Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 9: 12 Days of "Christmas Around the World"

I've been blessed to have traveled extensively throughout Europe while stationed as a missionary in Eastern Europe. To share a bit of that past, I bring to you The 12 Days of "Christmas Around the World." Each day I will chose a country I visited, tell a personal story, and share a Christmas tradition from that country. Please add your own family traditions in the comments section of these posts, or share your own international experiences if you've been blessed enough to travel.

Happy Holidays from Ms. Q!


Angels


Or are they...?


These are students from my 12D class, and I won't ruin the nice scene this photo portrays by telling you how they were in class.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

You can't help but think of angels when you think of Christmas for, Hark! You can even hear them singing.

Sh....listen...

Okay, so maybe it's just Rosemary Clooney on your iPod, but you know what I'm saying.

I don't think I need to explain in detail the importance of angels at Christmas - they held Academy Award winning supporting roles in the birth of Jesus, and they now hold prominent places in our households at the tops of our Christmas trees.

My sister played an angel in our church's Nativity play when we were kids.

I was one of the three kings.

While she got to wear a long, flowing, white robe with pretty wings and a halo, I had to wear an ugly smock and fluffy hat and walk down the aisle carrying a glass bottle of "frankincense" while some guy sang "We Three Kings" in an, admittedly, rich baritone.

It was much too masculine for my Barbie-loving ways.

I wanted to be an angel.

Or Mary. Mary was a plum role, too.

I attribute this childhood disappointment to my tomboy ways of '94-'97.

Moving on...

Boldog Kar√°csonyt

Hungary has two traditions that are a little bit different than what you might be used to at Christmas.

First, Baby Jesus brings the presents, not a fat, jolly elf/Saint who lives at the North Pole.

Second, most homes include an Advent wreath with their usual holiday decorations. The flower shops (an explanation of the importance of flowers in Hungary here) carry a variety of fresh wreaths decorated with all manner of ribbons, trinkets, and colors. Like the pastor does at church, you can light a candle for each week of Advent in the comfort of your own home.

Just make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy and/or don't have anything flammable near the candles. More on this in our Day 12 post...

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