Christmas Cracker of Christmas Traditions


Anne Muir and Adam Navis share a Christmas cracker of stories and customs from Christmas around the world.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Anne Muir.

Voice 2  

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3  

“Oh! You got the prize last time!”

Voice 4  

“Pull another cracker with me!”

Voice 1  

In England, near Christmastime, there is a table at the centre of the room. The table is ready for a special meal. There are plates, but no food. Instead there are thick paper tubes on the plates. Beautiful coloured paper covers the tubes. The ends of the paper are twisted and turned. People pull on the ends of the paper until there is a loud noise - a bang or a crack. Then the tube breaks open. Inside it, there are surprises and information. There is a paper hat, a funny poem, and a small gift. Everyone puts on a paper hat and reads the poems. This is a fun part of Christmas for many people.

Voice 2  

These tubes are called Christmas crackers. Today’s Spotlight program is a Christmas cracker programme. It is full of Christmas surprises and information. In it, we tell of Christmas traditions and their origins. Pull the cracker open with us!

Voice 1  

One of the most famous Christmas traditions is the Christmas tree. The most popular kind of Christmas tree is a fir tree. Some people use other trees, even plastic ones. People like to hang beautiful objects from the branches. In Denmark, people may hang sweet food on them. In China, people hang beautiful red paper and lights on their trees. In Brazil, people put small pieces of white cotton on the tree so it looks like it is covered in snow.

Voice 2  

No one knows how the tradition of hanging objects on a tree began. People have done this for thousands of years. One story says that the country of Latvia had the very first Christmas tree. There are records that the city of Riga had a Christmas tree in the year 1510. People say this tree had paper flowers on it, though no one really knows. However, it was in Germany that the modern idea of a Christmas tree became popular. From there it spread around the world. At first, Germans hung fruit on the tree. Later, they added candles to light the tree, and then glass balls.

Voice 1  

One common object to put on the top of a tree is a star. This tradition represents part of the Christian Christmas story. Christians believe that over 2,000 years ago a star appeared to tell of the birth of Jesus. This was the child promised to bring peace and hope to the whole world. And because he was born in the city of Bethlehem, his star is called the star of Bethlehem.

Voice 2  

The story goes that wise men from the east saw the star. They studied the night sky and stars. They knew that this star represented an important event — the birth of a new king. So they decided to follow the star. Their trip was a long one, and difficult. But finally they found the young Jesus in the town of Bethlehem. They gave him gifts. They worshiped him. The star had led them to this special king.

Voice 1  

In the streets of Manila, the Philippines, people celebrate the star of Bethlehem with lanterns - lights in protective cases. People spend hours making and designing them. They make them in many shapes and sizes. But the most popular shape is a star. People call these lanterns parols. They hang them along roads. They also hang them in their houses. They start hanging parols as early as September! Filipinos say they celebrate Christmas longer than any other country — from September to December.

Voice 2  

Many people celebrate Christmas Day on the 25th of December. But some people celebrate on a different day. In Ethiopia, people celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. They call it ‘Ganna’. They do not eat the day before Ganna. Then on Ganna, they wake up very early. They must be ready for a church service at 4:00 in the morning. People wear traditional clothes called shammas. They are white with bright edges of colours. And children sometimes receive new clothes.

Voice 1  

In Mexico there is a different tradition for children. In some places children act the story of the holy family — the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus and her husband Joseph. Just before the birth of Jesus, his family needed a place to stay. They had travelled a far distance to the town of Bethlehem. Mary was very pregnant. Joseph tried to find a place where they could spend the night. But there was no room for them. Finally someone let them stay with the animals. Jesus was born in this low, poor place.

Voice 2  

For eight nights two Mexican children carry small statues of Mary and Joseph. They lead a parade of people from house to house. This is called the posada. At each house they sing songs. Then they ask for shelter. On the ninth night they will find a family to help them. The children place their statues in this family’s nativity scene. The nativity scene is an image of the night of Jesus’ birth. It contains statues of animals and people. People put these in their houses to remember the gift of love of Jesus’ birth.

Voice 1  

The Mexican children have one more exciting event left. They are waiting to hit the piñata. The piñata is made of thick paper. It is shaped like an animal or the Star of Bethlehem. Inside the piñata There are sugary sweets and small gifts. The adults put blindfolds on the children to cover their eyes. Then they turn the children around and around. The children do not know where the piñata is. But they try to find it. And then they hit it with sticks. Finally the piñata breaks open and the surprises fall out. The children run to get them.

Voice 2  

Around the world people celebrate Christmas in different ways. It is a day many wait for all year round. For many, it is a time of good feelings and time with family. For Christians, it is a time to remember the blessing of love and the gift of Jesus.

Voice 1  

Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Rachel Hobson. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Christmas Cracker of Christmas Traditions’.

Voice 1  

You can also get our programs delivered directly to your Android or Apple device through our free official Spotlight English app. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you celebrate Christmas? If you do not, what Christmas traditions have you heard of? If you do, what is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Comments


Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on December 20, 2017

I heard about Christmas celebrate from long time.
I saw Chrismas celebrate when I was in Syria for University study (1995-2002) before I become a Cristian.
I celebrated Christmas in Ethiopia, Ganna celebrate (I live there as a refugee).
I like the Ethiopian Christmas traditions because it is gathers between religin and culture.
God bless you and Happy Christmas

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Vitalya
said on December 20, 2017

A beautiful story. I will listen to it more than once. Because you tell only the most interesting.
Christmas is my favorite holiday. It is magical, cute and beautiful))

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kenhieuloilam
said on December 21, 2017

It is cold in winter. Christmas comes. We thank God for the grace God has given us and our family in all our lives. We wish the grace of God of Christmas. We need the grace of God to live a beautiful good life. We need the grace of God to live a holy life. We live to do the will of God. We live our faith life. Our lives have difficulty, challenge and suffering. Difficulty, challenge and suffering are big. We live our lives for God and we die for God. We wish the grace of God to be always with and support us on our faith journeys.