Advent Resources 2007: Christmas Around the World

30 11 2007


Czech Republic
Czech Christmas cookiesOne ancient Christmas custom is for a girl to tell her fortune by putting a cherry twig in water on December 4th. If the twig blossoms before Christmas Eve, this is believed to be an indication that she will marry during the coming year.


The Coptic Church in Egypt is an Orthodox Church and Christmas is celebrated on December 7th. Advent is observed for forty days and, during this period, people are expected to fast, eating no meat, poultry or dairy products. Some people are inclined to do this only during the last week of Advent. On Christmas Eve, everyone goes to church wearing an entirely new outfit. The Christmas service ends at midnight with the ringing of church bells and people return to their homes to eat a special Christmas meal known as fata, which consists of bread, rice, garlic and boiled meat. On Christmas morning, people in Egypt (and other areas of the Middle East) visit friends and neighbors. They carry kaik with them, which is a type of shortbread, as a gift for those they call upon. Kaik is usually consumed with a drink known as shortbat. For Christians, Christmas Day is a public holiday.


Approximately two weeks prior to Christmas, people in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East plant seeds…chick peas, wheat grains, beans and lentils, for example…in cotton wool. The seeds are watered every day and, by Christmas, have shoots about six inches in height. These shoots are used to surround the manger in Nativity scenes. Figures are fashioned from brown paper and placed above the tableau. Traditionally, people visit friends on Christmas morning and are offered coffee, liqueurs and sugared almonds. Lunch is the most important seasonal meal, usually consisting of chicken and rice and Kubbeh, which is made of crushed boiled wheat and mixed with meat, onion, salt and pepper. The whole family gathers for the meal, customarily at the home of grandparents or the eldest son.

Read about traditions from other countries here.




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