Sunday, Dec 04, 2016
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TOLEDO MAGAZINE: PEACE ON EARTH

Holiday celebrations take place around the world

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People walk in Moscow's Red Square decorated for New Year and Christmas celebrations, with St. Basil Cathedral in the background.

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There are feasts and there are sparkling lights.

There are fat men in red suits and humongous Christmas trees.

There are smiling, happy children and harried shoppers.

It must be Christmas all over the world.

PHOTO GALLERY: Holiday celebrations around the world

It’s not just an American thing, all of this hullabaloo over the holidays. From Russia to Hong Kong and South Korea to the Netherlands, the world celebrates in various forms the birth of Jesus Christ, the winter Solstice, and whatever other cold weather traditions have been passed down through the ages.

As Christianity spread across the globe, Christmas was eventually celebrated in places that traditionally were Buddhist or Hindu and, of course, the various European countries have their twists on the holiday.

In Sweden things get rolling on Dec. 13 for the Saint Lucia ceremony, and Christmas trees are generally brought into the home just a few days before the big day. In Poland special emphasis is put on Advent and the days leading up to Dec. 25, while in Hungary the big celebrations are actually on Christmas Eve.

The ubiquitous nature of the celebrations indicates something magical about this time of year that doesn’t fade no matter how much we grouse about crowded malls, garish commercialism, and an over-saturation of consumerism.

Embedded in the traditional rituals that span the planet is always the notion that peace will prevail. And perhaps bah humbug doesn’t translate so well in other languages.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.

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