December Lecture Student Essay by Sachiyo Ihara, 36, Japan
In Malta churches, public buildings, main streets of towns and villages are decorated and lit with multi-coloured lights. Actually, I can see the illumination on the way to my accommodation from school. A typical Maltese tradition is the number of cribs. Many people build large, sophisticated cribs and exhibit them. Children leave a glass of milk and some biscuits for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. It’s so cute and interesting! The advent wreath is a symbol of God’s eternal love. The violet candles symbolise faith and the rose-coloured candle symbolises joy. Christmas Day is 25th December and celebrated with family. Traditionally, Christmas breakfast happens straight after midnight mass at 2am. That was surprising. 26th December is called Boxing Day. It’s the first time I heard of that because there is nothing on the 26th in Japan. On the day, streets are very quiet and most people relax at home. An alms box is placed in all the churches during the week after Christmas. It’s for people to put in gifts for the poor people. There are baskets holding gifts for an orphanage and people give the postman, garbage collectors or service people gifts of thanks. I felt it’s a wonderful thing. It was the most impressive thing in the lecture for me!