A wonderful world of Christmas comes to Sunderland

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THE wonderful world of Christmas has landed on Wearside.

City centre shoppers are being given an insight into how the festive season is celebrated across the globe, with music, dance and food showcasing Christmas traditions from around the world.

The three-day World Christmas Festival, organised by the Sunderland Business Improvement District (Bid), started yesterday, and will see the market square transformed with displays of the ways different countries celebrate Christmas.

Welcomed by a “Merry Christmas”, “Feliz Navidad” and “God Jul”, visitors can try out the traditions of faraway cultures until 4pm tomorrow.

Bid chief executive Ken Dunbar, said: “It’s great to see an international theme to this year’s Christmas in Sunderland, which reflects our commitment to celebrating international cultures in events throughout the year.”

Along with being entertained by street performances, visitors can try their hand at festive crafts with poinsettia making, oil lamp decorations and even a Swedish straw goat to guard the Christmas tree.

Yesterday showcased the traditions of Mexico and Sweden, with a balloon giveaway, straw goat making and St Lucia bun giveaways.

Today, the spotlight will be on India and China, when visitors can make oil-lamp decorations, before attentions turn to Swedish mythical creatures and Scandinavian heart baskets tomorrow.

The event is part of an action-packed programme of festivities being delivered by the newly-formed partnership between Sunderland Live, Sunderland City Council and the Bid.

The programme, which started with the Christmas lights switch-on, will run until January 6, and will see the city’s streets brought to life with an exciting schedule of street entertainment.

For more information on Christmas in Sunderland, or a full programme of events visit http://www.sunderlandlive.co.uk/christmas-in-sunderland.