By E K Benj & Heather M Asher
Updated 12:48am GMT Friday 25th December 2020
Christmas massages for 2020 continue to pour from global institutions and leaders. ”What a year!” a young artist from from Norway told HICGI News Agency.
US First Lady Melania Trump made a Beautiful Christmas display of young artists in the WhiteHouse Blue Room. ”Their ornaments symbolize the joyful spirit of the holiday season.” said the First Lady.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in his Christmas message says security agencies are on alert to ensure the season is peaceful.
Vatican has also released the first Rh Aboriginal from the first Christmas message to the Political Leaders of South Sudan.
”Your Excellencies, In this Christmas season, we remember that our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world among the least – in a dusty stable with animals. Later, he called those who wish to be great in his kingdom to be the servant of all (Mark 10:43).
We remain prayerfully mindful of the commitments made at the Vatican in April 2019 – yours to bring your country to a smooth implementation of the Peace Agreement, and ours to visit South Sudan in due course, as things return to normalcy. We have been glad to see the small progress you have made, but know it is not enough for your people to feel the full effect of peace. When we visit, we long to bear witness to a changed nation, governed by leaders who, in the words of the Holy Father last year, ‘hold hands, united … as simple citizens’ to ‘become Fathers (and Mothers) of the Nation’.
We pray, this Christmas, that you will know greater trust among yourselves and a greater generosity of service to your people. We pray you know the peace that surpasses understanding in your own hearts and in the heart of your great nation (Philippians 4:7).” reads the publication.
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director, Mrs Dorothy Kisaka in her Christmas message reflects on the achievements of her administration in the last four months.
The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II has meanwhile, urged his subjects and other Ugandans to strictly observe all the set Covid-19 guidelines as they celebrate Christmas.
In his Christmas message, Kabaka Mutebi encourages Ugandans to follow all the guidance and directives given by medical workers and health experts in order to fight the coronavirus.
“We started the year 2020 with hope and progress but the situation changed immediately when the world was attacked by Covid-19 which has killed people to date,” reads Kabaka’s message in part. “Amidst sorrow engulfing several households in many countries, we once again extend sympathies to relatives and friends who have lost their loves ones to Covid-19.”
Christmas in South Korea
The Blue House in South Korea has sent Christmas messages to the staff .
There are more Christians in South Korea (the Republic of Korea) than in many other Asian countries such as China and Japan, so Christmas is celebrated more widely. Christians make up about 25-30% of the population; with about 15% of people being Buddhist and 56% of people not having a faith or religion. (The Philippines is the Asian country with the most Christians).
Unlike Japan, Christmas is an official public holiday in South Korea – so people have the day off work and school! But they go back on the 26th (Boxing Day). There’s a longer official winter break in the New Year.
Churches are decorated with lights and many have a bright red neon cross on top (all the year!) so that goes very well with the Christmas lights! Most churches will have a service on Christmas day with strict guidelines due to Covid fear. Going to Church for Christmas is becoming more popular, even among non Christians.
Department stores put on big displays of decorations. There’s also an amazing display of lights in the capital city, Seoul. The lights are all over the city center including the bridges over the Han River.
Some people (especially Christians and westerners who live in South Korea) will have decorations at home including a Christmas tree.
Presents are exchanged and a popular present is money! Giving actually gifts has become more popular, but giving money is still very common.
Santa Claus can also be seen around Korea but he might be wearing red or blue! He’s also known as 산타 클로스 (santa kullosu) or 산타 할아버지 (Santa Grandfather).
A popular Christmas food is a Christmas Cake, but it’s often a sponge cake covered in cream brought from a local bakery! Or you might even have an ice cream cake from a shop like ‘Baskin Robbins’!
Happy/Merry Christmas in Korean is ‘Meri krismas’ (메리 크리스마스) or ‘seongtanjeol jal bonaeyo’ (성탄절 잘 보내요) or ‘Jeulgaeun krismas doeseyo’ (즐거운 크리스마스 되세요). Christians can say ‘Sungtan chukhahaeyo’ (성탄 축하해요) to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.
If you live in North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Christmas will be very different. Being a Christian is ‘officially’ allowed but you can go to prison, or even be killed for being a Christian or even having a Bible. Christians in North Korea have to meet in secret and any celebrations of Christmas will also be held in secret.
Christmas in Russia
In the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated very much. New Year was made into the important time. Following the revolution in 1917, Christmas was banned as a religious holiday in 1929 and Christmas Trees were banned until 1935 when they turned into ‘New Year’ Trees! If people did want to celebrate Christmas, they had to do it in secret just in their families.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, people were free to celebrate Christmas again. But it’s still a quieter and smaller holiday in Russia after the big New Year celebrations.
The New Year is the big time for spending lots of money and eating and drinking lots. Christmas is much more religious and private.
New Year is also when ‘Grandfather Frost’ (known in Russian as ‘Ded Moroz’ or Дед Мороз) brings presents to children. He is always accompanied by his Grandaughter (Snegurochka). On New Year’s eve children hold hands, make a circle around the Christmas tree and call for Snegurochka or Ded Moroz. When they appear the star and other lights on the Christmas tree light up! Ded Moroz carries a big magic staff. The traditional greeting for Happy New Year is ‘S Novym Godom’.
Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on January 7th (only a few Catholics might celebrate it on the 25th December). The date is different because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days. The Orthodox Church also celebrates Advent. But it has fixed dates, starting on 28th November and going to the 6th January, so it’s 40 days long.
The official Christmas and New holidays in Russia last from December 31st to January 10th.
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