Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Joulupukki, Per Noël, Befana. What unites all these characters? Of course, the fact that they all once a year on a frosty winter night endow children with gifts.
Where did these characters come from? Finnish Father Frost’s name is Joulupukki (Jole is Christmas, pukki is a goat): many years ago Joulupukki wore not a fur coat, but he also carried goat skin and gifts on the goat.
Now he has moved to a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. And he lives on the mountain Korvatunturi, on the border with Russia.
In Africa, on the Ivory Coast, the traditional obis festival is held annually. It is dedicated to the meeting of the New Year, the memory of ancestors.
During the celebrations, the rite of “purification” of the troubles and unworthy deeds committed during the past year takes place. For a whole week the townspeople dance to the din of the great sacred tamtam.
In the ritual songs there are calls for help to the spirits of the ancestors.
New Year in Cambodia begins on April 12, 13 or 14. Before the triumph, Cambodians clean up their homes.
They also build a special altar in honor of the spirit of the New Year.
Very beautiful rites of the New Year in India. Residents of northern India to the New Year’s Eve adorn themselves with white, pink, red and purple flowers. In central India, the New Year is decorated with buildings with colorful flags.
In western India, for the New Year’s Eve, small lights are lit on the roofs of houses. On the eve of the holiday mothers lay out gifts for their children, sweets, flowers on large trays.
On the first morning of the New Year, little Indians with closed eyes come up to them and choose their own gift.
In China, the New Year is always celebrated at the time of the new moon in late January – early February. During the festive procession, which moves through the streets of China on New Year’s Eve, people light many lanterns.
This is done in order to light their way into the New Year. Adults give small money to children in a red envelope, which symbolizes the wishes of prosperity in the family and the success of the child’s development. In the North and in many areas of southern China, there is also a custom for the holiday to decorate the entrance with branches of spruce, cypress or pine – symbols of immortality and spiritual nobility.
In the South, conifers sometimes replace bamboo.
New Year in Vietnam is called Tet (meaning the first morning of the New Year), celebrated between January 21 and February 19, the exact date changes from year to year. Before the holiday, the Vietnamese necessarily do a spring-cleaning in the house in order to clear it of failures.
And then decorated with a sprig of peach tree with green leaves and white flowers.
In Taiwan, the New Year is considered the ideal time to forget about the past and start life anew, from scratch. Family meetings are an important part of the holiday.
On New Year’s Day, adult children who have long been living separately have to come to their parents for a gala dinner.