December 2002
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The Christmas "Mood"
By Anna Woods, Grade 12, Carleton North High School, Bristol, NB

Whether it is the sound of “Jingle Bells” or “Navidad, Navidad” that you hear as you finish your Christmas shopping, it does nothing but put you in the Christmas spirit. Along with the music, Christmas celebrations and traditions help the mood flow freely.

In Spain, the celebrations begin as early as December 8th, and lasts through to the end of the month. On the 8th, people gather together for the “Feast of the Immaculate Conception”and then for a ceremony called “los siess” or the dance of six. In the past years not much has changed except for the “los siess” which is now performed with not six but ten boys doing a set of precise movements and gestures.

Christmas Eve is known as “Nochebuena” or “the good-night”. This is a time for families to get together and enjoy traditions, which include Midnight Mass, gift exchanges, and enjoying the Christmas candy “turror”. The feast of the “Holy Innocents” follows on the 28th of December. Young boys light bonfires around the village, and one boy is voted as mayor for the day.

The new mayor is permitted to command village people to do simple tasks such as sweeping sidewalks, picking up trash and so on. If a villager refuses to do their task, they are fined. All money received from the fines go towards next year’s celebrations.

Children thrive for the visits from the three wise men who leave small gifts on their doorstep. To show their gratitude, they leave their shoes filled with hay and carrots for the donkeys the wise men ride into town.

So you see, whether it’s Christmas in Canada, or Christmas in Spain, similar celebrations and traditions are consistent. We have Santa Claus and reindeer, they have the Three Wise Men and donkeys, both leave the pleasure of the holidays in children’s hearts Christmas morning.


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