sábado, 24 de abril de 2010


In some parts of Australia, such as Western Australia, Halloween is celebrated on Guy Fawkes Day (on the 5th November) or as it is also known Mischief Night or Danger Night. However, most Australians celebrate Halloween on October 31th. It is also known as All Hallows’ Eve and is the day before All Saints’ Day.

It is a day for children to create mischief by doing tricks or getting a treat.

It was not widely done in Australia as it was in America and elsewhere, in fact most children in Australia celebrated it as dance at their schools or in other activities.

However, Halloween is fast becoming a popular occasion in Australia, with regular Halloween events, parades and fetes at schools, house decorations, parties, and groups of children and teenagers dressed up in Halloween costumes, trick or treating through local streets.


Halloween is an annual festival which takes place on October 31th and has its roots in pagan customs. In the United States Halloween is celebrated by hosting costume parties, playing 'trick-or-treat', watching horror films, visiting haunted houses or carving lanterns out of pumpkins.

Halloween is usually celebrated amongst family, friends and, sometimes, co-workers. However, some areas hold large community events. Parties and other events may be planned on October 31 or in the weekends before and after this date.

Many children dress up in fancy costumes and visit other homes in the neighborhood. At each house, they demand sweets, snacks or a small gift. If they do not get this, they threaten to do some harm to the inhabitants of the house. This is known as playing 'trick-or-treat'.

Some families carve lanterns with 'scary' faces out of pumpkins or other vegetables or decorate their homes and gardens in Halloween style.

One cause that ties with Halloween is collecting donations for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). As children trick-or-treat on Halloween night, some of them might carry small cardboard boxes with the UNICEF logo on them and collect coins instead of the usual candy. The money collected is then given to UNICEF and used to help needy children worldwide.


In England Halloween was nicknamed, Nutcracker Night or Snap Apple Night. Families would sit before a great fire in the hearth, roasting nuts and eating apples. They told stories and played holiday games.

Nowadays in England children make "pumpkins" and they carry them through the streets and sing the Pumpkin Night Song. They knock on doors and ask for money.

In some parts of England Turnip Lanterns are placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits.

In parts of northern England, there is a traditional festival called Mischief Night on November 4th. During the celebration, children play tricks on adults.

Halloween celebrations in England started in the late twentieth century under the pressure of American cultural influence.

Bobbing for apples is a game associated with Halloween. In it, attempts are made with one's mouth only to catch an apple placed in a water-filled barrel. Once an apple is caught, it is sometimes peeled and tossed over the shoulder in the hope that the strips would fall into the shape of a letter, which would be the first initial of the participant's true love.

viernes, 23 de abril de 2010


Christmas Down Under in Australia is never white with temperatures ranging from 25-38 degrees centigrade. So, many Australians spend Christmas out of doors, going to the beach for the day.

Christmas is special to the majority of Australians for it is their Summer Holiday season and students finish their school year.

Up until 30 years ago, Christmas celebrations were heavily influenced by their original Anglo-Celtic influences. The English style of Christmas served as their model for celebrating Christmas. Today with the huge influx of overseas migrant Christmas celebrations are heavily influenced by the ethnicity of families involved.

Australians consider Christmas a time for remembering the birth of Jesus and the spiritual meaning of Christmas. For many, Christmas will begin with families attending a mid-night mass. After the mass, a little sleep is attempted. For many, the children in various households, wake up the family at dawn. Gifts are unwrapped and the joy of Christmas begins.

The tradition of an Australian Christmas Eve carol service lit by candles was started in 1937 by radio announcer Norman Banks. This outdoor service has now been held in
Melbourne every year since then.

Traditionally, extended families gather on 25 December for a Christmas lunch similar to a traditional United Kingdom Christmas meal that includes decorated hams, roast turkey, roast chicken, salads and roast vegetables, accompanied by
Champagne, and followed by fruit mince pies, trifle, and plum pudding with brandy butter. Christmas crackers are a feature of the meal. Candy canes are a popular confectionery in Australia in the Christmas period. More recently, as appropriate to the sometimes hot weather on the day, lighter meals featuring fish and seafood may be served, along with barbecue lunches. However, the typical roast remains popular.

The Australian traditions and decorations are quite similar to those of the United Kingdom and North America. The traditional
Christmas tree is the most crucial decorative item, while strings of lights and tinsel are common. The tradition of sending Christmas cards is widely practiced in Australia.

A popular tradition celebrated in
Adelaide is the Adelaide Christmas Pageant. This parade is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting crowds of over 400,000 people. Begun in 1933, the pageant is staged in early November every year, usually on a Saturday morning, marking the start of the Christmas season. It comprises a procession of floats, bands, clowns, dancing groups, and walking performers, all culminating in the arrival of Santa Claus.


In the United States Christmas begins on the fourth Thursday in November, just after the Thanksgiving holiday. On Thanksgiving Day, a parade is taken out in New York City that has the figure of Santa Claus participating in it.

In the final days leading to December 25th the exterior of almost every house is adorned with strands of electric lights. Christmas trees are also set up in most places. Many churches and private homes display illuminated Nativity Scenes commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Eve is a day of great joy. Some people attend a Midnight Mass service at church and participate in singing carols. The midnight mass starts at midnight, the point of transition from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. The Christmas dinner in the U.S. includes turkey or ham, potatoes and pie. At Christmas Eve gatherings adults drink eggnog, a drink made of cream, milk, sugar, beaten eggs and brandy or rum. After dinner, children go to bed early but not before hanging up their stockings on the fireplace to be filled with gifts and goodies by Santa Claus. On the following morning, children wake up to look for their presents under their Christmas tree.

Christmas includes Christmas Tree, Yule log, Christmas card, Santa Claus with his reindeers and Mistletoe. Americans celebrate Christmas with the exchange of gifts, greetings and with family visits. Carols and songs are famous everywhere.


Advent (December 1st) is the official start of the run up to Christmas.
Two traditions in England are the Advent calendar and the Advent candle. The Advent Calendar originated in the 19th Century when Protestant Christian families made a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve. Nowadays it is usually a rectangular card with 24 or 25 doors. Door number 1 is opened on the 1st of December, door 2 on the 2nd, etc. Behind each door there is a Christmas scene or a chocolate.
An Advent Candle often has 25 marks, a bit of the candle is burned by one mark each day. However, it is now more common to have four candles for the four weeks before Christmas with a final candle lit on Christmas Day.

In England less emphasis is placed on Christmas Eve (December 24th) than in other countries. Carol singing, midnight church services and going out to the pub are some of the activities that many families enjoy.
Night time on Christmas Eve is the when Father Christmas comes. Children hang up their stockings and go to sleep. In the morning, when they wake up, they open their stocking presents. Traditionally on Christmas Eve mince pies and sherry (or milk) are left out for Santa and carrots for his reindeers.

On Christmas Day, the average family gets out of bed and starts opening presents. When it is finished, the family sits down to breakfast.
Some families also attend church on Christmas Day.

The tradition of the Queen’s Message began in 1932 when King George V read a special speech written by Rudyard Kipling. Queen Elizabeth II continues the tradition to this day.

In England Boxing Day celebrated on December 26th, is traditionally a time to give gifts to tradesmen, servants, and friends.
It originated in medieval times, when every priest was supposed to empty the alms box of his church and distribute gifts to the poor.

Saint Steven's Day (December 26th) marks the beginning of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a holiday of homecoming and family gatherings, with candles glowing in the windows.
In medieval times, the tradition was to hide a dried bean in a cake. The cake was then eaten on Twelfth Night (January 6th), during a party. The finder of the bean became "King of the Bean" and ruled the party.
Another eating myth is that for every mince pie you eat over the 12 days of Christmas you will have a month of good luck the following year.