ALL AROUND THE WOLRD                                There are plenty of unique traditions and cultures observed during the festive season. (Pixabay.com)

ALL AROUND THE WOLRD There are plenty of unique traditions and cultures observed during the festive season. (Pixabay.com)

Variety of customs mark Christmas celebrations

International exchange students in Summerland enjoy many traditions for the holidays

By Andrew Mitchell

Before long the festivities will begin.

It’s that time of year again. Kids are out of school, parents are taking time off work, every store front and street light is covered with decorations, the ground is covered in an envelope of snow, and spirits are high.

In Canada, people are given time to partake in any traditions they wish with family or friends come Christmas Day, a staple of many of our lives.

Christmas is important to a lot of people, for many different reasons, all around the world.

In days of yore, Dec. 25 was chosen to mark the nativity of a name known around the world more than any other individual: Jesus Christ.

Culture and religion have shaped the way people around the world have celebrated the holiday since then.

This was apparent when hearing some high school exchange students from Japan, Germany, and Spain compare their time spent during Christmas back home.

READ ALSO: NeighbourLink Summerland coordinates Christmas dinner matchup

READ ALSO: B.C. woman puts call out for 10,000 personal, heartfelt Christmas cards for the homeless

Germany, a country of many different regions with their own dialects and traditions, each have their own alias of Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas the mythical present bearing saint) slightly different from the last. Few actually have something to do with the real Saint Nick born around 245 C.E. in the port city of Patara now known as Turkey. Some lucky kids get a Christmas teaser on Dec. 6 when the Pelznickel leaves goodies about.

At one point in the past, due to the predominant divide between Catholic and Protestants in the country, a Protestant reformist in an attempt to reduce the significance of Sankt Nikolaus introduced “das Christkind,” a young girl with Christlike qualities that children would write to and receive gifts from similar to Santa Claus.

Christmas trees have a particularly important place in most German homes this time of year. This affixation likely had something to do with the spawning of the classic carol, O Tannenbaum, which translates to O Christmas Tree.

On Jan. 6 in Spain, presents are opened during a celebration known as the Epiphany which takes place shortly after the Día de los santos inocentes, a day when the Spanish trick one another much like April Fools Day.

Like most Spanish countries, many people attend midnight mass Christmas Eve, eating lots before the service.

The mass lasts long into the night, families gather and sing songs to celebrate the life of the Son of God.

In Japan, a country that doesn’t recognize the holiday as statutory, Christmas is associated with love and is comparable to Valentine’s Day here in Canada. There are no religious connotations like in Europe or the West.

Once Christmas has passed preparations begin for the momentous annual festival New Years.

There is no definitive way of going about celebrating this holiday.

It is always a joyous occasion.

Andrew Mitchell is a Summerland Secondary School student.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Fortunato family received the Bill Neilson Volunteer of the Year Award for their efforts with the Summerland Skating Club. (Contributed)
Summerland Skating Club members recognized for efforts

Three awards presented to members of Summerland club

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

The dam at Thirsk Lake, west of Summerland, was expanded in 2007. A crack has now been discovered where the old and new portions of the dam meet. (Summerland Review file photo)
Crack at Thirsk Dam to be examined

Reservoir west of Summerland was expanded in 2007

Mike Boersma and Adrienne Betts of Granny’s Cafe, at left, present Janet Peake of the Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre, with a cheque for $1,310 from a recent fundraising event. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Cafe raises more than $1,300 for Summerland Food Bank

Money raised during one-day fundraiser in early February

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Armstrong’s Jesse Crowe, shown at the home of golf, St. Andrew’s in Scotland, has been named the Royal York Golf Course’s director of golf operations. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan golf pro soars to home course position

Jesse Crowe becomes director of golf operations at Armstrong’s Royal York Golf Course

Most Read