|The spirit of Christmas is the same everywhere it's celebrated, but the many
different ways that people celebrate are part of what makes Christmas so much fun. Take a quick look at a few celebrations from all over the world.
Christmas is a summer holiday in
Australia, and since the weather is good, one of the most popular traditions is open-air caroling. Whole communities gather at dusk on
Christmas Eve to sing beautiful Christmas songs by candlelight or torchlight. Because of the warm weather, Christmas dinners are often
light and may feature cold meats, fruit and pavlova, a popular Australian dessert. Some Australian families eat Christmas dinner on the beach!
December in Brazil is a summer month when
beautiful tropical flowers are in bloom. Christmas celebrations include picnics, fireworks, boating events, and open-air fiestas.
Nativity scenes, called presÚpios in Brazil, are an important part of holiday decorations. Brazilian children receive gifts from Papai NoŰl, which means Father Christmas.
Say Merry Christmas in Portuguese:Feliz Natal
The Irish put lighted candles in their windows to invite the Holy Family -- or other weary travelers
looking for a place to stay -- into their homes. Traditionally, any wanderers that did stop at a house with a candle in the window were
given a meal and a night's rest. St. Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas, is also a national holiday in Ireland. Young men known as
Wren Boys go from house to house, singing and carrying a long pole with holly attached. The holly is supposed to conceal a wren, the
symbol of St. Stephen, though nowadays, real wrens are not used.
Say Merry Christmas in Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit
In Italy, musicians welcome the coming of
Christmas by playing traditional songs on the zampogna, similar to bagpipes. Christmas Eve dinners are meatless and may
include eel, spaghetti with anchovies, or cardoni (Jerusalem artichokes cooked with egg). Favorite Christmas sweets include
nougat candy, called torrone, a star-shaped cake called pandoro and a special fruitcake called panettone.
Children receive gifts on Epiphany, January 6, when La Befana, a good witch, comes down the chimney and fills their stockings with
treats -- or if they've been bad, coal.
Say Merry Christmas in Italian: Buon natale.