Preparation to the New Year is a troublesome but very pleasant activity. Different countries prepare for the holidays differentl
The British, in addition to an ordinary fur-tree, use mistletoe twigs that symbolize hospitality and fertility. This tradition was handed down from generation to generation as the ancestry considered the plant to be magical. It is placed on chandeliers, lamps and a festive table. The British have a legend: if two kiss under the mistletoe on the New Year night, they will be happy. English homes are decorated mostly in red color: during the Christmas holidays the color palette totally changes, starting from napkins and finishing with curtains. Christmas Stocking is another important element: they are embellished and placed on a fireplace for Santa to put some gifts in them.
The Germans also like decorating their homes with red adding green to it. They use various garlands, Santa Klaus statuettes and painted windows. Christmas wreath is very important element: it was Germany that first used it for the holidays. People put four candles in a wreath and light them on Sundays, four weeks before the Christmas.
Similar décor is used in Austria. In addition to the red-green palette of a Christmas wreath, the Austrians like decorating their homes with designer’s cards. They use the cards as garlands and hang them up on the ceiling along with garlands made of fur twigs.
In Finland, the home of Santa Claus, people hang up straw chandelier called himmeli. Himmeli is a hand-made element, which symbolizes abundant harvest for the next year. The Finns keep himmeli after the Christmas holidays, till the very summer. Along with this tradition they also use modern decorations like a fur-tree with garlands and Christmas Stocking on a fireplace.
In Sweden people decorate their windows and window-sills, the walls and the doors. They mostly use light garlands to lay out animals or holidays greeting like “Happy New Year”. The Swedes also light candles and place them on the window-sills.
The Greeks decorate a pomegranate instead of a fir. They give pomegranate fruit to each other as it is a symbol of Christmas. The tradition of a New Year’s tree decorating came a little bit later to Greece. Residents of some coastal areas of the country embellish a wooden ship.
The Danes don’t like too much color in a Christmas décor. They mostly use pastel color palette and natural materials. White color that is peculiar to the Scandinavian style also prevails on Christmas. It symbolizes snow as an integral part of the winter holidays. People also use wooden and glass statuettes, cones, fir and willow twigs.
In Japan people use a pine-tree for Christmas decoration. They make kadomatsu that means “a pine by the door”. The Japanese thread rice straws, fern, bamboo, algae, put mandarins and dried shrimps in kadomatsu. Bamboo, plum-tree or pine-tree are necessary elements: people decorate them with flowers, fish or fruits toys. Each of these trees promises prosperity for the house they are installed. The special attribute is a tangerine-tree and its fruits. The main Christmas colors are pink, green and yellow.
The pine-tree is also used for Christmas decoration in China: the Chinese don’t install fir. People hang twigs of cypress and pine-tree, as well as a blooming peach at the door. The color palette is like the British one: red color as a symbol of luck. Another New Year’s elements are five white paper strips that are hung above the bed. The Chinese believe that these strips bring joy, honor, wealth, longevity and luck.
The Iranians also use symbols promising joy and wellbeing. Several weeks before celebration people plant wheat or lentil in pots. Their sprouts are necessary elements for the festive table, along with the Koran. Decoration of the house is traditional instead of one thing, which is peculiar for the Iranian Christmas: they put a vase of water with an orange inside. This symbolizes the Earth in space.
In India people embellish mango or banana tree and hang up oil lamps under the ceiling.
The Australians decorate their homes with nuytsia, which is the analogue of mistletoe. This is a tree with bright-yellow flowers that can reach 10 meters high. It is embellished with kangaroo or koalas wearing Santa outfits.
The USA prepare for the holidays longer than other nations. The Americans install and embellish the main tree of the year at the end of November. The fir takes the main spot of the Americans’ houses and is decorated with monochrome balls or red satin bows.
The Americans are also known for their love to various garlands. They use plenty of them – inside and outside the house. Windows, doors, front and figures in the yard – everything shines and marks the upcoming Christmas.