Christmas traditions

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Christmas traditions :

A common presentation created as a result of project work done by all partners Christmas traditions This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Jaslo Poland Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa nr 2 im . Marii Konopnickiej w Jaśle

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Old Christmas traditions

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For Poles, Christmas Eve is a time of family gathering and reconciliation. It's also a night of magic: a nimals are said to talk in a human voic e and people have the power to tell the future. Old Christmas traditions

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The belief was born with our ancestors who claimed that 24 th December was a day to mark the beginning of a new era. It was bolstered by sayings such as, "As goes Christmas Eve, goes the year." Hoping for a good 12 months, everyone was polite and generous to one another and forgave past grievances . Old Christmas traditions

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Polish rural residents are among the few who still keep up the old Christmas Eve customs. In eastern Poland it is still believed that girls who grind poppy seed on Christmas Eve can hope for a quick marriage. Old Christmas traditions After dinner, they leave the house, and the direction of the first dog bark points to where their future husband will come from.

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When going to Christmas Eve midnight mass, girls would blindfold each other and touch fence pickets. A straight and smooth picket would portend a resourceful husband, while a crooked and rough one was an indication of a clumsy and awkward spouse . Old Christmas traditions

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If a maiden wanted to learn about her future fiance's profession, she would go to a river, dip her hand in the water and pull out the first thing she touched. Wood meant a carpenter, iron-a blacksmith, leather-a shoemaker, etc. Old Christmas traditions Weather-forecasting superstitions were also popular. It was believed that if Christmas sees no snow, Easter certainly will-or "If the Christmas tree sinks in water, the egg rolls on ice."

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Other sayings include, "A sunny Christmas Eve brings fair weather all year round"; "Stars that shine bright on Christmas Eve will make hens lay plenty of eggs"; "A shine on the birth of our Savior will be seen all throughout January." Old Christmas traditions

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The more daring diners would pull out blades of straw from underneath the table cloth. A green one foretold marriage; a withered one-waiting; a yellow one-spinsterhood; a very short one-an early grave. Old Christmas traditions

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Today, few people are familiar with Christmas Eve fortune telling, especially urban dwellers. Yet some old traditions can still be found among village people who tend to lead a more old-fashioned lifestyle, closely connected to nature and its cycles of death and rebirth . Old Christmas traditions

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Christmas today

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Wigilia Christmas Eve, Wagilia, is an important part of the Polish Chrismas, in fact, the most important rituals are celebrated on this day. The very word Wigilia, which in Poland was formerly known as the day before a feast day is now used only as the day before Christ's birth.

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Wigilia The Wigilia supper is so special there is no other like it throughout the year. With cheerful feeling all members of the family partake of the Wigilia supper, which traditionally starts at dusk, when the first star appears .

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Wigilia As the day begins to darken and family members ready themselves for the evening meal, a child is sent out to look for the first star in the sky. With the appearance of the first star, the Wigilia meal begin s . A Christmas tree is already d ecorated.

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Wigilia After supper all the family gathers around the C hristmas tree. They sing Christmas carols and open presents. Traditionally carol singers go from house to house carrying a great paper star lantern, singing carols. At the end of the evening, everyone go es t o midnight mass.

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Christmas eve supper

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Christmas eve supper The table for Christmas supper should be sufficiently large to accommodate the whole family. A candle is placed in the centre of the table, the Holy Bible and ” Oplatek ”. A spare place is set at the table for a stranger or an absent member of the family, who may come unannounced.

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Christmas eve supper It was also customary to invite the lonely for the supper, because on Christmas Eve no one should be left alone. Another custom that has survived till this day is putting a little hay on the table as a remembrance of Christ's birth in a stable .

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Christmas eve supper The traditional Christmas Eve supper consists of twelve dishes representing the twelve months of the year. No meat is served during the supper, only fish, usually herring, carp or pike.

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Christmas eve supper Other traditional dishes appearing on the table include red barszcz, mushroom or fish soup, sauerkraut with wild mushrooms or peas, b oiled or fried pierogi, Polish dumplings with a wide variety of fillings are among the most popular Polish dishes. For the Christmas Eve supper, pierogi are usually made with sauerkraut and mushrooms.

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Christmas tree

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Christmas tree The modern Christmas tree as we know it today came to Poland from Western Europe at the end of the 18th century. Initially popular only in town, it gained popularity with peasants at the end of the 19th century . The first Christmas trees were decorated with apples, nuts, gingerbread, miniature loaves of bread and many colourful candles.

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Christmas tree The Christmas tree is not only a decorative ornament. It is also deeply symbolic: - The triangular shape is that of the holy trinity pointing up towards God ; - Evergreen means forever eternal and green colour is assosiated with life ;

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- Needles grow upwards like hands praising God ; - Candles and lights depict heaven and commemorate the souls of the deceased ; - Gifts under the tree are symbol s of charity and love . Christmas tree

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Christmas tree In modern-day Polish homes, both in town and village, Christmas trees are decorated with factory-made colourful glass balls, ri b bons and lights . But on many trees, these decorations are accompanied by the old-style traditional home-made ornaments which have been handed down from generation to generation.

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Christmas tree Under the C hristmas tree presents are laid for family members and friends. These are wrapped in coloured paper and decorated with ribbons . Presents are exchanged and opened after the C hristmas eve supper.

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Santa Claus

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Santa Claus The legend of Santa Claus dates all the way back to the 4th century when a child named Nicholas was born. As a grown-up he became bishop of Myra in Lycia, a province of the Byzantine Anatolia, now in Turkey, where, according to legend, he only did good deeds.

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He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus. In Poland Santa Claus brings gifts twice a year. First on the 6th of December on his name-day and then on the 24th of December on Christmas day. Santa Claus

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Christmas wafer

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Christmas wafer The word "Oplatek" derives from the Latin word "Oblatum", meaning sacred bread. Made of unleavened dough, it first b egan to be used in the 1 Oth century as a liturgical wafer. In Poland the tradition of baking wafers in engraved metal forms, and of using these wafers for sacral and secular purposes dates back to the Middle Ages.

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Christmas wafer The wafer-sharing ritual is accompanied by mutual wishes of health and prosperity in the coming year. At Christmas time, it is now also sent to absent members of the family and close fiends .

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Stara Zagora Bulgaria SOU Zheleznik

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Koleda (Cyrillic: коледа) is the original Slavic word for Christmas, which is still used in modern Bulgaria. Some think that the word was borrowed from the Latin calendae . Other ones believe that it comes from the Bulgarian word "коля" (kolia), which means " to cut an animal for eating". Some claim it was named after Kolyada, the Slavic god of winter.

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The day before Christmas (24 December –Christmas Eve) is called Badni vecher or “small Koleda”. Its name is believed to come from “ бъда /bada” or TO BE in Bulgarian. This day people wish each other all the best in the future. Whole family gathers for a festive dinner. The most important thing is BADNIK, the food with the ritual bread and KOLEDARI.

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The ritual bread is kneaded and baked in a special way. Figures on it represented God, fruits, grains, domestic animals, tools for work, and people. There is BADNIK (pear tree or oak log) in the fire. The Badnik is cut and brought by a young man and it has to burn all night. The oldest member of the family incenses the food and house and says a prayer.

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All food is laid on the table at once; all members of the family sit at the same time and then nobody stands until the dinner is over. There is only Lenten fare on the table – and there must be an odd number of dishes – 7, 9 or 11. Usually, there are: beans, stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage leaves, cooked corn, pumpkin pastry, dried fruit, garlic, honey, nuts, fruits, ritual bread.

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The oldest member of the family breaks the ritual bread and leaves the first piece for Jesus Christ, the second one is for the house and the next pieces are for the oldest to the youngest members of the family. When the dinner is over, the hostess leaves the food on the table for God to come for dinner.

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Koledari (коледари) is the Bulgarian word for Christmas carolers. In Bulgaria, carolers traditionally start their rounds at midnight on Christmas Eve. They visit the houses of their relatives, neighbours and other people in the village.

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The members of the group are mainly young men who are not married or teenage boys. Wearing their best clothes they sing carols to wish health and welfare. The host invites them to the table and gives them a treat and then young, unmarried women from the family give them a special ring shaped bun called koleden kravay. Also they are given from the family money, meat, bacon, beans, wine, etc.

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On Christmas Day religious people go to the church to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Usually families cut a pig for eating. Christmas dinner is a feast of pork dishes, home made sausages, baked duck, turkey or goose, cheese pastry and cookies. There are fortune slips in the cheese pastry. One of them is a coin that symbolizes wealth.

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Nowadays…. Although there is nothing about giving presents on Christmas day, a Christmas tree and Santa Claus in Bulgarian traditions they have become very common in Bulgaria. People decorate their houses with Christmas ornaments and Christmas trees and children write their letters to Grandpa Koleda /Father Christmas/. At school we prepare Christmas celebrations, usually concerts and Christmas markets. Students perform Bulgarian traditions as Koledari , make greeting cards and paint pictures about the fest.

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This presentation was made by: Antonia, Dimitrinka, Slavi, Iva and Peter from the fifth grade who translated the text /with some help from their English teachers  / ; The students from fourth grades who worked on the Christmas decoration and greeting cards; The students from club Computers, who made the presentation; And all their teachers who were there to help  .

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Scoala cu clasele I-VIII Petresti Petresti Romania

Colinda:

Colinda The Christmas carol is a traditional folk song, interpreted by groups of children, teenagers or adults as a means of celebrating Christmas and New Year. Colindul românesc: The Romanian Christmas Song These ancient carols that have watched over our childhood, over our parents’ and people’s childhood made us relive the longing after a new beginning brought by the Nativity of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.

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This renewal does not come on the way to learning but on the path trodden by our ancestors’ footsteps for almost two thousand years, forefathers who used to walk and stroll along from house to house, from one family to another, giving the saving news of Christ’s Incarnation.

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The Romanian people have kept a deep meaning of the trip to Bethleem of the three Wise Men (Magi ) and of their worship of Christ, turning this into one of the most beautiful customs, that of caroling. Going from house to house in order to tell everybody the great news of Christ being born, turns carol singers into apostles, witnessing the coming true of the promise of sending Mesia into the world so as to save the entire human being.

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The custom of walking from house to house and of telling by song out loud the nativity of the Holy Child is specific for the way in which the Romanian people celebrate the coming of Christmas. Caroling, even in urban areas continues to be a holiday of the community, of the children and teenagers that “practise” it but also of those who welcome carol singers and reward them with gifts of their tiredness.

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Sorcova is a branch or stick adorned with artificial flowers, carried on New Year’s Day by children congratulating people of the occasion. This custom is better known in the region of Muntenia but we can also find it in the rest of the country. It is practiced by children with ages between 3 and 13. There are areas where Sorcova is worn exclusively by boys or by girls. Often children go by two, ofter times they go on their own, caroling only neighbours or members of the family. Those who are addressed the good wishes are rhythmically touched with the branch while the children say the text.

In the past Sorcova was made of natural flowers coming from fertile treed , especially sweet apples trees. Sorcova is a custom that can be found since ancient times to all people. Instead of stick foil decorated with colorful flowers, like ours, in Romania, they are using branches of olive or laurel to make New Year wishes. Next, it was the offshoot sorcova tree (usually apples or roses), which is put on the night of St. Andrew in the water, and on the day of New Year, when flowering, brings good luck. :

In the past Sorcova was made of natural flowers coming from fertile treed , especially sweet apples trees. Sorcova is a custom that can be found since ancient times to all people . Instead of stick foil decorated with colorful flowers, like ours , in Romania, they are using branches of olive or laurel to make New Year wishes. Next, it was the offshoot sorcova tree (usually apples or roses), which is put on the night of St. Andrew in the water, and on the day of New Year, when flowering, bring s good luck.

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Today people put wheat in pots or plates which, after growing green and beautiful, they offer on New Year‘ s Day to loved ones, making them the wishes or kept indoors as a sign of future abundance. The word "sorcova" is of Slavic origin (Soroka - 40, the number corresponding exactly with the 40 rhythmically touches of the Sorcova to those who are addresed the carol)

The Goat( Capra) :

The Goat( Capra) The Goat( Capra) is a folk dance performed on New Year’s Day by a masked character with a goat’s head on his shoulders. The goat was for the Romans the animal that could predict bad or good weather. This tradition (which includes the killing , mourning , burial and resurrection of the goat) was initially a grave ceremony, part of a form of worship. In the frame of agricultural activities, this ritual was meant to bring wealth in the following year, plenty of animals, abundance of the crops.

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On the background of this good wishing, the host scattered grains over the entire suite. This tradition was generalized on the territory of our country at the end of the XIX ( th ) century, altough being considered a pagan ritual , many of the members of the clergy refused it. Nowadays the ritual is only a pretence for the display of beautiful adornments, carpets and rugs that sometimes have very vivid, harsh colors in order to cheer up the hosts but also a way to present the diversity of good wishing on New Year’s Day.

Pluguşorul:

Pluguşorul Pluguşorul is a small, richly ornamented plough with which young peasants go from house to house to greet people on New Year’s Eve. It is an agrarian tradition, with strong roots in the Romanian spirituality. It is a declamatory carol, with theatrical elements which speak alout people’s working days (when they gather the crops and when they bake the bread). The plough which had sometimes a fir on it, was adorned with coloring paper, ribbons, towels and flowers. Nowadays, all these are rather symbols in the context of the good wishes addressed to the high officials.

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Plugusorul starts waith the formula : “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Infant formula ( "Ho! Ho!") c alls to stop thinking, to prepare as if to check everything before work, but is also a warning t he listeners that they can retain the entire content. Infant formulas have something magical, the ballad, having the gift to bring us into the atmosphere. Final formulas usually contain a text of farewell, not without requiring the host to provide gifts . Gradually, old texts like Plugusor, with direct reference to agricultural activities, were invaded and replaced, in part, with comic texts without aesthetic value, the daily reality. Authenticity means adapting, because the folklore must always reflect daily life . The g ifts made to the Plugusor ’s waits, fruit trees (apples, walnuts, pears) and wheat crops (colacii) were recently replaced by money.

Steaua ( The Star ) :

Steaua ( The Star ) Steaua ( The Star ) is a Christmas custom specific for the Romanian people on Christmas Eve. Those who go with the Star are especially children with ages between 7 and 14. This tradition has a religious meaning being connected to the star that was shown to the three Wise Men in the East. The children go caroling with a big wooden star , adorned with colorful paper and fir branches.

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1 st primary school of Platykampos Platykampos Greece

CHRISTMAS IN GREECE:

CHRISTMAS IN GREECE

Christmas, the most beautiful day of the year:

Christmas, the most beautiful day of the year Modern life and new ways of communication have removed many traditions of Christmas. Some, insist on maintaining the tradition.

Christmas tree:

Christmas tree The decoration of the Christmas tree is the essence of Christmas. The custom in Greece has foreign origin and was imported by the Bavarians. The first tree was decorated in the palace of king Othon in 1833 and then in Athens. Since World War II, all Greek houses decorate the tree with coloured balls.

Before 1833 Greeks used to decorate for Christmas time a ship.:

Before 1833 Greeks used to decorate for Christmas time a ship. VV

Christmas pastry:

Christmas pastry Apart from the Christmas tree, the housewives prepare the christmas pastry too. Christmas pastry are: melomakarona, christopsoma, kurabiedes,diples,etc

Christmas day lunch:

Christmas day lunch Greeks use to go to the church on Christmas early in the morning. Some years ago, they used to eat chicken soup when they were returning from the church. Nowadays they eat turkey , lamb, pork, salads and they drink red or white wine. However, several areas in the country keep the custom in eating chicken soup, especially in our area, Thessaly.

Christmas carols:

Christmas carols Who doesn’t sing carols as a child! In Greece, children sing the carols on christmas eve and on new year’s eve, going from house to house. People give them tips and wishes for christmas and the new year’s day. The children use some instruments to play the carols, like triangle.

Carols in old times:

Carols in old times

Carols in nowadays:

Carols in nowadays

Santa Claus!!! Our Santa Claus is saint Vasilios :

Santa Claus!!! Our Santa Claus is saint Vasilios

In Orthodox Church the saint Vasilios was the bishop of Caesarea:

In Orthodox Church the saint Vasilios was the bishop of Caesarea He founded in his area hospitals, orphanages, nursing homes and spent all his property to help people. His name is connected to the new year’s cake that we make. Tradition says that he wanted to return to the people of the province, precious jewels that had been given to him.

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(He was going to give these jewels to the Roman officials who threatened to destroy the region). The Romans got away from the area without taking the jewels. He wanted to return the jewels ,but he didn’t know which jewels belonged to whom. Therefore, he ordered to put each of them in a pie and to share the pies to the people. So, everyone took a pie with a jewel inside.

King Cake:

King Cake We call King Cake the pie we make with a coin in it, on New Year’s Eve and we cut and share it shortly after the New Year change. We do it in memory of saint Vasilios pies.

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Escola Básica Integrada de Martinlongo Martinlongo Portugal

Portuguese Christmas traditions:

Portuguese Christmas traditions In Portugal Christmas is the most celebrated family festivity. Weeks before the houses are decorated with trees full of lights, wreaths and decorations. The crib is essential. People make huge cribs with moss and stones, and display figures like Our Lady, St. Joseph and Jesus Child. You also can find shepherds, flocks, and the Three Wise Men.

Tree decoration:

Tree decoration Christmas garland; Colourful ribbons; Balls; Lights; Stars; Bells; Angels; Candles.

Midnight Mass:

Midnight Mass The Midnight Mass is celebrated because tradition says that Jesus was born at midnight. For Roman Catholics, this custom to attend Mass began in the year 400. In Latin countries, this mass is called Midnight Mass, because, according to the legend, the only time a rooster crowed at midnight was the night that Jesus was born .

Christmas Eve :

Christmas Eve It is the most exciting part of the holiday season, because it announces the celebration of Jesus´ birth. The family celebrates Christmas with a rich table of sweet cakes and biscuits, dry fruits and good wine and liquors.

Christmas Eve :

Christmas Eve Around the Christmas Tree children play and the adults talk and hear Christmas music. At midnight the family goes to the midnight mass and when you return home Christmas presents are exchanged. The following day the family comes together again to share a family lunch.

Christmas Meals:

Christmas Meals Sewn cod with potatoes and cabbage; Turkey stuffed with chestnuts; Beef and Lamb with Roasted Potatoes; Fried octopus.

Drinks:

Drinks Whiskey; Champagne; Coca-Cola; Red wine or white; Ice tea; Sangria; Apple juice; Bitter almond drinks; Spirit drinks; Moscatel sweet wine.

Sweet Christmas Desserts:

Sweet Christmas Desserts “Bolo Rei” ('King Cake') is placed in the center of the table. It's a wreath like fruit cake laced with crystallized fruits and pine nuts. There is tiny present inside the cake and a broadbean. The person who finds the broadbean in one slice will pay the next "King Cake"!

Sweet Christmas Desserts:

Sweet Christmas Desserts Rice pudding with cinamon; “Filhós” - fried desserts; “Broas de mel” - pastries made with honey; “Sonhos” - pumpkin fried sweet; “Rabanadas” – sweet fried bread with cinamon; ChristmasTrunk ; Lamprey yarn eggs.

Sweet Christmas desserts:

Sweet Christmas desserts

Dry Christmas Fruits:

Dry Christmas Fruits Nuts; Pine nuts; Almonds; Figs; Raisins; Sultanas; Pistachio; Hazelnuts; Candied and crystallized fruits.

Janeiras:

Janeiras The Janeiras is a catholic celebration where a group of people stroll the streets of a town singing in the New Year. Janeiras is like Christmas caroling as it involves a group of friends or neighbors going from house to house singing and sometimes playing instruments. Once the song is done the singers are rewarded with Chestnuts, nuts, apples, and cured sausages. These days, chocolates are often offered too.

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Christmas at school

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Arpaseki İlköğretim Okulu Arpaseki Turkey

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SANTA CLAUS

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. SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA IS THE PRIMARY INSPIRATION FOR THE CHRISTIAN FIGURE OF SANTA CLAUS.

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HE WAS HE WAS A 4TH CENTURY GREEK CHRISTIAN BISHOP OF MYRA(NOW DEMRE)IN LYCIA,A PROVINCE OF THE BYZANTINE ANATOLIA,NOW IN TURKEY.

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NICHOLAS WAS FAMOUS FOR HIS GENEROUS GIFTS TO THE POOR,IN PARTICULAR PRESENTING THE THREE IMPOVERISHED DAUGHTERS OF A PIOUS CHRISTIAN WITH DOWRIES SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TO BECOME PROSTITUTES.

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HE WAS VERY RELIGIOUS FROM ON EARLY AGE AND DEVOTED HIS LIFE ENTIRELY TO CHRISTIANITY.

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IN EUROPE(MORE PRECISELY THE NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM,AUSTRIA AND GERMANY ) HE IS STILLPORTRAYED AS A BEARDED BISHOP IN CANONICAL ROBES.

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IN 1087 THE ITALIAN CITY OF BARI , WANTING TO ENTER THE PROFITABLE PILGRIMAGE INDUSTRY OF THE TIMES,

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MOUNTED AN EXPEDITION TO LOCATE THE TOMB OF THE CHRISTIAN SAINT AND PROCURE HIS REMAINS

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THE RELIQUARY OF ST.NICHOLAS WAS DESECRATED BY ITALIAN SAILORS AND THE SPOILS ,INCLUDING HIS RELICS, TAKEN TO BARI WHERE THEY ARE KEPT TO THIS DAY.

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A BASILICA WAS CONSTRUCTED THE SAME YEAR TO STORE THE LOOT AND THE AREA BECAME A PILGRIMAGE SITE FOR THE DEVOUT,

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THUS JUSTIFYING THE ECONOMIC COST OF THE EXPEDITION.

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IRISH HISTORIANS SAY THAT HIS REMAINS WERE MOVED ON AGAIN FROM ITALY TO JERPOINT ABBEY IN COUNTY KILKENNY ,WHERE HIS GRAVE CAN STILL BE SEEN.

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SAINT NICHOLAS BECAME CLAIMED AS A PATRON SAINT OF MANY DIVERSE GROUPS, FROM ARCHERS AND CHILDREN TO PAWNBROKERS.

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HE IS ALSO THE PATRON SAINT OF BOTH AMSTERDAM AND MOSCOW.

CHURCH OF ST.NICHOLAS MYRA (KALE/DEMRE) IN ANTALYA/TURKEY:

CHURCH OF ST.NICHOLAS MYRA (KALE/DEMRE) IN ANTALYA/TURKEY

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THE CHURCH OF ST.NICHOLAS IN MYRA

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CHURCH INTERIOR

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CEILING FRESCO

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CHURCH ENTRANCE

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OPUS SECTILE FLOOR

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FRESCO IN A NICHE

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INTERİOR, LOOKİNG TOWARDS THE ALTAR

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STATUE OF ST. NICHOLAS OUTSIDE OF CHURCH.

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SAINT NICHOLAS’S CITIES PATARA AND MYRA (IN ANTALYA/TURKEY)

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A PICTURE OF SOME OF THE RUINS AT PATARA.NOTE A CITY GATE AT THE LOWER LEFT CORNER AND THE THEATRE SET IN THE HILLSIDE.

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A VIEW BACK ACROSS THE CITY RUINS FROM THE TOP OF THE AMPHITHEATRE.

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A VIEW OF THE PARTIALLY RESTORED MAIN STREET OF PATARA.

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PATARA GATEWAY

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RUINS OF ROMAN DATE BATHS

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PATARA’S BEACH

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MYRA’S ANTIQUE THEATRE

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MYRA’S ROCKTOMBS

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ST. NICHOLAS’ S REAL GRAVE

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SOME OF THE MANY CARVED MASKS AT MYRA’S THEATRE

Christmas in Turkey:

C hristmas in T urkey

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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