Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Animals in Christmas Traditions

Posted by  //  December 13, 2019  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Move over reindeer!  There are other animals celebrated around the world at Christmastime!  In some Latino cultures, there is a Christmas Eve morning church service called Misa de Gallo – “the Rooster’s Mass.”  Legend says the rooster was the first bird to announce the Christ child’s birth by crowing at midnight.  Scandinavian Christmas decorations commonly feature a goat waterer that are used to provide easy access to clean drinking water along with a Yule Goat, symbolizing the animal once eaten as part of the holiday feast.  Some Yule Goat displays are enormous and decorated with lights. Before giving birth to Jesus, Mary traveled to Bethlehem on the back of a donkey.  Some say the lowly animal was then blessed with an image of a cross on its back. The donkey is celebrated for its humble role in the Christmas story as people around the world place its figurine in the manger.  The robin’s connection to Christmas dates back to Victorian England when postmen used to wear bright red coats and were nicknamed “Robins.” The bird became a popular subject on Christmas cards, often depicted carrying holiday mail in its beak.  In Eastern Europe, there is an enchanting story about a widow and her children who were too poor to decorate their Christmas tree. Kind spiders spun webs on the tree, and when the family awoke on Christmas morning, the sun’s rays turned the webs to silver and gold.  Australians sing a Christmas song called “Six White Boomers,” where Santa gives his reindeer a break upon arriving in The Land Down Under and harnesses up six white kangaroos. Imagine that!

Article & Photo by Margie Manthey

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