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“Christmas Eve” Traditional Culture

Tomorrow is Chrismas Eve.How to celebrate Chrismas Day?

Christmas Eve, on December 24, is the day before Christmas Day, the celebrated birthday of Jesus Christ.

Religious observance

In the Western Christian Churches, the Christmas season liturgically begins on Christmas Eve. For many Western European religions, Saint Nicolas (Santa) is the focus of Christmas. The Mass of the Vigil is said in the late afternoon or early evening hours of December 24. The Christmas season continues through until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday following the Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Many Roman Catholics and Anglicans traditionally celebrate a midnight Mass at midnight on Christmas Eve, which is held in churches throughout the world, marking the beginning of Christmas Day. A popular joke is to ask what time Midnight Mass starts, but in recent years some churches have started their "Midnight" Mass as early as 7 P.M. Other Catholic churches hold a candlelight service which is typically held earlier in the evening. These often feature dramatizations of the Nativity. Similar worship services are held in many Protestant churches on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day.

In the early evening, many Methodists come to their church to celebrate Holy Communion with their families. The mood is very solemn, and often the only visible light is the Advent Wreath, and the candles upon the Lord's Table.

The Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast annually from King's College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve has established itself as one of the signs that Christmas has begun in the United Kingdom. It is broadcast to many parts of the world via the BBC World Service.

Large meals are common, often with turkey or ham as the main item. A traditional dish in Germany is roasted goose. In Czech Republic and Slovakia it is a fish soup and breaded roasted carp with potato salad. Italian Catholics eat seven types of seafood. In some parts of Eastern Europe such as Poland and Lithuania, a traditional meatless 12-dishes Christmas Eve Supper is served before opening gifts.

Gift giving
It is also seen as the night when Santa Claus or his international variants, make their rounds giving gifts to good children. In the Czech Republic, where St. Nicholas (sv. Mikuláš) gave his sweet gifts already more than two weeks earlier, is Ježíšek, that is Child Jesus or also known to most as Christkind, the Christmas gift-giver. In Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Iceland, Argentina, Poland, Portugal and Quebec, Kazakhstan Christmas presents are opened on the evening of the 24th, while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, and Australia mostly on the morning of Christmas Day. In Finland Joulupukki personally meets children and gives presents in the evening of Christmas Eve. In most parts of Germany, Austria and Switzerland Christmas presents are opened in the evening of December 24th ('Bescherung') and are brought by Christkind or Christchild, who leaves the gifts but is never seen doing so. In Spain gifts are traditionally opened on the morning of January 6, Epiphany day ("Día de Los Reyes"), though in some other countries, like Argentina and Uruguay people received presents both around Christmas and on the morning of Epiphany day; there are also some countries, like the rest of Latin America, where people stay awake until midnight, when they open the presents.

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