Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Christmas Celebrations in United States

The United States of America integrates different elements from different places in its Christmas celebrations. The Christmas tree tradition comes from Germany, parades from Latin America, carols from the English and Australians, Santa Claus from the Europeans and more. Apart from the general celebration with feasting, caroling, decorating and gift-giving, each family in the US has their individual Christmas celebrations. And even the traditions vary from one place to another within the US. In Washington DC for instance, there’s this central celebration with lighting of the tree on the Ellipse. Here you’ll find one big tree (which represents the nation) and other smaller trees (standing for other states). In New Orleans, caroling is the focus of Christmas—thousands throng the Jackson Square each year on Christmas to have a huge group/ community caroling around big bonfires lit along the river Mississippi. The oldest city in the US, St. Augustine, Florida, has the whole of the city lit up in white lights on Christmas. No lights except white are allowed on Christmas. Then again, many Americans love to hit Hollywood, California to treat their eyes to the annual Parade of Stars, while others entertain themselves at Christmas concerts or caroling festivities in and around the cities.

In the South Western part of America, one Christmas day custom is to light the pathway to their doors with ‘luminaries’, which are paper bags or lanterns with designs cut on them and candles placed inside to give out a glow of good tidings all around. In some parts of the States, people even spend Christmas attending Church services on Christmas Eve or in the morning of Christmas. Churches are often wonderfully decorated on Christmas with poinsettias, Christmas evergreens and Nativity scenes. Get-togethers with friends, folks or sweetheart are quite common in the States on Christmas, and are often followed by a sumptuous traditional Christmas dinner comprising of roasted turkey/ goose, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pies, fruitcakes, plum puddings and more.

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