Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
December 21, 2013 5:04 AM   Subscribe

Christmases around the world: Children Dancing to《铃儿响叮当》at 2008 Christmas Party, Xiangxiang North Gate Church, Hunan (China; 1:13); "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," Blind Musician on the Side of the Road (Benin; 1:28); Performance by Companhia de Dança de Aveiro at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology Francisco Gentil (Pediatric Section?), Lisbon (Portugal; 3:28); "Aldi's Surfing Santas" Advertisement (Australia; 1:35); Danza de Música Folclórica por la Navidad, Riobamba (Ecuador; 3:18); "A Very Vancouver Christmas," Dan Mangan (Canada; 3:17).

More Christmases: N.b.: provenance not always certain; representativeness not intended; and connection to Christmas may be via a related holiday.
posted by Monsieur Caution (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
More Canadian Christmas
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:10 AM on December 21, 2013

Also, this post is amazing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:11 AM on December 21, 2013

As a Canadian, I still can't quite process the one Christmas I spent in Australia, a big chunk of which was spent on the beach.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:17 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can't not include the Santapocalypse - SantaCon 2013 NYC Santa Fight
posted by stbalbach at 9:55 AM on December 21, 2013

Wow. This is one helluva post. Congratulations. Lots to see and listen to here.
posted by vac2003 at 1:57 PM on December 21, 2013

Thanks, yeah, there's about 11 hours of material there, featuring Christmas or Christmas-related rituals or associated representations from 145 countries. It's more curated than it may seem. There are 180 videos selected from (some magic with jQuery and my YouTube history says ...) over 1500 videos played--not counting thousands more skimmed in search results.

To comment on it is more like personal blog material, but to me, the result is a sort of multi-site visual ethnography: a montage I've enjoyed exploring for its juxtapositions, moments of amazement, beauty, humor, etc. But many of the videos I like primarily for their ordinariness, though not necessarily their typicality, and I think that's a relatively difficult quality to appreciate. Anyway, I think they speak for themselves.

What didn't make it in might be worth mentioning though. I think I'd heard from some ESL students long ago that Christmas parades involving Coca-Cola trucks were a big deal in Central and South America, and I found tons of videos of them, but none that struck me more than others. Likewise, I think I'd vaguely heard of decorated Christmas markets in Europe, and there were great piles of videos of them, represented here only with videos from Berlin and Bucharest. And there was one totally unexpected vein of material: Romanian dance recitals. A search for "Crăciun dans" yields hundreds of them. The one I selected seemed to reflect what the others aspired to be.

I can't really knock people's Christmas vacation summaries or slideshows or drives through the city to look at Christmas lights, because they're presumably interesting or relevant in other contexts, but for maybe 33 hours total, they were a challenge for me in that they made it harder to find videos with people, performances, rituals, dances, and unexpected fun stuff related to Christmas as the subject matter. Slideshows were probably the most common kind of video that I didn't include--YouTube is thick with them, and they're just not as engaging to me as videos of people actually doing things, preferably with natural sound.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:40 AM on December 22, 2013

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