Traditions

Christmas Around the World (Part II)

This is Part II of our “Christmas Around the World” post. Check  out Part I here.

Europe

Gouda Town Hall (Panoramio)

Gouda Town Hall (Panoramio)

If you ever go to Holland around Christmas time,  expect it to be filled with candles. This annual  candle night or Kaarsjesavond in Dutch takes place in the city of Gouda  in the central market square in front of the Gothic Town Hall.   The streets are only illumated by candles,  as people gather to sing christmas carols and the mayor gives a Christmas speech. Below check one of the many performances of that night. (Read more at Holland.com)

Candle night in Gouda . Notice the market square is in complete darkness and  candles are the only light source. (from haakaa1964 on Youtube)

All around Europe, children anxiously wait for St. Nicholas  and not Santa on December 6th. In Poland, children leave their boots  by their beds the night December 5th waiting for St Nicholas to fill them with presents the next day.

Very similar to Santa Claus, St Nicholas brings gifts to children all over Europe. (Marine Connector)

Very similar to Santa Claus, St Nicholas brings gifts to children all over Europe. (Maritime Connector)

 In Germany, gingerbread houses are called “Hexenhaus” which translates into witches’ house. Why you may ask? They are named after the popular  german Grimm fairytale Hansel and Gretel candy house.  You can read more about European christmas traditions at Reader’s Digest.

German gingerbread house featuring  The Witch,  Hansel and Gretel (Flickr)

German gingerbread house featuring The Witch, Hansel and Gretel (Flickr)

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