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A global Christmas

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 21/01) - How do other people around the world celebrate Christmas? Weledeh Catholic school students wanted to know.

They presented the results of their research into the subject last Tuesday in the form of a multicultural Christmas fair. Teacher and organizer Trent Hamm said he would like to see the event take place every year.

"Due to the events of Sept. 11, people need more of an open mind to explore cultural awareness and the good points of other countries," said Hamm.

"In Canada, most kids know what Christmas means, but some countries don't even have it."

Grade 8 students Jessica Mitchell and Jacky Rocher learned that, instead of Santa Claus, Mexican children wait up for the Magi (the Bible's three wise men) to hand out Christmas treats.

"They leave out a shoe at night, and the wise men come by and fill it with gifts," said Rocher.

At the Armenian pavilion, Autumn McIsaac and Jacqueline Burns, both Grade 6 students, served a traditional stuffed vegetable dish called Dolma Siranoush Vartanian. Like Mitchell and Rocher, the pair found most of their information, including recipes, on the Internet.

"My uncle has been there before," said McIsaac, explaining her interest in the small country surrounded by Turkey, Iran and the former Russian republic of Georgia.

Like several other countries in the region, Armenia follows the Russian calender, celebrating Christmas Jan. 6.

McIsaac said Christmas in Armenia involves a mix of religious devotion and all-night revelry.

"They go to mass, and then they party until, like, four in the morning," McIsaac laughed.