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Holiday Storytellers in Epcot’s World Showcase

We enjoy how wonderfully everything is decorated, and all of the little extra touches. When we were there last year, we saw the very end of someone in Norway telling stories to people gather around. Do you know who that is, and does he come there every year?

I agree! One of the best times to visit Walt Disney World is during the holiday season. Disney makes the holidays extra special by celebrating with special events throughout the parks and resorts.

In Epcot’s World Showcase, “Holidays Around The World” brings to life the legends and folklore of many nations. Each of the countries features its own version of “Santa Claus,” who visits with guests and tells traditional holiday stories from their home country.

The holiday story tellers include:

In Mexico, “Los Tres Reyes Magos” tells the story of The Three Kings, and their search for a blessed infant in Bethlehem.

In the Norway pavilion, an elf known as “Julenissen” tells traditional Christmas stories from the Land of the Midnight Sun.

In China, “The Monkey King,” (also known as “Sun hou-kong”) tells his humorous story – from his birth out of stone to how he acquired all of his wisdom.

Germany features good ole St. Nicholas telling the story of the first Christmas tree. He tells how St. Boniface, who brought Christianity to Germany , cut down an oak tree where the son of a Chieftain was to be sacrificed. After he cut down the tree, an evergreen grew in its place. He was told that this tree represented the Christ Child (Christkindl), and should be placed in homes and honored during the holidays.

“La Befana” in Italy is the friendly witch who brings presents to children. She tells her tale of her 2,000 year-old search for “il Gesu Bambino,” the baby Jesus. However, unlike the traditinoal Santa Claus, La Befana brings presents to good boys and girls on January 5, the Epiphany. On Christmas Eve, there is a ceremony around a Nativity scene, followed by Midnight mass and then the “cenone,” a feast of fine foods.

The jolly Santa Claus, wearing his traditional red and white suit, makes a stop at The American Adventure, where he tells traditional Christmas stories to children young and old.

In Japan, listen to the Tales of the Daruma Seller. Darumas are good luck dolls and symbols of the New Year. The dolls do not have pupils in their eyes, and are to be painted in only after making a wish. If your wish is granted before the year is over, you then paint the other eye. This is meant to teach persistence and patience.

“Tales of the Taarji” are told in Morocco, where a drummer explains a history of heroism and gifts surrounding the “Feast of Ashoora.” After telling his stories, he may pour rosewater into your hands and tell you to make a wish – but not to tell anyone or it won’t come true.

In France, “Pere Noel,” known as the “good spirit of the season,” shares a Christmas letter from little Babette. In France , he explains, children put their shoes by the fireplace on Christmas Eve in hopes that “Pere Noel” will bring them some toys. They also leave a snack for the tall, thin man wearing a red robe with fur, and a glass of wine for him, as well as beet greens for the donkey that travels with him.

In the United Kingdom, Father Christmas tells the origins of familiar Christmas carols, and unveils the Christmas cards written to him by children that are tossed into the fireplace instead of in the mail! (See, he really DOES get them!) When the letters are burned, the draught carries the letters up the chimney, where Father Christmas can read the smoke.

In Canada, a jolly elf recounts traditions from the nation which claims to be the “home” of Santa Claus. He also tells of the traditional cookie-baking parties, the huge, night-long feasts on Christmas Eve, and other celebrations throughout the large nation filled with people of many different cultural backgrounds.

In addition to the storytellers are the incredible Lights of Winter, the daily tree lighting ceremony, the Candlelight Processional, and the holiday version of the spectacular Illuminations.