The clocks have gone back, the evenings are getting darker and the weather has taken a cold spell! It’s getting to that time of the year again.
With the hustle and bustle that the Christmas market brings, it also provides some fantastic opportunities for the School. The boy and girl choristers opened the Christmas market with a wonderful carol service which was well received by the public. The choristers have an exciting but challenging upcoming schedule as we make our way to the end of Michaelmas term. Positive reinforcement and support will be available from both the Cathedral and the School to ensure that pupils are suitably prepared for their services. The musical level that the pupils are currently working at is a very high standard, and although the music can be challenging, they should be extremely proud of the progress they have made with their singing. I’ve certainly got my ticket, and I will be looking forward to seeing their hard work come to fruition.
As we move ever closer to December there are large parts of England beginning to get into the festive spirit. Saying that, it is important to remember that many people in the world don’t celebrate Christmas, and those that do have varying and wonderful ways of celebrating it.
Christmas in China
聖誕節快樂 (Shèng Dàn Kuài Lè) – Merry Christmas in Mandarin – Not the first country you might expect to celebrate Christmas with only one percent of the population being Christians, so it’s not widely celebrated, but in the major cities you will find Christmas lights, trees and other decorations in the streets, shopping centres and department stores. Santa Claus is called ‘Shen Dan Lao Ren’ and you can even find him in his grotto just like us. A tradition that is becoming popular in China is the giving of apples on Christmas Eve and the singing of Christmas Carols.
Christmas in Portugal
Feliz Natal – Merry Christmas in Portugese – In Portugal Father Christmas (Pai Natal) is believed to bring presents to children on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day; and just like the UK they are now left under the Christmas Tree. The traditional Christmas meal in Portugal; Consoada, is eaten during the evening of Christmas Eve and consists of codfish with green vegetables and boiled potatoes.
After the meal, traditionally families go to church for the Missa do Galo or ‘Mass of the Rooster’. Where an image of baby Jesus is brought out, and everyone queues up to kiss it (Covid may cause restrictions this year!). It is then put in the nativity scene. After the service traditionally people return home and open their presents, but now it’s more common for a few presents to be opened after mass; and the rest opened on Christmas morning. Christmas Trees have only been popular in homes since the 1970s. Before this presents were placed in shoes by the fireplace!
Christmas in India
क्रिसमस की बधाई (Krisamas Kee Badhaee) – Merry Christmas in Hindi – Compared to other religious festivals, Christmas in India is quite a small festival as only about 2.6% of the population are Christians – but that’s still 30 million people! Midnight mass is a very important tradition for Indian Christians. The whole family will walk to the mass and this will be followed by a massive feast and the giving and receiving of presents. Instead of having traditional Christmas Trees, a banana or mango tree is decorated and in the southern part of India, Christians will put small oil burning clay lamps on the flat roofs of their homes to show their neighbours that Jesus is the light of the world.
If you are celebrating Christmas this year, I do hope that you have an enjoyable, relaxing, fun-filled and memorable Christmas with the ones that you love.
Mr Daniel Kelly
Boy Chorister Tutor
Year 7K Form Tutor