia, the traditional Christmas Markets usually take place in cities and towns across the whole country and they last from the end of November through the Christmas Eve. They are one of the most popular events taking place during holidays bringing the best out of Slovak hospitality, traditional cuisine and spirit of Christmas. The photo represents perhaps the most idylic moment of this tradition, with the Markets at Bratislava´s Main Square located in the heart of the Slovak capital. We especially love its warmth and coziness despite the freezing temperature common for the end of the year.

In the Czech Republic, Christmas is the most important holiday. Czechs celebrate the main part of Christmas on December 24, called Generous Day (Štědrý den) ending with Generous Evening (Štědrý večer) rejoicing in God’s generosity to all on Earth. In the old days, everyone, including all animals on homesteads, received a little something extra special on this day. These days, it is a joyous time when families get together, observe thousand-year-old traditions in order to give thanks for the past year and bring fortune and good health in the next, and prepare the most festive dinner of the year. We are excited to share our traditions with you and invite you to celebrate the upcoming holiday season with us!

For 24 days before Christmas, the Holy Land, including Bethlehem, gets decorated for the holiday and residents celebrate with musical performances by the local scouts. Also, they celebrate in their homes and then attend Christmas Mass at night at the Nativity Church as well as in the morning. In addition, Santa leaves something special for all the children before going to church at night and again in the morning. Dr. Amal David of Arab America, who was born and raised in Nazareth in the Holy Land, will explain the local traditions which take place in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.

If you would like to join the Zoom Webinar, please RSVP to office@aafsw.org and provide your email address. 

Sheila Switzer
AAFSW Program Chair

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