Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Around the World

Tech companies have invented the modern Christmas tradition of the Santa Tracking interactive map. Between now and Christmas Eve you can visit Google's Santa Tracker webpage and  play a different Santa related game every day.

The Google Santa Tracker also includes a Google Map looking at Christmas Traditions around the world. It is always fascinating to explore how different cultures celebrate Christmas. For example did you know that n Iceland the Christmas Cat prowls the streets at Christmas gobbling up anyone who is not dressed-up in clothes warm enough to ward off the winter cold.

If you are interested in learning more about Christmas traditions in different cultures you should also have a look at the Santas Around the World map. Santa goes by many different names. In many countries he is of course Saint Nicholas, but he is also known as Father Christmas, Agios Vasilis, Shengdan Laoren and Ded Moroz.

It seems that there are two main versions of Santa's name. In many countries Santa is named after Saint Nicholas, for example 'Santa Claus' itself derives from the Dutch 'Sinterklaas', a dialectal pronunciation of Saint Nicholas. In many other countries he goes by the name of Father Christmas, for example he is 'Père Noël' in France, 'Pai Natal' in Portugal and 'Papa Noel' in Spain.
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