The Christmas traditions of Europe have deep roots, and many of these celebrations are retouched ancient practices, but there are even some which are found in mythology. Thus, these celebrations are very different from those cultures influenced by recent American media.
Saint Nicholas Feast Day is an important celebration in most East European countries, in addition to caroling and the twelve dishes in Xmas Eve dinner. The children emulate the life of Saint Nicholas as the bringer of the Christmas traditions of Europe. On the night of December 5, the children wearing angel and devil costumes carol from house to house and receive presents. In some countries, Santa Claus visit the children on the morning of December 6. The German Xmas tree or Tannenbaum has become a universal Christmas traditions Europe motif like the Advent wreath is the central decoration with four candles lit each Sunday of December.
The Christmas traditions of Europe are full of customs, superstitions and prophecies that came from ancient traditions. Saint Andrew’s Day on the last day of November is the first prophesying day and the second on Saint Barbara’s Day on December 4. Santa Claus visits the children with gifts on Saint Nicholas Day on the morning of December 6. Saint Lucia’s Day on December 13 is the night of bad spirits.
Meals and feasts of the Christmas traditions of Europe come in various forms although these traditions are always equated to fasting. In France, the seven meatless meals are served before going to attend the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The fast is broken with a feast of roast meat and wine after the mass. In Denmark, Xmas begins with baking traditional cookies, biscuits, and small cakes that are all made by the children. The Christmas lunches are long feasts of a series of served plates in pudding, fish, warm dishes, cold meats then cheeses and biscuits that go with the beer and snaps. In Lithuania, food is prepared not only for kucios, which is the special Xmas Eve supper, but for the first day of Christmas as well. This breaks the ritual fast and abstention from meat. The principal dish called kucia is a mixture of grains and beans. Read more about traditions in italy : Natale Italiano and buoni rigali.