Christmas traditions & customs
In Belgium there are two Santa
Claus figures. There is St. Nicholas and Pere Noel.
St Nicholas visits those who speak the Waloon language,
in fact he visits them twice. The first time is on the
December 4th he does this so he can find out which
children have been good and which children have been
bad. If a child is good he returns on December 6th with
the presents the good children deserve if they were bad
they are left twigs. The good children usually received
candy and toys. With the bad children he leaves the
twigs inside their shoes or in small baskets that are
left just inside the doorway.
Pere Noel visits those who speak French. He visits with
his companion Pere Fouettard and asks about whether the
children have been good or bad. If they have been good
they receive chocolates and candies if they have been
bad they are more likely to receive a handful of sticks.
Christmas for both gift-givers is on December 6th, the
feast of St Nicholas, it is a religious occasion and is
observed with services in churches and quiet family
gatherings. Special cakes are baked and served during
the holiday season and are a treat for children and
The other part is called "Flanders" where they speak
St-Nicholas doesn't have anything to do with Christmas.
It's His Birthday on December 6th, and then he visits
all children to bring them presents.
And then there is Christmas, December 25. The day we
remember Jesus Christ being born. The last years the
American tradition around Christmas is coming over here.
By movies and storybooks.
Now Children get gifts under the Christmas tree also.
But this isn't the same everywhere. But it mostly
depends on the parents. At some family, they buy gifts
for each other and put them under the tree. There's no
Santa to bring them. In others, mostly when there are
still li'l children it's Santa who brings the gifts and
puts them under the tree.
That can be on Christmas eve, but sometimes in the weeks
before Christmas. Gifts are opened on the evening before
Christmas, after a Christmas dinner, or the midnight
mass, or on Christmas morning.
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