Christmas may be a popular celebration in the U.S., but it is far from the only type of party or tradition that is held in the country or even around the world. Our melting pot has welcomed thousands of cultures and Personal-Prints wants to embrace them all and dive into what the holidays are like for the Spanish, Nigerians, Finish, and others. It might seem like we live in a world that is large and expansive, but when family and traditions are the focus, the more you know, the tighter we will feel. So let’s travel around the world and discover what the season means to various cultures and families.
Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, Personal-Prints wants to help you celebrate with personalized name art. Whatever tradition you are taking part in, there is a theme that will fit the celebration.
Imagine growing up as a child and feeding and taking care of a Tió de Nadal, or Christmas Log. The days leading up to the holiday, the little ones will feed and take care of a hollow log, even giving it something to eat and covering it with a blanket to keep it from getting cold. More recently, the log will be given fake facial features. On Christmas Eve, children will beat the log with sticks while singing traditional songs. Then, the children will leave the room and pray for the tió to ‘defecate’ lots of presents. While the children are out of the room, parents will sneak in candies and nuts that are shared with everyone. Similar to the United State’s version of Santa Claus who, it just takes a different form.
The city of Harbin is located on the northeastern side of China and was originally developed by the Russians as a part of the Siberian rail line, which is why some Russian traditions were developed there. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival brings together talented ice artists. Blocks of ice are chipped from the Songhua River and are chiseled into pyramids, palaces, dragons, fairies, and even slides. The monthlong festival begins in January and includes activities such as figure skating, ice boxing, and even a polar plunge.
Oaxaca City, Mexico
Starting on December 16th, Oaxaca features nine days of processions with people on foot who carry torches and are followed by decorated vehicles, dancing puppets, and bands. Groups of families and children dressed as Mary and Joseph lead the procession. They city is also celebrating the Virgin de Soledad (Virgin of Solitude) and the Noche de los Rábanos (Night of the Radishes). The town square, or zócalo, becomes a wonderful scene of figures which are sculpted from radishes.
New Delhi, India
Here, we are familiar with Christmas hams, but in India, they feast with stews of goat meat, turnips, radishes, lotus stems, and many other winter vegetables. Families will spend hours passing around dishes full of the stew. An honored tradition for many in India is Diwali, or a festival of lights. The festival honors Lakshmi, India’s goddess of prosperity. Indians celebrate by filling saucers with oil, lighting a wick, and placing the dishes along streets and near houses. Farmers celebrate by dressing up their cows.
We could all use a little more peace in our lives, right? Well that is what Finland is striving for during Joulurauhan Julistus, or The Declaration of Christmas Peace. The tradition has continued since the 1300s, when a declaration would be read, reminding residents to focus on peace and harmony. The period lasts 20 days and the beginning ceremony is broadcast for people everywhere to watch.
A cultural Jewish tradition, families will spend eight days lighting candles on a menorah. This is done to remember a miracle took place when oil burned for eight days in their temple.
St. Lucia Day, Sweden
On December 13th, girls in Sweden will dress up as “Lucia brides” with long, white dresses, a red sash, and candles on their heads. St. Lucia, who brought food to Christians in Rome, would wear candles on her head so that she would have her hands free.
The Japanese remember their loved ones who have passed with a festival held during the summer. People celebrate their lives by putting candles in lanterns and float them down rivers or seas.
We truly live in a diverse world with hundreds of cultures and traditions. From beating a log that delivers presents to lighting candles in honor of our loved ones, taking part in a tradition is done all over the world, in many different ways. Wherever you live and are celebrating this holiday season, whatever your tradition is, give the gift of personalized name art.
Personal-Prints offers personalized name art that uses photographs of letters to spell out names or a word. If you’re looking for a special and unique gift this season for your sibling, significant other, parent, or friend, you can customize a personalized name art gift that will make the day special.
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