Christmas, Southern Hemisphere style
Someone asked me the other day how we celebrate Christmas here in Australia. Sadly, I had to take a minute to think about it.
So, what do we do that is different from our friends up North? Not much 🙂 We still have a lot of winter themes: Christmas trees, (fake) snowmen, Santa Claus and more. Here’s a question for my American and European friends…do you have carols by candlelight, or is it too cold?
The big difference, as I see it, stems from the weather. Where I live, in Melbourne, it’s not always hot, but it’s a lot warmer than, say, New York or London. No snow. Except one year…http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1818163.htm
But some years it’s so hot we don’t even want to eat. I always feel sorry for the shopping centre Santas, in their padding and big red suits and fake beards. Even with aircon it has to be unbearable. Probably why we never see them on the actual street.
The heat is probably why the menu has evolved for a lot of Aussies. You’ll still find turkey, ham, plum pudding etc, but we also like to throw in the occasional barbecue, a lot of seafood, especially prawns, and my personal fave, ice-cream Christmas pudding. My aunt makes one to die for, check out the recipe http://www.bordbia.ie/aboutfood/recipes/desserts/pages/ice-creampudding.aspx
My family background is Italian, so my grandmother(s) always like to throw in some pasta, or whatever else they feel like. This year, I’ve been promised arancini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arancini) for Christmas Eve, and I can’t wait. And of course, there’s panettone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panettone), which is traditionally for Easter, but somehow over the years took over Christmas as well.
I’ve spent Christmas at the beach, which can be a lot of fun. Not so fun: church without air conditioning when it’s 35 degrees (that’s celsius, quick calc…95 deg F). So even the cool-ness of swimming in the ocean on Christmas Day has a downside.
So I guess when you get down to it, we’ve adjusted some things to suit the heat, some to suit family background, and try to keep the rest the same. It makes the movies seem more real!