Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Christmas around the world

Published:Sunday | December 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
In this Tuesday, November 25, photo, Dennis Diehl, 66, gets his beard bleached snow-white ahead of the Christmas season in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Diehl dresses up as Santa each year for a variety of non-profits around Rehoboth Beach. When he first started volunteering as Santa, he wore a fake beard, he said, but it drove him crazy. After a discussion with his wife, he decided to grow a beard of his own.
Children sing during a lighting ceremony of a Christmas tree at Seoul City Hall Plaza, South Korea, on Saturday, November 29. The country prepares for the Christmas and New Year holidays.-AP Photos
Colombia will shine brightly to welcome the holiday spirit. - See full caption at the end of story.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has a Christmas tree this year, thanks to an unusual patron: the Russian government. Amid high tensions between Russia and the West over violence in Ukraine, Russia's ambassador to France says the "tree is a message of peace".
Tobias looks over the shoulder of his father, wood carver Hans Schwabl, as he paints a traditional wooden Perchten mask in his factory in Inzell, southern Germany, on Thursday, November 27 - see full caption at the end of story.
First Lady Michelle Obama (second left) waves to the press after welcoming the official White House Christmas tree on Friday, November 28. This year's tree, which will be on display in the Blue Room, is a white fir grown by Chris Botek (second right), a second-generation Christmas tree farmer from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. Sasha Obama (left), with dog Sunny, and Malia Obama (right), with Bo, also participated.
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With just 18 days to go before one of the most wonderful times of the year, all around the world, Christmas is reflected in various traditions and cultures. The festivities can be startlingly different from what we are exposed to or practise. But wherever you are and whatever your cultural practices, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

The tradition of the Festival of Lights or 'Alumbrado Navideño' is celebrated every year throughout the month of December in Colombia. The lights become the main attraction of the city every December; the Rio Medellin, the parks of the city and their downtown become a traditional display of Christmas decorations. Additionally, parades are held in the streets and all the houses are decorated with paper lanterns.

The weather is warm in Mexico during the Christmas season. Families decorate their homes with lilies and evergreens, and cut intricate designs in brown paper bags to make lanterns, or farolitos. They place a candle inside and then set the farolitos along sidewalks, on windowsills, and on rooftops and outdoor walls to illuminate the community with the spirit of Christmas.

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Additional information provided by PROCOLOMBIA and howstuffworks.com.

Captions

Colombia

Colombia will shine brightly to welcome the holiday spirit. The tradition of the Festival of Lights or 'Alumbrado Navideño' is celebrated every year throughout the month of December, with events open to the public, including block parties, free concerts, religious traditions and city tours in Medellin, Cali and Quimbaya, among other cities. Colombians and tourists will be enjoying the famous Alumbrados as early as December 1. The Festival of Lights has been a part of Colombian holiday tradition for many years. Today, the festival is an expression of art, giving the opportunity to Colombians to make magical light arrangements to decorate their whole cities. As a result, the lights have attracted thousands of people, fostering tourism and making the tradition grow more every year.-AP Photos

Germany

Tobias looks over the shoulder of his father, wood carver Hans Schwabl, as he paints a traditional wooden Perchten mask in his factory in Inzell, southern Germany, on Thursday, November 27. The masks are made for the upcoming Saint Nicholas Buttnmandl and Perchten parades in November and December around the Alp regions, in southern Germany and Austria. During the Buttnmandl parades, unmarried men, known as Buttnmandl and Krampusse, are dressed in straw or skins with wooden masks or skins over their heads and large cow-bells tied around their hips to make loud noises. They follow Saint Nicholas from house to house on December 5 and 6 every year to bring luck to the good ones and punish the idle. The Perchten parades take place after Christmas.

Australia

Lights twinkle in a mall in Canberra, Australia, where David Richards has set a Guinness World Record by stringing up almost 1.2 million Christmas lights in the centre of the national capital, Thursday, November 27. Guinness World Records on Friday confirmed that the 120 kilometres (75 miles) of multicoloured wire strung in the shape of three interconnected giant, wrapped Christmas gifts was the world's largest image made of Light Emitting Diode, or LED, lights.