About Christmas Eve
History of Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve marks the culmination of the Advent period before Christmas that started on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve. Many churches will mark the end of Advent with midnight church services.
In Latin America, Christmas Eve marks the end of a nine-day period before Christmas, called 'Las Posandas' which represents the none months of labour for the Virgin Mary before she gave birth to Jesus.
Christmas Eve Traditions
On the night of Christmas Eve, children around the world will leave food and drink for whoever will come to their house and bring them presents. Who this is, depends on what part of the world you live. It might be Santa Claus or Father Christmas; but in Switzerland, it will be the Christchild who delivers the presents. In Denmark, it's the Christmas elf; in Sweden, it'll be a small man and in Finland, it'll be the Christmas goat!
In Latvia, the custom is that you can open the presents under the Christmas Tree after the Christmas Eve dinner, with a slight twist - before you take your gift, you'll have to recite a small poem.
A unique tradition of Christmas decoration in Ireland is a large white candle which is placed at the entrance of the house or in a window. This candle is lit by the youngest child on Christmas Eve. This is a symbol to welcome the Holy Family and the candle can only be extinguished by a girl or a woman named Mary.Find out more