A reader named Nichole, from Wellington, New Zealand has been kind enough to share information about Christmas in New Zealand as well as a bit about the country itself.
New Zealand is actually known as 'Aotearoa', the 'land of the long white cloud'. We are draped in mist at the moment, and it is very humid.
New Zealand has two Islands, the North (warmer climate) and the South. I live at the very bottom of the North Island. There is a body of water separating the two Islands named the Cook Straight. It has a trench to the bottom of the sea floor which I think is one of the largest in the world.
We are the only Country in the world to have a Nuclear Free and Genetic Engineering Free Society - we have probably the cleanest air yet we are still stuck with a huge hole in the Ozone Layer over our heads (typical really).
This is our Summer. Although it is not the very best summer we have had, the weather is humid and warm but on a good day you cannot beat it.
New Zealand presently has a very large hole in the ozone layer above. This causes problems creating skin cancer, hence the sun may not be shining but it is quite important to wear sun block here because our burn time is very low compared to the states. It is a different heat so I hear.
Also, because of the gap in the Ozone Layer it makes New Zealand the best place for Intelligence Agencies to listen from. We have the CIA set up these big white dome shaped structures in the middle of paddocks where cows and sheep graze, it is so funny to see. I think that this is a fairly well known fact around the world.
Christmas is probably not too different here than it would be in the US. We have Christmas trees up traditionally but we just don't have the nice snowy weather to make it like a real Christmas.
New Zealand has indigenous people called the Maori people, but to be quite honest we have such a large number of cultures living here now you are hard pressed to find any nationality or culture not living here in large numbers.
Christmas has the same Christian symbolism here, the same day is spent celebrating Christmas, and giving presents, in fact we probably follow the United States so closely like many other smaller countries you would find it hard to tell the difference if you were to spend Christmas over here - apart from the weather of course.
Christmas is a national holiday - the 25th being Christmas Day and the 26th being Boxing Day straight after. (Not sure if you have Boxing Day).
We also celebrate what you would call Thanksgiving, but it is just called Easter in New Zealand.
Honestly, our country follows the United States so closely with its customs and traditions you would really be surprised - for example - Halloween is becoming more popular to fully dress up and kids to go trick or treating collecting candy etc, and there are even gifts given on those days - Christmas with decorations etc. is more commercialized and really looking like something out of a Martha Stewart Magazine every day.
It seems although we are a part of the Monarchy - the United Kingdom - we are more influenced by American Culture and Society Trends than any other influence, and because there are so many different cultures living here, it is not surprising.
In spiritual news we are getting a little more news-worthy over here. We have had the 'Lord of the Rings' filmed here.
We also had a visit from the Dalai Lama, which was excellent. Many people in Wellington City saw a rainbow in the shape of a peace sign over the Hutt Valley where he visited. His disciples made a sand mandala and placed it into the River in just one of many places in New Zealand.
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