Unlike the Orthodox tradition, where the main religious holiday of Easter is considered the church calendar, in European countries, where a strong Catholic tradition, the most important holiday is Christmas.Long before 25 December when Christmas in Europe comes just begin preparations for the lavish celebrations.Back in November, the shop windows are decorated with all sorts of Christmas trees, the bells, garlands, "Star of Bethlehem", sledge Santa Claus, reindeer and other Christmas paraphernalia.Closer to December in every more or less important European city offers a Christmas market.In large supermarkets and outlet shopping season starts Christmas sales.
European tradition of celebrating Christmas prescribes to make gifts to all friends, family and even just familiar to people.On this day, we launched a modest handing accepted even cleaners, postmen and other people with whom for years have repeatedly clashed.So stock up on gifts for Europeans - the issue of paramount importance.Here one should no
course, before Christmas in Europe was more than a religious holiday, not secular as it is now.Gifts that day were instructed to do the poor.For this purpose, every church had a special Christmas piggy bank, which put the money from the charity.In this Christmas piggy bank officially opened, and the priest all the money handed out to the poorest parishioners.
Later Christmas in Europe has become inextricably linked with a belief that on the eve of this day comes Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas), which bestows gifts obedient children.To get the cherished gift, kids hung by the fireplace or under the tree put his shoes and socks.Once you get into the house through the chimney, Santa Claus putting gifts in the prepared "envelope."Christmas tree - "Christmas tree" - began to dress up as a result of the spread of the German custom.In contrast to the Slavic lands in Europe rarely decorate an entire tree (unless an exception is Germany, the birthplace of this tradition).Basically, fir or pine branches, and branches of holly wreaths fancy doing that cling outside the front door.They were removed only at the carnival, when and solemnly burned in the hearth.
Christmas in Europe - a family holiday.Accepted collected visiting the oldest representative of the sort of the whole big family.Tradition dictates to gather on the eve of December 24.All families exchange gifts and then go to church on the Vigil service, or stay at home, sitting at the festive dinner.On Christmas Eve, usually served meatless dishes, and in the morning - Skoromniy.
In cold northern countries, Christmas is celebrated at home and here in the south - it's noisy and fun street party with fireworks, concerts, and masquerade.Christmas in Italy is celebrated with great pomp.On the streets, the main square there are "prezepio" - a manger where Jesus Christ was born.These prezepio can be performed very skillfully, and can be very naive.Mostly they depict the grotto, Joseph and Mary, the ox and the ass, wise men, hurrying to the baby with gifts, kneeling shepherds, but sometimes scenes from everyday life.Most interesting prezepio are in the Vatican, where Nativity figurines depicted in full growth.On Christmas Eve a lot of people going in the streets near the prezepio, hugging and wishing each other "Bonn Natale" - Merry Christmas.