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**CHRISTMAS & LANGUAGES**


“Happy Christmas” – ENGLAND


Happy Christmas is pretty much the standard greeting used around the Christmas season, although English people say “Merry Christmas” from time to time.

Children believe that Father Christmas leaves presents in stockings or pillow-cases. Children sometimes leave out mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas.

Children write letters to Father Christmas a listing their requests, but sometimes instead of putting them in the post, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draught carries the letters up the chimney and Father Christmas reads the smoke.

Boxing Day is a very old custom that started in the UK and is now taken as a holiday in many countries around the world.


“Joyeux Noël” – FRANCE


One of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe is held in Strasbourg, in North Eastern France. In the Alsatian language it's called the "Christkindelsmarik".

In France, Father Christmas was originally St Nicolas who was accompanied by Le Pere Fouettard, a man dressed in black.

The main Christmas meal, called ' Réveillon', is eaten on Christmas Eve/early Christmas morning after people have returned from the midnight Church Service. Dishes might include roast turkey with chestnuts or roast goose, oysters, foie gras, lobster, venison and cheeses. For dessert, a chocolate sponge cake log called a bûche de Noël is normally eaten.


“Feliz Navidad” – SPAIN


Apart from Christmas, there is another festival that is celebrated in Spain: Epiphany and it is celebrated on 6th January. In Spanish, Epiphany is called 'Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages'. Epiphany celebrates when the Kings or Wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

New Year's Eve is called 'Nochevieja' and one special tradition is that you eat 12 grapes with the 12 strokes of the clock at Midnight! Each grape represents a month of the coming year, so if you eat the twelve grapes, you are said to be lucky in the new year.


“Merry Christmas” – UNITED STATES


Many customs are similar to ones in the UK, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Mexico.

People in America like to decorate the outsides of their houses with lights and sometimes even statues of Santa Claus, Snowmen and Reindeer. Some cookies and glass of milk are often left out as a snack for Santa on Christmas Eve!


“Joyeux Noël” / “Merry Christmas” - CANADA


Many families of French descent have a huge feast/party on Christmas Eve called a 'Réveillon' that lasts well into the early hours of Christmas morning after taking part in Christmas Eve Mass. When people are at Midnight Mass, they hope that 'Père Noel' will visit their house and leave gifts for children under the tree. The traditional Christmas meal for people in Quebec, is a stew called 'ragoût aux pattes de cochons' which is made from pigs feet!

At the end of the Christmas season, January 6th, people in the province of Quebec have a celebration called "La Fete du Roi" They bake a cake and place a bean in the middle.

“Feliz Navidad” - MEXICO


In Mexico, Christmas is celebrated from December 12th to January 6th.

From December 16th to Christmas Eve, children often perform the 'Posada' processions or Posadas. There are nine Posadas. These celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary looked for somewhere to stay. For the Posadas, the outside of houses are decorated with evergreens, moss and paper lanterns.

One game that is often played at Posada parties is piñata. A piñata is a decorated clay or papier-mâché jar filled with sweets and hung from the ceiling or tree branch. The piñata is often decorated something like a ball with seven peaks around it. The peaks or spikes represent the 'seven deadly sins'.


What about your country? How do you say “Happy Christmas” in your language, please share your traditions with us in the comment section.

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