Christmas Around the World

December 24, 2012

They're celebrating Christmas traditions in Chicago's sister cities. Chicago has 28 international sister cities in 27 countries on 5 continents. Chicago has the largest and most active sister cities organization in the US. Chicago's 28 sister cities reflect Chicago's vibrant ethnic communities.

Vilnius, Lithuania: Traditional Lithuanian straw ornaments, with a selection made out of real straw and their Chicago adaptation, made of drinking straws, from the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

Osaka, Japan: A Japanese Christmas Cake from Mont Blanc Bakery in Arlington Heights. This popular Japanese dessert is a staple of the Christmas season in Japan and is very similar to a strawberry shortcake cake.

Milan, Italy: Panettone which can be purchased at most grocery stores. This traditional Italian Christmas sweet bread, known all over the world, was originally created in Milan.

Paris, France: Two popular holiday cakes from Vanille Patisserie in Lincoln Park and the Loop's French Market will be displayed. The first is the Bûche de Noël, the French Christmas cake created to look like a Yule Log. The second is the Galette des Rois cake, a Kings Cake created to celebrate Epiphany (the 12th Day of Christmas) on January 6.

Mexico City, Mexico: Mexican tradition of Las Posadas, showcasing a star piñata from Dulcelandia Mexican candy and piñata store. Las Posadas (Spanish for "lodging") is a tradition that takes place the nine days before Christmas in the evening (December 16-24). A group walks from house to house, with two from the group playing Mary and Joseph. They are denied lodging in the tradition of the story from the Bible until they are recognized at the last house and invited in, where a party with food and song take place, and a star-shaped piñata is broken in the traditional manner.

Gothenburg, Sweden: Swedish Christmas figurines (tomtar) and non-alcoholic Glögg (mulled wine) from the Swedish American Museum and alcoholic Glögg from Simon's Tavern in Andersonville. Glögg is Swedish mulled wine popular throughout the winter, particularly around Christmas. There will be both a bottle of non-alcoholic and alcoholic available for sampling with Christmas mugs, and traditional Swedish tomtar (Santa-like figurines).

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