Brooms, Spiders & Roller Skates – Christmas Customs

 

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Like most legends and customs, they are not necessarily celebrated in every part of a country.  For example, in Norway there is the legend that on Christmas Eve, witches and evil spirits enter homes looking for brooms to ride open. To stop these evil witches from causing trouble, kids hide the brooms.  In some cases, a man  (or woman) takes a shotgun outside and fires it into the air.  The idea is to scare bad witches and spirits away so that Christmas can be celebrated in peace and love.

 

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In Ukraine, Christmas trees are often decorated with spider webs or an ornament which is hidden deep inside the pine tree.  Whoever finds the ornament or web may receive a special gift accompanied by good luck for the coming year.  There is a nice story or folk tale about a poor widowed mother  who could not afford decorations for her family’s Christmas tree. One Christmas morning she awoke to find a spider had beautifully decorated the tree with its web.  (A spider is also associated with the spirit and strength of women).

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In Caracas, Venezuela, there is a tradition to attend morning Mass starting on December 16th and ending either on Christmas Eve Mass (Dec 24th) or Christmas Day Mass (Dec. 25th).  This is not unusual for a Catholic country, but the manner in which Mass attendance is done is unusual and great!  Everyone gets to the church on roller skates or roller-blades.

The streets are blocked off to vehicular traffic until 8 am and children, the night before, tie one end of a piece of string to their big toes and hang the other end out the window. As roller skaters go by the next morning, they give a tug to all the strings hanging out the windows.

However you celebrate Christmas, may you have love, peace, joy and good health this season.  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, may you also have the same good wishes.    Pauline.