Christmas is a very important day in Romania (my home) and even though a lot of Christian states have similar ways of celebrating, each country has its traditions.
In Romania we decorate the Christmas tree in the Christmas Eve. Traditionally, in a Romanian household the children and parents put decorations in the Christmas tree on the 24th of December, and keep them up until Saint John, on the 7th of January. However, things are starting to change and a lot of families put up the tree about a week or more in advance.
Other preparations include getting the food ready. Some of our traditional meals are sarmale which are made from spiced minced pork, wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves, homemade sausages, pork steak and cozonac, a home made Romanian cake. There are different ways of making cozonac, but the recipe my family makes it after has been in the family for over 100 years. My dad learned it from his mother in law, my grandma learned it from her mother in law, and so on.
On the Christmas Eve, children go from home to home, to neighbors, friends, family and even strangers, to sing carols. The hosts usually invite them in the garden or inside the freshly cleaned and decorated house so that the whole family can listen to traditional Christmas songs. In return, the carolers receive pretzels, oranges and nuts.
On the Christmas day, Romanians celebrate Jesus’ Birth with their dear ones, eating traditional meals and having a good time.