- Before Christmas
- The traditions of the various cultures
- Typical Christmas dishes
The ingredients of the Christmas in the United States there are many: from Santa Claus to unbridled shopping, from lucullian lunches to Kwanzaa, the Christmas period is lived intensely by all Americans and in each of the 50 states.
The days before Christmas, Americans are engaged in the race for gifts: starting from Black Friday, the season of the hunt for the best gift for friends and relatives is open, but as always, many are reduced to the last and the result is that the shops are very crowded until the end of December 24th, in a crescendo of commercial frenzy that comes to a halt only on December 25th. In fact, in all States, Christmas is one public holiday, that is a closing day for banks and commercial establishments.
Americans, therefore, regain possession of the most intimate character of the party: if on the one hand family reunions and a delicious Christmas lunch unite all Americans, on the other family you go tradition you find.
The traditions of the various cultures
Due to the multi-ethnic composition of the population, each household follows different rites and customs, honoring their beliefs and origins.
Many Christians go to Mass to honor the birth of Jesus and the Churches organize living nativity scenes, charity collections for the less well-off and it is not uncommon to see groups of children around the street singing Christmas carols.
African Americans, on the other hand, live Christmas quietly, celebrating the days from December 26th to January 1st in a big way (Kwanzaa) in which they proudly claim their cultural roots.
Typical Christmas dishes
At the table, the real American Christmas lunch sees the undisputed dominance of the stuffed turkey, now also adopted by immigrants who offer it alongside their local dishes.
Turkey (alternatively, beef or goose) is frequently stuffed with chestnuts and accompanied by a generous side dish of mashed potatoes and green beans; inevitable the cranberry sauce! Typical sweets are the Christmas Pudding and mince pies, while the traditional drink iseggnog.
Italian American families also include lasagna or ziti on the menu.
Americans abound in preparing the Mince Pie, a shortcrust pastry tart filled with fruit jam and dried fruit, a sweet so good that even Santa Claus, according to tradition, loves it. And so, on the evening before Christmas, the children prepare a lunch for Santa Claus, to refresh him from his nocturnal labors.
Starting from his home (the most likely locations would be in Torrington, Connecticut, and Wilmington, New York), Santa travels the length and breadth of the USA, carrying gifts and sweets sometimes on a reindeer, other times on boats or surfboards.
Do not be surprised, therefore, if you see Santas wandering around on US beaches: the postcard Christmas we are used to (that of the lit fireplace and the falling snow) coexists with the strangest one for us (the one to live outdoors and with temperatures spring) of warmer areas (such as Florida, for example), where it is not unlikely to celebrate Christmas on the beach.
Next to the palm trees, therefore, we can see lights (Americans are crazy about it and you will have a try in McAdenville, North Carolina, which literally dresses up for Christmas), holly, mistletoe and richly decorated Christmas trees (the most famous in the States are the one in Rockefeller Plaza, New York, and the one lit by the President of the States in Washington DC, in front of Capitol Hill).
Finally, if you are lucky enough to spend a Christmas in America, do not be surprised to see the children sing a sweet Christmas melody in the choir as soon as they have the opportunity: Christmas carols and carols are much loved and these sweet songs will make you be truly amazed; before you are left speechless, don't forget to wish them… Merry Christmas!
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