Shopping Guides & Articles

Christmas Traditions From Around The World

Christmas is a truly global celebration. However, it is not all the same everywhere. Centuries of traditions, cultures, and folktales have influenced Christmas celebrations around the world. But one thing is common almost everywhere: this holiday is about love, peace, and celebration. Families gather to enjoy dinner, take part in activities, and give gifts to each other.
 

Some traditions are similar to those in the US while others are pretty extraordinary. Like Americans, people all over the world exchange gifts on Christmas. This is a busy shopping time everywhere. Another common thing is using coupons. They may be popular in the US but their benefits have reached across borders. People shop using discount codes especially during the festive season of Christmas. 
Here are ten different Christmas traditions from ten countries:


1. Japan - Fried Chicken On Christmas

Christmas is not very big in Japan as there are few Christmas displays in major cities. However, there is a strange tradition in Japan. They eat Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas and children receive their gifts on their pillows on the Christmas Eve. 


2. Norway – Hide Your Broom

This is probably the craziest tradition of all. There is a centuries-old folktale that witches come out on Christmas night and steal the brooms to fly on. People hide their brooms on Christmas and apparently the practice is still present in the Nordic country. 


3. Germany – St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on the eve of December 5 in Germany, especially in the region of Bavaria. The tradition follows that St. Nicholas comes out during the night and leaves little presents like oranges or chocolates in children’s shoes. For this reason, Germans keep a shoe outside their home on St. Nicholas Day. 
St. Nicholas also visits schools this day to give out candies and presents. In fact, there is another mythical creature that roams around that day. Knecht Ruprecht, a devilish character with horns, punishes naughty kids.
 

4. The Philippines – Giant Lantern Festival

The city of San Fernando, also called the Christmas capital of the Philippines, hosts the Giant Lantern Festival. People from all over the country take part in this festival which is an extraordinary display of lights and lanterns. Lanterns are as big as six meters and beautifully decorated.

 

5. Iceland – Yule Lads

For thirteen days leading up to Christmas, the Yule Lads go around the country giving presents to the children in shoes outside their homes. There are thirteen of them dressed in traditional Icelandic Garb. Each one of them has a name which denotes what kind of trouble they can cause. For instance, Ketkrókur means meat-hook. They do not always leave presents. For naughty kids, they leave rotten potatoes.

 


6. Ghana – Christmas Parade

Ghana is culturally diverse countries. Majority of the population in Ghana follows Christianity. During Christmas time, there are elaborate parades where people dress up in beautiful traditional Ghanaian clothes. The clothes are mostly white with color frills and pleats on the edges. Some wear masks as well. 


7. Poland – Wigilia

Wigilia is the name of a traditional Christmas meal in Poland. It roughly means ‘to watch’ in the Polish language. The meal takes place on Christmas Eve and there is a belief that whatever happens during these festivities predicts the coming year. 


8. Finland – Christmas Sauna

Finland is widely considered the origin of Santa Claus. However, Canada claims that too. The Fins love saunas. There is a tradition of enjoying sauna right before Christmas Eve when Santa arrives. They also decorate their Christmas trees with geometric mobiles made out of straws. 


9. Russia –Babouska

In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January. One the day of Christmas Baboushka, which means grandmother or old woman, gives out gifts to the children. The tale behind this tradition is that the old woman who did not give a present to Jesus has to give presents to kids now. New Year celebrations are grander in Russia and the whole week is full of festivities. Christmas is then followed by New Year celebrations


10. Mexico – Nacimientos

Nacimiento is the Nativity display which is very common in Mexico. People have elaborate nativity displays outside their homes. There are beautiful folk art displays in public places. Christmas trees also exist in homes but nativity scenes are a lot more common in comparison with any other part of the world. Nacimientos are set up December 16th and baby Jesus is added on the night of December 24th. The three kings arrive after January 5th. 


Christmas is surely the best time of the year whether you are home or abroad. There is something interesting and bright going on almost everywhere. If you ever get a chance to travel to one of these countries during Christmas, take part in these customs to get the first-hand taste of Christmas abroad. 

Published On: December 24, 2018