At 5:00 am on December 24, the Republic of Kiribati celebrated the beginning of December 25, Christmas 2020. Learn more about this archipelago embedded in the heart of the Pacific Ocean and about the first countries to receive Christmas Eve

Depending on the part of the world where they live, the boys call it Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas. But, everyone’s question is the same: Where is the jolly old man with his sleigh loaded with gifts on Christmas Eve ?


 popular program from the US and Canadian armed forces reports Santa’s trajectory to millions around the world in real time .

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) offers high-tech means for children and their parents to follow.

Operation NORAD Follow Santa has evolved from a call to the wrong number in 1955 to a truck in front of the former command headquarters on Mount Cheyenne, to the current NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

Throughout that period, the tens of thousands of phone calls received by NORAD volunteers each year are answered by a technological explosion that enables millions to track from the North Pole to the Pacific and Asia, from Europe to America.

Portals include Alexa, OnStar, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and 3-D apps created for the mobile devices by Cesium, a Philadelphia-based defense and information technology contractor. The applications integrate geospatial and satellite positioning technology with a high resolution graph that shows the real position of the stars, the Sun, the Moon and their shadows at each point of Santa’s trajectory.

It takes a set of tech companies – Google, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and Bing Maps, among others – to create the global immersion effect for Santa’s trackers.

And it takes 1,500 volunteers to receive the emails or the 140,000 phone calls. The phones and monitors are housed in a building on the airbase overlooking the snowy peaks to the west.

Other volunteers and firms donate food, water and coffee to the trackers.

Volunteers have a manual to ensure that everyone who calls can go to bed happy and satisfied on Christmas Eve .

In 1955, Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, shift chief one night at NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, received a call from a girl who dialed the wrong number that appeared in a large store advertisement. , thinking he was calling Santa.

With agility of mind, Shoup assured him that it was. And a tradition was born.

Currently, the first calls come from Japan and Europe. The volume grows sharply in the United States and Canada. Calls from Britain ask for Father Christmas. Those from France want to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus.

The first countries

The Republic of Kiribati, an island territory made up of 33 atolls and islands and located northeast of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is the first country to receive Christmas, as it has a time difference of +14 hours to the Greenwich mean (GMT).

That is, while in Peru it is 5:00 am on December 24, Kiribati is celebrating the beginning of December 25.

After Kiribati, Christmas comes to New Zealand, and then to Australia.

The small country of Kiribati has about 100,000 inhabitants, grouped mainly in South Tarawa. The little space and the large number of people make Kiribati have a population density similar to that of Tokyo or Hong Kong.

In addition, it lives threatened by climate change. Since 1989 it has been known that Kiribati will be the first country to disappear because of the climate, either due to the rise in the level of the oceans or another environmental phenomenon.

The archipelago was discovered in 1788 by the English navigator Thomas Gilbert, it remained as a British colony from 1916 to 1979, and then passed into American hands until 1983.

“We have a relatively stable climate for now, but a change in weather patterns that pushes us towards the hurricane belt, that could wipe us off the map ,” then-president Anote Tong explained to the BBC in 2014.

Without a doubt, the future looks bleak for the small nation embedded in the heart of the Pacific. Although not everyone believes that way.

In 2016, Taneti Mamau assumed the presidency of Kiribati and has chosen to replace Tong’s climate efforts with a tourist bet in which the paradisiacal beaches and the smiles of the locals stand out.

Source: with information from AP

Amelia Warner– After graduating from NYU with a master's degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Amelia Warner mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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