Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Around the World at Geneva Hospitality’s Resorts

Mike Ditka Resorts and The Cove of Lake Geneva – United States
Christmas celebrations in the United States usually begin between Thanksgiving Day leading up until the final days before December 25th, when you will begin to see Christmas trees covered in colorful lights, tinsel, and bright ornaments popping up inside houses. While exterior doorways, windows, roofs, and shrubs are covered in strings of lights, as well as life-sized reindeer, snowmen, Santas, and nativity scenes being showcased on people’s lawns. During this time of year it becomes a pastime for American people to drive or walk around neighborhoods during the evening to see the lights displayed on other’s homes.

Since Christmas Eve is not the official holiday here, most people have to work, but many companies hold Christmas parties and celebrations on this day. In the evening, many people finish adding final touches to their homes or visit with family members. Some people also attend a midnight mass at church and participate in singing carols.

After dinner on Christmas Eve, children head to bed early, but not before leaving out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, and maybe ever a carrot for Rudolf. The next morning they awake to find surprises under the tree from Santa Claus.

Christmas Day is then usually spent celebrating with family and friends.

Caracola Beach and Spa Resort – Isla Margarita
The religious celebrations begin on December 16th where an early morning mass (Misa de Aguinaldo) is held every morning leading up to December 24th when mass is held at midnight (Misa de Gallo).

On December 25th, Christmas Day, children awaken to find gifts around the Nativity Scene or Christmas tree. And their tradition has it that it is the Child Jesus who brings gifts to the Venezuelan children instead of Santa Claus.

The Christmas festivities officially come to an end on January 6th, the Day of the Reyes Magos, when children again will receive toys and candies. Christmas is the main holiday when all Venezuelan families come together and celebrate.

Palatinum Golf, Spa, and Sport Resort – Murcia, Spain
Christmas in Spain includes the usual Christmas festivities which can be found elsewhere, but there is one tradition that isn’t very common called Hogueras (bonfires), and it is a tradition that originated long before Christmas. It is the observance of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the beginning of winter. During these bonfires, people jump over fires as a symbolic protection against illness.

The more common traditions include very elaborate Nacimiento (nativity scenes), Christmas trees, and incredible Christmas markets scattered around villages and cities. These markets include fruits, flowers, sweets, candles, decorations, and various types of handmade gifts.
Christmas Eve is interrupted at midnight by the ringing of bells calling the families to La Misa Del Gallo (The Mass of the Rooster).

On Christmas Day, children find gifts, not brought by Santa, but by the Three Wise Men.
Christmas in Spain continues for a few weeks past Christmas until January 6th. On January 5th, children place their shoes on their doorstep, and in the middle of the night, the three wise men pass leaving gifts behind. On January 6th, the day is celebrated with parades were candy and cakes are given out to children.

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