Christmas is a global holiday, but it is celebrated differently throughout the world. If you want to try a new tradition this holiday season, or simply learn about different traditions, there are a few countries that you should check out. These countries have rich cultural backgrounds and have traditions that are both interesting and meaningful.
Australia celebrates Christmas on December 25th, which just happens to be summertime in that country. Since it is very warm, many traditions are celebrated outdoors. Carols by Candlelight is the most popular event of the season. This takes place at night and many people come together to share Christmas carols and light candles. It often becomes like a Christmas concert because entire neighborhoods will come together during this event.
Christmas in China is celebrated by a small group of Christians in the country. It is referred to as the Holy Birth Festival, or Sheng Dan Jieh. Homes are adorned with posters, evergreens and bright paper trains. A tree of light is put up and resembles basically what a traditional U.S. Christmas tree looks like, although it is decorated with flowers, lanterns and red paper chains. They also use paper lanterns to light their homes.
Christmas Eve in England is spent hanging stockings, baking cookies and wrapping presents. Families gather around their tree and share holiday tales. Instead of Santa Claus, they have Father Christmas. Children will write letters to him on Christmas Eve and then this is put in the fire in hopes that their wishes come to life on Christmas day.
The ancient Julian calender has Christmas celebrated on January 7th in Ethiopa. The celebration is referred to as Ganna and involves dressing in all white and attending church. Timkat, a three-day celebration, starts on January 19th. This is a time where Christ’s baptism is commemorated.
St. Nicholas Eve is on December 5th and this kicks off the Christmas season in France. However, the biggest day during this season is Christmas Eve. The French sing noels and prepare for a busy Christmas Day. Christmas morning is spent at church and then families return home to huge feasts. Dessert includes the traditional buche de Noel.
All throughout December, German families spend time preparing for Christmas. An Advent wreath is made four Sundays before Christmas and it has four colored candles and a pine or fir wreath. Every Sunday leading up to Christmas, a candle is lit, Christmas cookies are enjoyed and Christmas songs are sung.
December 6th is St. Nicholas Day and the children in Holland eagerly await Sinterklaas on this day. He comes bearing gifts for all of the children. On this day, families have hot chocolate, good food and a letter cake. This cake is in the shape of the first initial of the last name of the family.
Christmas in Mexico is warm so a lot of time is spent outside. Families use evergreens and lilies to decorate their homes. They cut brown paper bags into designs and use them as lanterns. These are placed along sidewalks and candles are placed in them to light the way. These are also placed on rooftops and windowsills. Entire neighborhoods do this to illuminate the neighborhood for the holiday season.
What family Christmas traditions do you? Christmas is not suppose to be about gifts, but when my kids were still at home, I would let them open one stocking stuffer, starting two weeks before Christmas. This helped with some of their anxiousness during the month. When I was younger, and both of my dad’s parents were alive, we always had a big family get together on Christmas Eve. My grandfather passed away almost 25 years ago, but I still reminisce about those wonderful memories.