Our #makeheritagefun event was so much fun! We, Culture for Kids, put on an event for children aged 0-8 years called Christmas Craftstravaganza. Thirty-two children attended with their parents to explore Christmas traditions around the world!
Christmas in Sweden
In Sweden, on December 13th, one of the biggest celebrations is held called St Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day). The celebration comes from monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden.
St. Lucia was a young Christian girl who was killed for her faith in 304. She would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had her hands free to carry things.
St Lucia’s Day is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash around her waist and a crown of candles on her head. Small children use electric candles but from about 12 years old, real candles are used!! The boys were star hats J
At the Christmas Craftstravaganza the Children made crowns similar to that which St Lucia would have worn, and star hats, as the boys wear today to join in the celebrations.
Christmas in Australia
In Australia, Christmas comes towards the beginning of the summer holidays! Children have their summer holidays from Mid-December to early February, so some might be camping at Christmas! Many celebrate Christmas on the beach!
Australians hang wreaths on their front doors and sometimes go out Christmas carol singing on Christmas Eve. They decorate their houses, gardens and beaches with Christmas trees!
When he gets to Australia, Santa gives the reindeer a rest and uses kangaroos ‘six white boomers’, he also changes his clothes for less hot ones!
Our mini-explorers painted and decorated pine cones to look like Christmas trees!
Christmas in Spain
Most people in Spain go to Midnight Mass or ‘La Misa Del Gallo’ (The Mass of the Rooster). It is called this because a rooster is supposed to have crowed the night Jesus was born.
Most families eat their main meal on Christmas Eve before the service. The traditional Spanish Christmas dinner, which is turkey stuffed with truffles. After the midnight service, people walk through the streets carrying torches, playing guitars and beating on tambourines and drums.
One Spanish Saying is ‘Esta noche es Noche-Buena, Y no Es noche de dormir’ which means ‘Tonight is the good night and it is not meant for sleeping!’
The mini explorers made mini drums and maracas with cups, rice, paper and elastic bands and then did a musical parade similar to the celebrations in Spain.
Christmas in Greenland
In Greenland, in the villages of Polgar Inuits, families visit each other and have parties. They drink coffee and eat cakes and exchange brightly wrapped parcels. Traditional presents are model sledges, a pair of polished walrus tusks, or sealskin mitts.
On Christmas Eve, Church Services are held and most people go in traditional costume.
Christmas Trees have to be imported, because no trees grow as far north as Greenland. The trees are decorated with candles and bright ornaments on the evening of 23rd December. People who don’t use an imported tree, might have a traditional driftwood tree decorated with heather.
Another traditional and popular decoration is to put an illuminated star in windows. Because Greenland is so far north, during the winter the sun never rises! So the stars help to give a little light.
The mini explorers made star pictures with black paper, and ‘puffy paint’ and glitter. I made the puffy paint with shaving foam and pva glue! It dries with a great lumpy texture! And looks like snow with a sprinkle of glitter over the top.
The tradition of hanging wreaths
The history of hanging wreaths dates back to the days of ancient Rome when the Roman people hung them or wore them as a symbol of status or a sign of victory. These were often made with twisted sprigs of laurel. Records of wreaths hung on the outside of doors date back to early Europe, where they were often made with exotic flowers and used to identify houses on the street.
The December, the wreath was an important part of pagan cultures before the time of Christ. Evergreen branches were shaped into rings to symbolize death and rebirth during the winter solstice. In these times, evergreen plants represented the strength to battle the harsh forces of winter. Later, Christian cultures adopted the wreath, adding four candles for the four Sundays preceding Christmas.
Other materials incorporated into wreaths have their own meaning, such as the holly that represents immortality. The modern view of wreaths has been simplified over the years, and they are now used by people of various backgrounds and traditions simply to convey the joy of the season.
The mini-explorers used dish brushes to make pictures of wreaths, with finger print berries on and a sticky bow.
The Christmas tree was traditionally decorated with apples, nuts, and so on. By the 18th century, people began to illuminate their trees with candles, eventually replaced with electric lights seen today.
Green and Red are traditional colours for the Christmas decorations.
GREEN – represents the continuance of life.
RED – Symbolises the blood of Christ.
The mini-explorers made fingerprint pictures of strings of lights.
When they reached the town, all the hotels were full and there was nowhere that they could stay. Finally, they were offered a place to stay, in a stable. Mary and Joseph were thankful to have a place to lie down. It was warm, and there was plenty of straw to lay on.
That night Mary and Joseph had a baby! But this wasn’t just any baby, he was Baby Jesus! The creator of the whole world, the King of Kings, and the one who would save the world.
The little baby boy fell asleep in Mary’s arms. She wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger on some clean straw.
The mini explorers created nativity scenes.
We turned our tuff spot into an ice world for penguins…
All in all, we had great fun with lots of happy children and parents, very positive feedback and I’m looking forward to organising more #makeheritagefun events!