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In various countries around the world, people all have different ways of celebrating Christmas. In the U.S, families might have a big dinner on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas day, children will open presents under the Christmas tree. These common traditions are familiar to most of us, but families from other countries may have different holiday traditions. In Mexico, flowers such as poinsettias and orchids are essential for decorations. During the Christmas party, children take turns trying to break open the piñata. On January 6, children also receive gifts from the Three Wise Men. In Sweden, Christmas Eve is an important occasion, and families have dinner and exchange gifts during this time. On Christmas morning, churches are entirely lit with candles for Christmas service.

Although Christmas is not celebrated in some countries, many holidays are very similar to Christmas. Kwanzaa begins on December 26, and is usually celebrated by African Americans. Each day focuses on one of seven principles: unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperation, purpose, creativity and faith. This holiday also consists of feasts and gift giving. Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday, is celebrated by lighting a menorah. The holiday lasts for nine days, which is symbolized by each branch of the menorah. It is customary to light a single candle for each night. Special foods, such as donuts and latkes, are prepared during the celebration. Ramadan, an Islamic holiday, also occurs during the holiday season. It is celebrated by fasting during the daylight hours, and eating small meals after sundown. Ramadan ends with a big festival with friends and family.
3/5/2009 1:47:21 AM
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