01 January 2014

Continuing Around the World With World Book

Christmas in Australia, Christmas in Austria, Christmas in Brazil, Christmas in Britain by World Book Encyclopedia
I've just cracked the surface of the volumes I have bought. Of the four, the Australia and Brazil books are the most lightweight in text. The Australian book pretty much concentrates on how traditional British celebration changed due to the climate, while the Brazilian book notes the combination between the Portuguese Roman Catholic and the native slave-religion (from Africans captured and imported for sugar plantations) which has shaped the Christmas/New Year's celebration. Both books note how hot it is! Lovely color photos bring out the beauty of Australian and Brazilian flowers and summer costumes.

Due to a longer history, the Austrian and British books have much denser texts. The Austrian book not only talks about Christmas customs (Christmas trees with candles not decorated until Christmas Eve, Advent wreaths, etc.), but features Vienna during the holiday season and the musical season that surrounds the New Year. The first half of the British book follows the Christmas preparations of the Bushnells, a typical middle-class English family: mother, father, the daughter Elizabeth, and her two mischievous brothers. Information on "Christmas past" is supplied almost totally by a dream Elizabeth has when she falls asleep as her father reads A Christmas Carol and finds Ebenezer Scrooge guiding her through vintage Christmas customs. Since I'm not a warm-weather person, you can guess these two volumes were my favorites!

No comments: