Union County, Blairsville, Georgia Holiday-Winter 2018-2019 - Page 14

Page 14 Union County GA Magazine . Holiday & Winter 2018-19 . www.unioncountymag.com Christmas Around The World Excerts & art from a 1958 publication titled “Christmas Around the World”, author Van B. Hooper. Austria Yugoslavia Norway Germany A beautiful Austrian Christmas custom places emphasis upon light as a symbol of the eternal light God gave man in the Christ Child. Three large wax candles are prepare for the ceremony. While the family gathers on Christmas Eve and sings Christmas songs, the father lights the first candle. The second candle is lit on Christmas Day and the third candle on New Year’s Day, when the Christmas festivities end. Men of the family rise before dawn on the day before Christmas to search the forests for a young oak tree, suitable for their Badnyak, or yule log. Arriving home, they are greeted with song and supper. The log was kept burning all night. They await the arrival of polaznick the village lad who must be first to enter the house on Christmas morning. He throws grain at each family member, asking a blessing. The log is struck causing sparks to fly in the air, each spark meaning many sheep, cattle and pigs. Polaznik pours wine on the log and leaves a coin. Tradition says church bells chime at five o’clock on Christmas Eve when the Christmas celebrations start. For weeks families make gifts and prepare food. A custom is remembering the animals and birds. Cattle are given extra fodder, A sheaf saved from the fall harvest is placed on a tall pole. On Christmas morning a bundle of grain decorates gables, gateways and barn doors - the bird’s Christmas dinner. The immortal carol “Silent Night, Holy Night”, Kris Kringle, hand-carved toys and the Christmas tree are only a few of the contributions to the Christmas season by Germany of yesteryear. The greatest contribution is the Ta n n e n b a u m (Christmas tree). Years past the tree was decorated in utmost secrecy and lit on Christmas Eve. Carved toys reflected objects familiar to farmsteads: houses, stables, cows, horses, woods, wild animals, carts and wagons. Belgium Christmas is a season of gifts and joy in Belgium, where children leave tidbits in wooden shoes for Santa’s reindeer and hang up stockings. In the morning the oats and tidbits are gone, replaced with toys. Chimes in the 500-year-old cathedral chime 99 bells on Christmas Day. Children precede services in a colorful procession, carrying emblems and streamers. Switzerland Samichlaus is eagerly awaited by children on Dec. 5. In the mountain hamlets he is heralded with a procession from a little village church. Cross-bearer and banner boys wearing quaint high-peak hoods to protect from air and snow lead the choir through the street. Samichlaus wears a red jovial mask, white flowing beard, and fur trimmed robe. He has a gray sack and staff, conveying rewards for the good and bad children. Sweden St. Lucia, dressed in white with brilliant red sash about her waist, and wearing an astonishing crown of pine boughs haloed with the light of seven candles, awakens the household with coffee and cakes on a tray, proclaiming the arrival of the Christmas season on Dec. 13. Celebrations end on Christmas Eve with tree-trimming, dancing, singing, dinner of lutefisk, and opening presents which are sealed with red wax. Sicily Mountain musicians, playing melancholy melodies on a violin and cello as they stroll through village streets at Christmas. A pyramid shaped altar with a wax image of the Christ Child is built in each home and church. For nine days before Christmas, the altar is lighted and carols are sung. A midnight mass is held on Christmas Eve. A procession goes through town, fires are lit, church bells ring and rockets are sent up to the sky. King Ford Italy Eclipsing the Christmas Festival is the feast of the Immaculate Conception honoring Mary. Calbrian shepherds, dressed in goatskin trousers and colorful jackets, come from the mountains to play their pipes and flutes, stopping at shrines and carpenter shops to salute the Virgin and Child. Their Santa wears rags, rides to each house on a broomstick, leaving presents for children beside the hearth. A precipio is found in every home, with tiny statuettes of the Holy Family, angels, shepherds and Wise Men grouped about a miniature manger. Mexico Vendors display hand-carved religious figures, shepherds dressed in grotesque clothes dance house to house while singing. The game of the pinata gives children great joy. A pinata, a colorful earthernware bowl that looks like the a face or animals, is filled with fruit, peanuts, candy and good luck charms. Blindfolded, children take turns trying to break the pinata. Once broken, the scramble begins and children keep whatever they can find. y. Hw 64 Hwy. 64 West Murphy, NC www.kingfordsales.com New Vehicles . Pre-Owned Vehicles Service . Parts . Custom Accessories 828-837-2121 . 800-388-2897 Blairsville Holland To provide food and water for St. Nick’s white horse on Christmas Eve, children stuff clean wooden shoes with hay and carrots and place them on the window sills, next to a dish of water. Early Christmas morning children see that St. Nick has replaced hay and carrots with small gifts, toys and other surprises. Kenya L. Patton, P.C. Kenya L. Patton Attorney at Law “Where You Are Treated Like Royalty” Murphy Finland Christmas Day there is suspended from the ceiling a straw framework which is decorated with paper stars, suggestive of heaven. When lighted from below with the glow of firelight and Christmas tree candles, it produces a mysterious effect. Straw on the floor is where children sleep in a manger-like bed, reminiscent of the Christ Child. A man dressed as a yule goat, Father Christmas, leaves presents. Tiny candles shine forth from windows. Amy Robinson Schuknecht Paralegal Donny Robinson Paralegal General Litigation Family Law * Corporate Law Divorce * Adoptions Magistrate Court Probate Court Business * Real Estate Estate Planning Power of Attorney Wills * Trusts Contracts Serving Union County & Surrounding Area Affordable Fees 44B Blue Ridge Street, Blairsville, GA 706-745-2142 Serving Union County & Surrounding Area