CHRISTMAS In New Zealand:
If you’re coming from the northern hemisphere, you’ll find CHRISTMAS to be rather different in New Zealand. Because of the country’s European heritage and roots (especially British) you will see many of the same traditions observed – sort of. With a different climate and time of year altogether, the Kiwi CHRISTMAS is something unique and it can be a lot of fun.Going to New Zealand during CHRISTMAS will be like an embarking on a beach holiday complete with the sun, sand and surf. Apart from being a very exciting prospect, New Zealand has a lot to offer in terms of CHRISTMAS celebrations and customs. The usual hullabaloo of CHRISTMAS, with the partying, caroling and gift exchanges are all a part of New Zealand’s CHRISTMAS culture.. CHRISTMAS trees, CHRISTMAS lunches and people wishing ‘Meri Kirihimete’ (Merry CHRISTMAS) to each other, are probably what you will witness, when you disembark in New Zealand.
For starters; red, white and green have nothing to do with snow, robins and hollies. In New Zealand, these colors stand for a lot more. Red stands for ‘pohutukawa’ (New Zealand’s CHRISTMAS tree), the green stands for the lush blanket of vegetation around the country and the white, represents the golden sands of the various beaches in the country. All of this attributes to a very relaxed festive atmosphere in the country. Not much is done and not much is spent.
Most of the CHRISTMAS traditions, customs and celebrations are influenced by English practices. However, if you are looking for a more seasonal experience with native customs involved, here are a few practices that are customarily performed during CHRISTMAS every year. The CHRISTMAS tree (pohutukawa) is decorated with scarlet flowers and trinkets every year.
The ‘Hangi’ is the traditional, CHRISTMAS roast dinner, and is actually cooked in a pit underground by groups called the Maori. This not only makes the food taste more interesting, but also adds an earthy essence to the food, reminding the people of their ‘roots’ and to stay ‘grounded’. The food essentially comprises of ‘kumara’, pumpkin, pork, chicken, vegetables, stuffing and potatoes. The smoked food is also believed to be extremely healthy during the festive season. Following the Hangi, the people gather around a bonfire and sing CHRISTMAS carols all through the night.
Groups of people flock together and decide to barbeque their food in the backyards, on the beaches or at community parks. CHRISTMAS feasts are more of a casual affair, and families like to relax and enjoy their food while grabbing a can of beer on sipping some wine. CHRISTMAS barbeques usually comprise of the choicest seafood of the season, different cuts of meats and organic vegetables.
As queer as it may sound, one will not witness sleighs, reindeers or the secret sneaking around at night. The jolly Santa Claus usually wears red and white attire in scorching temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and delivers gifts to children-on the beach! There is no guessing why families choose to stay at the beach on the day of CHRISTMAS.
CHRISTMAS in New Zealand is incomplete without heading out to the beach. Though, groups of people attend Masses at church, many just choose to laze around in the blazing sun, soaking in the Vitamin D and binging on some yummy CHRISTMAS eats. Many universal CHRISTMAS customs may be adhered to, but New Zealand is still very unique and upbeat in its CHRISTMAS traditions.
New Zealand is an extremely diverse society and many of the cultures represented do not recognize CHRISTMAS in the same way as the early European settlers and their descendants.However, CHRISTMAS is a special time for all New Zealanders. It’s a time to get together with the family and enjoy the great New Zealand summer outdoors.
………………..WISH YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS………………..