A visit to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History at Atlanta was a splendid surprise. The life-like dinosaur models, the science activities, the nature quest activities and a walk through time were eye-openers in to some of the natural and geographic wonders of the world. What further caught my attention were a circular bunch of Christmas trees arranged neatly along the each floor of the museum hallways. I wondered how they had made so many Christmas tree decorations with ornaments.

A closer look showed me that each tree represented a particular country or island and showcased the indigenous specialties, the handmade ornaments and a view on how Christmas and the New Year is celebrated across countries depending on the various cultures and traditions. A written signage near each of the trees also gave a snippet of the celebrations galore across the countries.

For example: In Italy, Christmas season begins on December 8th and are known as Novena. Streets and homes are decorated and carols are sung in the neighborhoods. In Denmark, Christmas tree is very important – the tree has fewer ornaments representing Danish flags, candles and paper cut ornaments. On Christmas eve, the families light candles and dance around the tree holding hands and sing psalms.

Christmas Folklore Celebrations Across the World

In Hungary, a Christmas tree is decorated with traditional ornaments associated with food like candy in bright wrappers, honeybread, chilli peppers etc.

Christmas Folklore Celebrations Across the World

In Thailand, carp are found in abundance, and carp is associated with wealth and fortune. Hence the trees are decorated with carps wishing for prosperity for all. In Japan, kite flying is the popular sport associated with New Year. Children often write wishes on the kites and soar them up in the sky sending a message to heaven, hence the tree typically shows ornaments made of paper and thread representing kites.

Christmas Folklore Celebrations Across the World

Argentina is a country with seasonal climates, beautiful landscapes and cultural landmarks. This is what is depicted on the trees. Families typically gather for a barbecue during Christmas and celebrate with joy. In Canada, the spectacular landscape and nature associated things like maple leaf, snowflakes, polar bears etc. are found in the tree ornaments. The red bulbs signify the color of the Canadian flag and are symbolic for holidays.

Christmas Folklore Celebrations Across the World

In Kenya, there are so many artists who have captured the essence of the cultures and traditions. These are represented in the arts and crafts ornaments on the trees, books, musical instruments, people working etc.

Christmas Folklore Celebrations Across the World

These were just some samples, but the cute and innovative ornaments and the history behind it were interesting to read. I could not see a better way of representing the symbolic highlights of each country and the rich way in which they were expressed.

Thank you Fernbank Museum for such a riveting display. It is indeed a true reflection of culture!

Christmas Folklore Celebrations Across the World