With the holidays (quickly) approaching, I wanted to share a couple of Christmas traditions some of our countries practice!
The Christmas tree has great importance in the celebration of Christmas in Haiti. TheHaitians cut pine branches to serve as Christmas trees, or they go to the market and get freshly cut trees brought from the mountains just a few days before Christmas. The trees are decorated with lights and bright ornaments. At the base of the Christmas tree they add a big nativity scene which occupies a large part of the living room. The nativity scene depicts the birth of baby Jesus in a cave manger, with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the three wise men, and sculptured stable animals. The realistic touch is given by the hay which is strewn around in the stable. An endearing tradition of Christmas in Haiti is that on Christmas Eve, the children place their cleaned up shoes filled with straw, on the porch or under the Christmas tree for Papa Noel (Santa Claus). Santa Claus removes the hay to fill up the shoes with presents. Christmas day is spent feasting, visiting friends and family and for small children playing with the new toys brought by Papa Noel.
Latvia is also closely associated with the Christmas tree, and some legends say it was in Riga that the first Christmas tree was decorated in front of the House of Blackheads on Town Hall Square in the beginning of the 16th century. Whether or not this is true makes no difference, because the tradition of decorating Christmas trees is alive and well in Latvia. One is erected every year in that legendary spot on the medieval square. Christmas trees in Latvia can be decorated in a variety of ways, but hanging Christmas ornaments made of natural materials like straw is one of the most traditional. The 500th anniversary of the Latvian Christmas tree was celebrated in 2010.
Have you thought about incorporating your child’s roots into the holidays? Do you already do this?
Adoption Consultant/Outreach and Promotions Manager