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



Tributes flow for Brett Forte: 'Thank you for your service'

RIP Brett Forte

Readers share their prayers, support and photos on social media

Ipswich MP concerned about toxicity of e-cigarettes

Shayne Neumann weighs in on the vape debate.

Quitting is better than vaping, says Neumann

Tobacconist calls for nicotine e-cigarettes to be legal

DEMAND: Tobacco Station Group Riverlink's Naeem Ismail started stocking e-cigarettes four months ago.

IPSWICH tobacconist hopes inquiry aligns Australia with world.

Local Partners

Wonder Woman is a kick-arse superhero romp

WITH so much at stake, thank Zeus that Wonder Woman didn’t fall into the same trap as its DC Extended Universe predecessors.

Everything coming to Netflix, Stan, Foxtel and Amazon Prime Video this June

Orange Is The New Black returns for another season.

Find out what's being added to our streaming services in June.

Sam Armytage and Tom Cruise? Saaaaay what?

Apparently, the answer is no.

WATCH: Judah battles his emotions as he makes Top 12

GOING PLACES: Judah Kelly performs during his battle round on The Voice.

Judah Kelly has made it into the top 12 of Australia's The Voice.

Musical tribute to flood volunteers released

Songwriter honours flood volunteers who helped their neighbours.

Lismore songwriter Simon Thomas was moved by strangers' kindness

Kaos to bring aerial assault to Boonah Show

Boonah motocross dare devil Callum Shaw shows off his death-defying skills, which will be on display at this year's show.

Stunt bike show a major drawcard for this year's event

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!