In Liberia oil palm decorated with bells is a typical Christmas Tree. In India banana or mango trees are decorated. In Greece there are Christmas trees but the main plant associated with Christmas is… basil. It is wrapped around a wooden cross and, once a day, dipped in holy water. Than a person from the family (usually the mother) sprinkles the water around the house. It is supposed to keep the spirits away. In Czech Republic cherry tree is very important for a young woman at Christmas time. The twig must be put in water on 4th December. If it blossoms before the Christmas Eve – she will get married in the following year.

Not everywhere presents are given at Christmas time. In Greece you have to wait until 1st January, in Spain you wait for Three Wise Men who come 6th January. In Japan the rules about presents are really complicated. In family presents are given only to children if the still believe in Santa Claus: once they stop believing, they stop being given presents. If you spend Christmas with your boyfriend or girlfriend, which is very popular, you also give and receive small presents – like teddy bears, little cushions. Presents at the end of the year are much more serious. According to the tradition of Oseibo, people who get a present must be able to check its price (that’s why presents are most often bought at department stores) and then should give the preset worth more or less the same.

In Spain Christmas can be dangerous. At Christmas, turron is eaten. It is a sweet nougat made of sugar and almonds – potentially dangerous for your teeth! The New Years Eve also has its dangers: at midnight 12 grapes are swallowed – one for each stroke of the clock. “Christopsomo”, Christ bread eaten in Greece are large sweet loaves of various shapes with decorations associated with the family’s profession. The gravedigger’s family could probably have the same cake for Hallow’een. The French cake “buche de Noel” is famous all over the world because it looks like a… log. In Japan all shops struggle to sell their cakes before Christmas. A well known joke is that a woman of 25 is an “unsold Christmas cake”.

If you don’t want to pay, you shouldn’t go out in Spain on December 28th. During the feast of the Holy Innocents young boys light bonfires. One of the boys acts as a mayor and orders people to do some awful things like cleaning the streets. If they don’t, they have to pay fines. In Spain, however, you can also gain a lot of money at Christmas time. On 22nd December there is the great state lottery called El Gordo (The Fat One) where you can become a millionaire.

Christmas time is a romantic time and the most romantic time in Japan. Here, as only about 1% of the Japanese are Christian, the holiday reminds of Valentines Day. You simply must spend it with your boyfriend and it must be a very romantic evening: restaurant, candles, little presents. In Finland they know you can’t be romantic without being fresh and clean. The Christmas festivities are preceded by a visit to the bath. When you are clean, you put fresh clothes – and you can start!

basil – bazylia
wrap – owijać, pakować
dip – zanurzać
sprinkle – pokropić
spirits – duchy
twig – gałązka
blossom – kwitnąć
cushion – poduszka
almonds – migdały
swallow – połykać
stroke – uderzenie
gravedigger – grabarz
log – pieniek
struggle – walczyć
bonfire – ognisko
fine – grzywna
bath – łaźnia