– Mummering is one of a tradition which mainly takes place in the province of Newfoundland, more commonly in small towns and villages rather than large towns and cities. It’s also sometimes called ‘Jannying’.
– Many Canadians open their gifts on Christmas Eve. Some only open their stocking on Christmas Eve. Others choose one gift to open, then save the rest until Christmas Day.
– The Eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia is known all over the world for its fir and pine Christmas Trees, so most families in Canada have a fir or pine Christmas tree. One Canadian tradition is to send the biggest, best fir tree (grown in Nova Scotia) to Boston, USA because of the assistance given during the disaster, known worldwide, as the Halifax Explosion. This tradition has carried on for many years. Bostonians always love and appreciate the Nova Scotian Christmas tree. They place this tree in the city and then light it during a ceremony to begin the Christmas season.
– In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much. New Year was the important time. Now Christmas is normally celebrated on January 7th (only a few Catholics might celebrate it on the 25th December). The date is different because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days. The Orthodox Church also celebrates Advent. But it has fixed dates, starting on 28th November and going to the 6th January, so its 40 days long.
– Some people fast (don’t eat anything) on Christmas Eve, until the first star has appeared in the sky. People then eat ‘sochivo’ or ‘kutia’ a porridge made from wheat or rice served with honey, poppy seeds, fruit (especially berries and dried fruit like raisins), chopped walnuts or sometimes even fruit jellies!
– Most families have a Christmas tree (or maybe even two!) in their house for Christmas. The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone helping.
– Most villages, towns and cities are decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. Often a famous person switches them on. The most famous Christmas lights in the UK are in Oxford Street in London. Every year they get bigger and better. Thousands of people go to watch the big ‘switch on’ around the beginning of November.
– Children write letters to Father Christmas/Santa 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/Santa reads the smoke.
– In Scotland, some people celebrate New Year’s Eve (which is called Hogmanay) more than Christmas! The word Hogmanay comes from a kind of oat cake that was traditionally given to children on New Year’s Eve. All across the UK, in cities and towns, there are fireworks to celebrate the New Year. Two of the most famous fireworks displays are in London, along the River Thames, and in Edinburgh at the Hogmanay celebrations.