Lifestyle

A world of festive tastes unites on Christmas Day

South African-born Mariane Eloff is looking forward to Christmas.
South African-born Mariane Eloff is looking forward to Christmas. Warren Lynam

CHRISTMAS in Australia is all about sizzling barbecues by the beach and sweaty backyard cricket.

But our rich migrant population also has brought ancient customs and traditions to our doorstep.

While Christians from around the world may celebrate the season in different ways, one theme is universal: Christmas is all about family and community.

South African-born Mariane Eloff and her husband Christo said that while many of her compatriots had adopted Australian customs, her family still observed the traditions of their homeland at Christmas.

Mariane, 51, said their family's Christmas Eve was celebrated with a barbecue that would include Boerewors, (Afrikaans for "farmer's sausage"), steaks and chops.

A snack platter also would include biltong - a delicious type of beef jerky.

She said the adults opened their presents at midnight while the children ripped off their wrapping paper early Christmas morning.

"We normally go to church around 8am - this is a compulsory thing with us," she said.

"Lunch is normally cow tongue with a sour sauce.

"This is delicious."

Mariane said lunch, which also included turkey and lamb, would end with malva pudding (similar to sticky toffee pudding) and peppermint crisp tart.

"The tart is to die for," she said.

Multicultural Council of the Sunshine Coast president Mel Concepcion said the Philippines was a very family-orientated country, especially at Christmas.

Mel, 54, a Filipino by birth, said the onset of cool seasonal weather in the Philippines always signalled the festive season was near.

"It's all about the birth of Jesus, of course, and advent preparation," Mel, of Noosa Heads, said.

"It's in the middle of Filipino hearts. (But) you can feel the changes because of the climate - the energy is so different.

"Everyone is jolly. Everyone is happy. Everyone has a smile and is looking to share."

Mel said food was always at the centre of the celebrations.

"There is always roast pig on the spit to share with the family and friends, spring rolls, fried rice and Christmas cakes," she said.

"It's all about giving and sharing."

Mel said Filipino children would knock at neighbourhood doors, sing carols and receive small gifts.

"You open up your heart and embrace everybody that comes to the door," she said.

As a self-funded charity worker, Mel coordinates aid packages to the Philippines and her most recent efforts targeted the impact of Cyclone Bopha which hit the southern part of the nation earlier this month.

"We can't do great things in this life. We can only do little things with great love," she said, quoting Mother Theresa.

The Greek Association Sunshine Coast president Michael Alexander and treasurer Steve Doulgeris said Greeks in Australia had adapted their traditions and cultures to fit their more laid-back Aussie environment.

They believe they now have the best of both worlds.

Steve, 64, said he remembered Christmas Eve as a child on the Greek Islands when he heard pigs squealing as they were slaughtered in preparation for the Christmas Day feast.

"In Greece, Christmas is in winter and it's very cold and pork is an ideal meat for that time of the year," he said.

"But for us, pork in the middle of summer was a no-no."

Steve said a typical Greek Christmas dinner in Australia would consist of lamb stuffed with rice, lemon, shallots, mint and other herbs, then baked in the oven on a slow heat for six hours.

Athens boy Michael, 77, said he had grown up with stuffed turkey on the Christmas dinner table.

Church is still very much a part of the Greek community's Christmas.

Maroochydore Uniting Church provides Greek Orthodox Church services to the point where a very English Thomas Peacock recites his sermons in Greek - despite not being fluent in the language.

In Greece, presents are traditionally opened on New Year's Day but lucky Greek children in Australia have Christmas presents "delivered" by Santa Claus (Saint Vasilis) on Christmas Day.

Michael said that while Athens was suffering in the current economic climate, at least one Greek tradition had remained the same: children going from house to house singing carols similar to America's Halloween trick-or-treating.

"The wealthier you are, the more they sing," he said.

"Still, it is a religious holiday. Still, it is a happy holiday - never mind the horrible situation they are in."

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees

Philippines: Maligayang Pasko

Greek: Kala Christouyenna

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  christmas community culture holidays lifestyle religion spirituality



Ipswich train users 'packed in like sardines'

Rail Back on Track's Robert Dow says Ipswich has been 'bashed around' by Queensland Rail in recent months.

Locals not happy with Queensland Rail's reduced services.

'Nardya will not be going home'

On Wednesday the 25-year-old was given a week to live

Yamanto highway project the number one priority, report

The Building Queensland Board's Infrastructure Pipeline report released this month lists the $340 million Yamanto interchange at the top of the list which includes 20 building projects across the state.

Report suggests Cunningham Hwy works among most important projects

Local Partners

Gatton family claims game show success

A GATTON family walked away with more than $11,000 after an exciting three-night run on game show Family Feud.


Big flicks could soon be seen at major shopping centre

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT: The Mt Ommaney Shopping Centre have lodged an application with the Brisbane City Council to build a new cinema and entertainment precinct.

New entertainment and dining options have residents excited.

Noll meltdown won't affect Gympie Oz Day concert

Shannon Noll

Photo Contributed

Shannon Noll is still expected to perform in Gympie next Thursday

9 things to do this weekend

IT'S ON: Help raise funds for cancer research this weekend at the Ipswich Turf Club. The Shearer Tackles Cancer pig races will still be conducted in the Beer Garden from 12pm.

From music and markets to hiking and swimming, Ipswich has it all

50 Shades actress on why she hates the film

Dornan and Johnson’s frequent sex scenes were ‘awkward’ to film. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Jamie Dornan doesn’t blame you for hating 50 Shades

Chris Hemsworth’s X-rated compliment to former co-star

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth poses on the red carpet for the European premiere of the film 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in London on April 21, 2015.

THOR star once paid former Home and Away actress a lewd compliment.

'I can't keep my mouth shut any longer'

Singer George Michael.

George Michael’s cousin blasts singer’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz.

Fresh faces: NCIS gets a shake up with new cast members

The new cast of NCIS, from left, Rocky Carroll, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, Mark Harmon, Duane Henry and Jennifer Esposito.

THREE new characters join naval drama for season 14.

First the Onesie, now an Xbox One S inflatable controller

Fancy an inflatable Xbox One S controller?

Inflatable controller 'perfect sidekick' for Australia Day party

Sarah Harris: Here’s what Amber Sherlock should’ve done

Studio 10 and Shark Tank presenter Sarah Harris.

STUDIO 10 host says Sherlock could’ve avoided the subsequent uproar.

WARNING: Builders, clean up "unsightly sites"

Councillor Ireland at a messy building site.

Failure to do so could see builders slapped with fines.

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

What a year 2016 proved to be

Entrance Island, Birtinya

Get the inside info from the agents themselves

REVEALED: What Coast wants in an international airport

Sunshine Coast business people share their views on what's needed

Time for a cool change

43 Eckersley Ave, Buderim.

Family home goes to the auction floor

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!