In New Zealand, Christmas celebrations are extremely different from the rest of the world, reason being that is a summer festival, instead of a winter one. Though there is no snow or chilly weather in New Zealand, one thing that remains constant with the rest of the world is the spirit of Christmas. There, the holiday is combined with summer break. Gift exchanging, partying and family picnics dominate the Christmas scene in New Zealand. Days before the festival, stores and malls revel in the festive spirit. The shops are decorated with Father Christmas in his red cloak and white beard, as well as snow scenes. Let us explore the Christmas traditions in New Zealand, in detail.
Christmas Celebrations in New Zealand
In New Zealand, Christmas traditions have greatly evolved in the years. Most of the traditions and rituals of have been derived from the English, as they were in the 18th century. However, with the changing times, the traditions and rituals have undergone a lot of change, thanks to globalization and commercialization. For instance, the persona of Father Christmas had changed completely. Today, he is referred to as Santa Claus and is more like the Santa of the western countries. Much unlike the other parts of the world, Christmas is enjoyed in a blissful warm environ in New Zealand.
While the western countries celebrate the festival in chilly temperatures, snow and lifeless environ, New Zealand is buzzing with life. There are numerous colorful flowers and scented aromas, which create a panorama of refreshing beauty and charm. A unique aspect of Christmas celebrations In New Zealand is the Christmas tree. Instead of the usual pine tree, it is the pohutukawa, which grows mainly in the North Island, in coastal areas, that is deemed as the Christmas tree. The tree is spectacular to look at and has lovely red blossoms.
In the Maori culture, spirits and creatures resemble the elves and gnomes of European Christmas traditions and therefore, play an important role in New Zealand Christmas celebrations. New Zealanders celebrate the story of the birth of Jesus Christ with a special service, as it is appropriate to their way of life. There are many shepherds in New Zealand, who take utmost care of their flocks. It is here that the people of the country decipher the true meaning of the festival that we call Christmas.
An aspect common to Christmas celebration in New Zealand and western countries is the importance given to feast or Christmas dinner. In New Zealand, the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey, with vegetables and sauces. For dessert, a rich, fruity Christmas pudding is served with brandy sauce, mince pies, and pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. The whole family relishes the exotic dinner together. Some New Zealanders celebrate the festival twice a year. The second Christmas is celebrated in July, which is mid-winter in New Zealand, so as to enjoy the festival in snow and chilly temperature!!