Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Coz this is how the other half lives: Xmas around the world...

Only in South Africa can you complain that you don't have enough holidays. It was so unfair that Christmas fell on a Sunday that the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) asked Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to give us an extra holiday. And he said yes. So in addition to yesterday's "Boxing Day" public holiday, today is a public holiday too which is great stuff for us. You gotta love it.

So after some serious blogger discussions on chocolate varieties a few weeks ago, I received this in the post on Christmas eve:
Thanks to Dean at Left Coast Guy who went to extraordinary lengths to get this particular brand of chocolate to me. I really appreciate the effort! The Chocolate with the Caramel centre is my favourite and half the bag is empty already lol.

For the most part, my Christmas was the same as it is every year no matter where I am. In one word: quiet. But this year, some friends felt it apt to make me their designated babysitter for the day, so I was stuck with this for the whole day:
Two year olds can kill you. They're cute, but they can kill you.

Now for most people in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas usually looks like this:

But for all of us here in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas usually looks like this:

Here's what Christmas looked like in other parts of the world (click on images for larger visuals):

Iraqi Christmas is blessed for its inter-communal celebrations. Muslims light candles at Church, wishing their Christian neighbours 'Kul Aam Wa Inta Bikheir' (wellness all year) - the greeting adopted for Muslim & Christian holiday alike:

A Christmas tree stands on Bondi Beach as Australians enjoy their summer in Sydney, Australia:

A Christmas tree lights up the gloomy skyline in La Paz, Bolivia:

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the City and to the World) speech from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Dec. 25, 2011. Benedict XVI called for an end to the bloodshed in Syria and the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in his Christmas message:

Arab Christians in Baghdad, Iraq attend mass at the Virgin Mary Chaldean Christian Church with Bishop Shlemon Warduni:

Athletes dressed as Santa Claus jump in the Mediterranean Sea as they take part in the Copa Nadal in the northern Spanish port of Barcelona. The Copa Nadal (Christmas Cup) is a traditional swimming competition that takes place in Barcelona every Christmas, where participants swim 200 meters in the open sea in the port of Barcelona:

Dubai indulges in the commercial side of Christmas, displaying shiny, decorated trees. A star or an angel makes it to the dizzy heights atop the tree, with the 'cave' at the bottom, in more traditional households in the Middle East:

Pakistani Christians make final adjustments to decorations on a Christmas tree at St. John’s Cathedral, during preparations for Christmas celebrations in Peshawar, Pakistan:

Manger Square, Bethlehem, West Bank of Palestine. The traditional birthplace of Christ attracts pilgrims and indigenous Arab Christians alike for public Christmas celebrations. In private, the whole family gathers in the house of the eldest male member, be it grandfather or the eldest son, and enjoys a meal rich in meat, fruits and vegetables:

Photographer Johan Caslin waits for customers next to a Christmas tree at an amusement park in Managua, Nicaragua:

Indian Christians pray at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Amritsar, India:

People walk by a Christmas tree and other trees decorated for illuminations in Tokyo, Japan:

A Syrian man dressed as Santa Claus plays with orphans in a Christian neighbourhood in Syria:

Arab Christians living in Jordan attend mass:

Mountaineers wear Santa Claus costumes while rock-climbing on Ansan mountain near Seoul, South Korea:

A father carries his son with a Santa Claus mask while watching the illuminated Sacred Heart's Cathedral on Christmas Day in New Delhi, India:

People dressed as Santa Claus take part in the traditional Christmas race in downtown Belgrade, Serbia:

Palestinian girls outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The church is built over the site where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus:

An Indonesian girl lights a candle during a Christmas mass in Jakarta, Indonesia. Christians in Indonesia - the biggest Muslim country - celebrated Christmas along with the rest of the world on December 25, locally called 'Hari Natal':

A Christmas tree and lights decorate Bolivar square in Bogota, Colombia:

Arab Christians arrive to attend Christmas Eve mass at St Therese Christian Armenian church in Cairo, Egypt:

A Palestinian Christian man places the name of the owner of a destroyed house on the rubble of the Palestinian village of Iqrit during a visit on occasion of Christmas. The several hundred Christian residents living in the hilltop Iqrit village near the Lebanon border were ordered out of their homes in October 1948 amid ongoing fighting of the first Israeli-Arab war, in what the Israeli army said was a temporary measure and the villagers have continued their fight to return, but to no avail:

All images from Getty Images, Associated Press, Reuters & various media outlets.


  1. I didn't know that Ghirardelli Squares are your favorite!! I'll keep that in mind. They're from California (the company started up during the Gold Rush) and have a huge store (maybe even factory?) in San Francisco!

    I loved the images of Christmas around the world! It's great seeing how ever culture and place celebrates in their own way.

  2. There's a lot of variety, that much is certain. Your pictures almost make me wanna love people a bit more. One would also almost forget X-mas looks like that in SA.
    You take care now, Azra. Enjoy your chocolate. (Too late, right?)
    - Randy

  3. Hooray Chocolate! Having been a visitor to the San Fran Ghirardelli wonderland I can only bow to Dean's choice! I hope you enjoy those tasty treats and thank you so much for the holiday blessings. ~hugs~

  4. Awwwww! I am so happy it got there on Christmas eve! (took snail mail damn long enough :-) I kinda had a feeling the caramel was gonna be your favorite.

    It was awesome that you took the time to post all these various celebrations, Azra. I especially liked the South Korean Santa climbers :-)

    Happy New Year, Azra dear!


  5. Michi
    Ghiradelli is delicious and it's in my top five favourite chocolates - with Galler, Godiva, Lindt and Ferrero :D

    These pics serve as a reminder that people are more alike then they are different. We become so wrapped up in our own little worlds that sometimes we forget that :)

    The chocolate is amazing. Hope the rest of your holiday has been filled with good food and fun :)

    Happy New Year to you too Dean. And thanx again for the chocolate. We've been enjoying it over here :)

  6. Godiva! My mom is OBSESSED with Godiva chocolates!
    I think between D-Man's obsession with good wines, my obsession with CHEESE (or dear God, I had an entire cheese platter for myself the other day at this amazing place...), and your obsession with chocolate, we'd have a good business going, hahaha. If we don't eat everything ourselves first!
    By the way, I was reading around this morning, and found this post! Naturally, I thought of you. Tell me what you think! --> http://triplicateemeritus.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/proudly-south-african-winos/

  7. Michi
    Haha! Y'know I'm gonna sound so racist for saying this but she's 100% correct about what she said - when it comes to white men. And that's why I like white men so much (can't figure out why she doesn't like British guys though, I like them too)...
    Anyways, a super-majority of the Indian/Asian guys here are complete assholes who don't know what the word respect means (must be genetic) and the Black man's motto is "Me first" (they have absolutely no regard for women and only see them as objects). So seriously, apart from *most* of the white men SA men suck in every category. The silver lining would have been the mixed race guys who are chivalrous if they weren't notorious for cheating on their women *sigh*

  8. Hmm, those chocolates! Yum-o!

    Those Christmas images make me feel as if that is the one day the world really does breath as one. So heart-warming!

    Hope you had a fabulous day. And yes, yay for yesterday's public holiday. I stayed in my jammies (PJs) for the day.

  9. Nice reminder of the Holiday spirit. Hope you had a good one.

  10. Prixie - Hope you are making the most of our holidays :) And I'm sure chocolate featured at some point in the festivities :D

    ipenka - Thanks! Hope your holidays are great too, wherever you are ;)