As Christmas is so soon upon us, many of us are going through the routine of organizing our special days. With families coming together, many of us are thinking about presents, food, entertainment, and just spending some time off work with the people we love.
However, while you may have your own traditions and routines that have developed over the years, it’s worth remembering that Christmas cultural traditions are different worldwide. There are plenty of different ways that this momentous occasion is celebrated.
Today, we’re going to explore ten different ways Christmas is celebrated in different cultures worldwide, perhaps educating you but maybe even inspiring you.
10 Best Christmas Cultural Traditions from Around the World
#1 – Australia
It’s strange for the Western world to imagine an Australian Christmas because this time of year falls in the middle of summer.
This means full beaches, sunshine, and many seafood dishes like lobsters and prawns on a barbeque! Santa has even been known to appear on a surfboard, coming to visit the kids on the beach.
#2 – Brazil
Brazilian festivities take citizens back to their Portuguese roots as they celebrate this time of year with traditional plates of rice, fruits, nuts, and meats like turkey or codfish.
Decorations are usually put up throughout November, and the gift-sharing activity of “Secret Santa” is extremely popular.
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#3 – Philippines
If one country loves to celebrate Christmas, it’s the Philippines. The inhabitants are renowned for putting up their decorations for this time of year as early as September, with much of the décor being handmade from natural materials.
The Saturday before Christmas Eve, they also hold the Giant Lantern Festival, a stunning display of craftsmanship and color.
They may have originally been made from origami paper and candles. Still, today these lanterns are made from various materials using electric bulbs with an average size of six meters! The event takes place in San Fernando, with some saying the lanterns are supposed to represent the Star of Bethlehem.
#4 – Japan
Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, so it has become a different experience. The Japanese style of Christmas is slightly different from what you may expect and predominantly resembles Valentine’s Day in the western world; indeed, many people treat it as such. But it doesn’t stop there.
The traditional Christmas meal in Japan is a KFC bucket of chicken, thanks to some impressive marketing from the Colonel in 1974.
While this may sound unbelievable, if you’re in Japan and want some on Christmas, you’ll need to make a reservation to ensure you get some! People place their orders months in advance and usually eat the meal on Christmas Eve.
#5 – Iceland
While Iceland’s Christmas traditions are pretty typical across the board, their legends are unique. One legend describes a giant cat that roams the landscape during the festive time of year, devouring people, and the only way to protect yourself is to get new clothes!
Farmers traditionally used it to encourage their workers to be more productive to receive a new set of clothes.
They also don’t leave out stockings but instead place their shoes by the window for the 13 Yule Lads to visit and will find their shoes filled with candy if they are good and rotten potatoes if they are bad.
This happens for the 13 nights leading up to Christmas, with a different Yule Lad visiting each night, bringing their forms of mischief with them.
Iceland also has a lovely tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve, which people then settle down to read straight away in front of the fire while eating chocolate or drinking hot chocolate.
#6 – Canada
“While most of Canada enjoys a traditional Western style of Christmas, Eskimos in the northern territories host huge parties with everybody involved where you’ll find lots of gifts being exchanged and dancing!” shares Ben Harper, a writer from Paper Help.
However, suppose you can make it to Toronto at the start of the holiday season. In that case, you’ll be able to witness the Cavalcade of Lights, where the square and Christmas tree are illuminated with energy-efficient LED lights alongside fireworks and some fun outdoor activities for you to try, like ice skating.
More than 300,000 LED lights are used for this awe-inspiring light display that lasts from dusk the day of the lighting until 11 pm on New Year.
#7 – India
Due to India’s many religions, only the country’s Christians will celebrate Christmas.
Those that do will typically decorate banana and mango trees, but activities like buying and sharing gifts aren’t typically practiced.
#8 – England
There’s no denying that British Christmas is much like the American traditions, but there are some noticeable differences worth considering. Children don’t hang stockings by the fireplace but instead position them at the end of their beds for Santa to fill.
There is also the annual speech by the reigning monarch that most people tune in to hear. The 26th of December also becomes its day of celebration with sales to rival Black Friday and an extra public holiday to help you recover from Christmas Day itself.
Like Canada, England and the UK tend to hold celebrations for lighting the Christmas lights, with each town or city providing its festivities.
#9 – Finland
“The First Advent Season of Finland ” Christmas starts on the first Sunday of December, and children across the country use traditional advent calendars.
Many people also spend Christmas Eve at the sauna before heading out to evening celebrations leaving behind the spirits of their long-dead ancestors to take their place in the bubbling waters.
#10 – Ukraine
If you’re not a fan of spiders, you should probably avoid Ukraine during the Christmas season. This is mainly because Ukrainians will decorate using artificial spider webs covered with dew, so it sparkles in the light!
Spider webs are a sign of good luck in Ukraine. Christmas day is also celebrated on January 7th, with people walking through town in traditional garments and singing carols for all to hear.
On Christmas Eve, a popular treat is kutya, made from cooked wheat with nuts, poppy seeds, and honey. One tradition will see families throwing a spoonful of the mix at the ceiling to predict the new year harvest. If it sticks, the harvest will be good.
Working as a travel and lifestyle blogger at Dissertation Writing Service and Write My Essay, Jenny Han works hard to help individuals step outside their comfort zone when exploring the world and all its wonders! Also, she is a blogger at the Assignment Help service.