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How Advent Season Is Celebrated Around The World

By Sharelle Burt

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For Christians around the world, December 2 begins the Advent season, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  Traditionally, churches light one Advent candle each Sunday up until Christmas to celebrate while others celebrate in their own way.

In China, the government only recognizes Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism, and Catholicism as religions. However, five percent of the country’s natives practice Christianity. To celebrate, they light their homes up with colorful paper lanterns, as well as red paper pagodas hung in windows. Regardless of the number of believers, Christmas marketplaces have become popular in cities like Shanghai. For Mexico, the towns turn into cities of angels as a child dresses up to lead a processional. Their Advent ceremonies are called Las Posadas or ‘The Inns.’ Similar to American carolers, children go to selected homes and perform for celebrants. Marking the journey that Mary and Joseph made, the nine-day celebration goes from December 16 to 24, with many believers worshipping at Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Latin America.

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Music lovers would enjoy celebrating in Austria and Hungary. Silent Night, one of the most popular Christmas hymns of all time, originated in Austria. The original version is performed in the country throughout the season. Get tickets to Christmas concerts in Hungary in Budapest and other cities. Daily mass is held at dawn every day from the first Sunday of Advent to the first day of Christmas. They call it the Angelic or Golden Mass. To fill your belly, enjoy the traditional Advent treat called beiigli, a rolled up crust filled with poppy seeds or walnuts.

RELATED: 22 Hotels That Go All Out For The Christmas Holiday

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Croatia and Poland are both highly religious, and treat the Advent season as very important. In Poland, Advent starts with prayer, fasting, and spiritual preparation as Poles attend a very early morning mass service called roraty. Mass attendees light candles to symbolize the coming light of day and salvation. With 86 percent of the population being Roman Catholic, Advent starts a little early in Croatia. Beginning on November 25, travelers can visit their capital city of Zagreb for the ultimate celebration. The city is filled with booths selling handcrafted souvenirs, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. If you visit on Christmas Eve, join natives for the traditional eating of “bakalar” or dried up cod.

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Sharelle Burt

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