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Christmas Eve In New York Brings With It Diversity Of Traditions

A woman stands in front of the annual Christmas tree on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A woman stands in front of the annual Christmas tree on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Christmas is celebrated in different ways around the world, depending on country and culture.

New York represents that diversity, complete with a variety of Christmas Eve traditions.

One family in Columbus Circle told CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian about their tradition, called “The Question Game.”

“I call [the kids] each individually into a room, and ask them questions, about five questions. They’re not normal questions, they’re questions like ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ and ‘How old is God?’ Things like that,” Dale Koller said, adding the children range in age from 3-20. Later on, Koller reads the answers in front of the family, and the gathered adults try to guess which child gave each answer.

“What I like the most is getting together with my family and having, like, really traditional Mexican food,” said Upper West Sider Renata Carrillo.

Living in a melting pot means a sampling of all the best from around the world, Dardashtian reported.

“I’m of Italian descent, and we have innumerable traditions,” said Ed Brunetti. “The night of fishes, which is tonight, we only eat fish, no meat, and there are seven fishes. I still have one cousin that laboriously makes the seven fishes.”

In the hours before the holy day, lines formed at the local fishmarket for the feast of the seven fish, and the faithful looked forward to the legendary midnight mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

From lines at your local fish market for the feast of the seven fishes to the legendary midnight mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the day before Christmas is a mix of faith, fun and food.

“My younger daughter is a shellfish fanatic,” said Rick Macarthur. “She likes oyster and lobster, so we decided to go with lobster.”

And some families create their own traditions.

‘About every Christmas Eve, we’ll get the whole family — about 13 of us — piled onto this little trailer. It’s like “Sanford and Son’ meets ‘The Griswolds,’” one New Yorker said. “So we take them around the neighborhood. we sing Christmas carols and thing like that.”

The traditions depend on your beliefs, Dardashtian reported. Some celebrate the holiday for 12 full days and go shopping for trees at the last minute, the day before Christmas.

“We had a Serbian who celebrated our Christmas and Russian Christmas, so they basically got two holidays,” said David Denny, who sells trees.

This year, Rhyley Bendel of Philadelphia was with grandma, and got her pick for the tree

“It’s Christmas, and it’s called a Christmas tree anyway,” she said.

Some traditions are remembered from childhood.

“Going to Rockefeller Center as a little boy, going to the Christmas show with my parents and family,” said Jay Connolly. “That was Christmas.”

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