Christmas Eve was always my favorite part of the holiday. We always had our main meal this night, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, and it was so yummy! My Aunts and Uncles would come over, we would open gifts after dinner, and there would be wrapping paper all over the place! It was fun to see them become kids again opening their presents. Once I became an adult, I was sure to give my parents stockings each year, filled with small gifts. When I was little, my parents actually put up the tree Christmas Eve after I went to bed. I find it interesting other countries do that as well.
Here are some traditions for this wonderful holiday from the fun website WhyChristmas :
Christmas Eve has many of its own customs and traditions. The one that mostly still exists today is going to a Midnight Mass Church Service. In many countries, especially Catholic ones such as Spain, Mexico, Poland and Italy, this is the most important Church service of the Christmas season. People might fast during Christmas Eve (not eat any meat or fish usually) and then the main Christmas meal is often eaten after the Midnight Mass Service in these countries. In some other countries, such as Belgium, Finland, Lithuania and Denmark the meal is eaten in the evening and you might go to a Midnight Service afterwards!
The Midnight Mass Communion Service (or 'Christ-Mas') was a very special one as it was the only one that was allowed to start after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so it was held at Midnight!
Christmas Eve is also the day when people in some countries, like Germany, Sweden and Portugal exchange their presents. Christmas Eve is also Santa's busiest day of the year when he has to travel over 220 million miles (355 million km) to get to every house on earth!
In many European countries including Germany, Serbia and Slovakia, Christmas Eve is the day when the Christmas Tree is brought into the house and decorated.
It was also traditional to bring the Yule Log into the house and light it on Christmas Eve. It was lit using a piece of the previous years log and then would burnt non-stop until Twelfth Night (6th January). Tradition also said that any greenery such as Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe should only be taken into the house on Christmas Eve.
I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas Eve!
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