Artículos de Diciembre 2008

Christmas

Lunes, 1 Diciembre 2008

                                                         

At Christmas, people remember when Jesus Christ was born and the Christian religion started. Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, about two thousand years ago. The people who followed Jesus’ teaching were the first Christians.

Today, Christmas is a very important time in the Christian year, but it is also very important to those who do not go to church. It is time for buying and giving presents, having parties, and being with family.

People start to get ready for Christmas in late October or early November. Shop-keepers decorate their shops with lights, trees and other decorations, and shoppers start to look for presents. Shops get very busy and stay open later. People with family and friends in other countries often send them cards and presents, and everyone begins to make plans for the coming holiday.

                                                                 

In the middle of December, most families buy Christmas trees, put them inside the house, and put colourful decorations  on them. They also send cards to friends and family. The cards say things like “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” or “Season’s Greetings”. These two traditions (the trees and the cards) both started in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Many children learn about the baby Jesus at school. Sometimes they do a play about the story and sing Christmas songs, called carols, for their mothers and fathers.

                                                                     

Many children have Advent calendars with little doors for each day until Christmas. Every day the child opens a new door and inside there is a picture or a chocolate.

Many children have parties at school, and many adults have parties at work in December. Most people have 25 and 26 December off work, from 25 December to 1 January. They usually spend this time at home with their family or visiting family who live far away.

The Christmas holiday begins on 24 December: Christmas Eve. People often stop work early and have a drink together, or finish their Chrismas shopping .

                                                                 

They cover the presents in special paper, and put them under the tree. Children leave a stocking for Santa Claus when they go to bed. Santa Claus is a big man with white hair and red clothes who brings presents for children during the night. (In Britain he is usually called Father Christmas). If the house has a fireplace, the children sometimes leave their stockings by the fire because Santa Claus comes down the chimney. Mothers and fathers tell their children that Santa Claus only comes when they are sleeping, but they do not usually sleep very well. If they are good children, he leaves presents in the stockings. (If they are bad he leaves them a piece of coal!). Some children leave a drink and a mince pie for Santa and some vegetables for his animals.

Many people go to church at midnight on Christmas Eve. They hear the Christmas story and sing carols.

Christmas Day (25 December) is a holiday. Children usually wake up very early. They look in their stockings to see what Santa put there for them. After breakfast they open their other presents around the tree.

                                                                   

Christmas dinner is in the afternoon and is the biggest meal of the day. Before they start to eat, people pull crackers. The crackers make a loud noise, and have a small game and paper party hat inside.

Dinner is usually turkey with lots of winter vegetables and then hot mince pies or a Christmas pudding.

At three o’clock many people in Britain turn their televisions on because the Queen says “Happy Christmas” to everyone.

A lot of ppeople go for a walk in the afternoon or play with their new games.

In the evening, people eat cold meat, and Christmas cake (a kind of fruit cake), fruit and nuts, but they are usually not very hungry because of their big dinner. Boxing Day (26 December) is also a holiday in Britain, but many shops now open on this day. In the nineteenth century, rich people gave boxes to their workers on Boxing Day, with Christmas presents inside. Now it is another day for eating, drinking and watching television at home, or going out to watch some sport.

Another British Christmas tradition is the pantomime. A pantomime is a kind of play with a children’s story (like Cinderella or Aladdin) and lots of music and songs. There is usually a man who wears women’s clothes and plays an old woman. “She” is not very beautiful, but makes everyone laugh. There is also a “bad” person in the story. Every time the bad person comes out, the people who watch the pantomime say “Boo!” or “Hiss!” very loudly. Children like pantomimes because they can join in and make a lot of noise. They often go with their school or family.

The Christmas season ends on the twelfth day after 25 December, which is 6 January. Most people take down their Christmas trees and decorations by this date, and some people think it is bad luck not to do that.

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations   -  OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)