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Christmas around the world

Volume 16, No. 10 - December 21, 2009

Christmas  around the world:





The Netherlands

The Philippines

South Africa (Durban)

South Africa (Eastern Cape)

U.S.A. (Mississippi)

U.S.A. (New York)

-- NEWS --

Storm strands Dutch travelers

Caroline Nelissen in AMERSFOORT, Netherlands – Snow isn’t very common in the Netherlands, so when snow blanketed large parts of the Netherlands on Dec. 17, it wasn’t without consequences.

The snow did result in some very pretty pictures, and for some it was a great opportunity to get pelted in long-awaited snowball fights. But for people traveling by train, there wasn’t so much to be cheery about.

Due to the snowfall, chaos erupted in public transport in many parts of the country. Across the Netherlands, travelers faced long delays, and at some stations trains stopped running altogether.

Read more


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Dutch train station

Caroline Nelissen/Youth Journalism International










Children opening presents in East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa. (Photo by Mariechen Puchert/

Sandy beaches and Xhosa customs

Nicole Megan Gounder's

Love, laughter and a loud Christmas in South Africa

By Mariechen Puchert in EAST LONDON, Eastern Cape, South Africa As a country with 11 official languages and citizens from all walks of life, South Africa can hardly be described in a sentence.

It would be even more difficult to describe Christmas and the festive season in this country with several cultures, traditions and religions.

South Africa is in the Southern hemisphere, and thus Christmas occurs in the very heat of summer. It coincides with the summer holidays of scholars and students.

During the festive season, it becomes an imperative for South Africans to visit the beach.

As a small child, I equated Christmas with the salty sea smell and sunburn, and only later realized that the song “White Christmas” refers to snow and is not quite the remnant of Apartheid South Africa I thought it to be.    Read whole story


Shagorika Ghosh's

Christmas comes to India

Traditions rule in Irish Yule

By Marese Heffernan in LIMERICK, Ireland – Imagine having to arrive at the church 45 minutes early to make sure you get a seat for Mass. The idea is unheard of at any other time of year, maybe even in any other place, but that’s Christmas in Ireland.

  Read whole story


Santa in Ermelo, Gelderland, Netherlands Photo by Caroline Nelissen/

Tell your own Christmas story on the Youth Journalism International Facebook page. Just go the "Discussions" section and post your story!

Eugenia Durante's

Enchanting Genoa

When Mom's the minister on Christmas

By Luke Pearson in HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, New York, U.S.A. – When most people think of Christmas, they automatically think about Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and presents.

People in our modern era have lost touch with the real meaning of Christmas. But my family is not like other families during the Christmas season because my mother is a minister for Grace Episcopal Church.  Read whole story


A table motif made from wood shavings and Popsicle sticks in Olongapo City, Philippines. (Photo by Eroll Yabut/

Filipinos blend cultures for festive Christmas

Tiffany Coleman's

Sparkling lights in Mississippi

By Eroll Yabut in CASTILLEJOS, Zambales, Philippines – The Philippines – a country sunken in the ocean of crises, poverty and controversies; who would ever think something unexpected hides behind the gloomy shadows of my country’s image?

Terrorism, political scandals, graft and corruption, economic catastrophes, and poverty are the present condition of the Philippines. For the coming holiday season, a bold question stands before me: What will Christmas in the Philippines be?

To other countries, it may be a yard full of snow, a table full of food, a tree above a bunch of gifts and a time of happiness and joy, but what will it be in my own country?

I am truly blessed to have a family with an average financial condition. Yes, there are hundreds or even thousands of millionaires in the Philippines, but what about the rest of the population? Every year the rate of unemployment increases, as the birth rate also increases, making more mouths to feed, less jobs for money, and less money for food.

Now it may sound like Christmas in the Philippines is the worst and gloomiest Christmas in the world.  But I’m going to tell you a freaky fact I know: It’s not! In fact, it may even be the happiest and most festive around the world. Read whole story

Hot drinks and cool crafts

By Katie Grosser in MESCHEDE, Calle, Germany – There are some traditions you can’t get around. If you happen to spend part of Advent in Germany, going to a “Weihnachtsmarkt” is simply a must.

Christmas markets date back to the Middle Ages, but are still vastly popular in many parts of Europe today.

 Read whole story


Dreaming of a snowy Christmas in the Netherlands

By Caroline Nelissen in ERMELO, Gelderland, Netherlands -- I’ve always loved snow, though I must admit it’s much more fun to watch it from a nicely heated room than to actually plow your way through it.

Indoctrinated by the perfect Christmas card images of little wooden houses and pine trees that are heavy with a thick blanket of blinding white snow, I’ve always thought of snow as something that makes for the perfect Christmas atmosphere. Every year I hope it will be a white Christmas, but here in the Netherlands, romantic Christmas snow more often than not remains a distant dream.    Read whole story

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