In This post, I will explore 20 different countries around the world, that celebrate Christmas to their own religions, ethnicities and beliefs by coming together to celebrate the kindness peace of the Holidays with their own traditions that are very special to them. I will cover the countries of;
England, Mexico, Italy, China, Sweden, France, Holland, Australia, Germany, Spain, Ethiopia, Russia, Scotland, Japan, Brazil, Greece, Ireland, Bethlehem, Philippines, Norway.
I know there are so many more I could do, but it is hard to do all of the countries of the world maybe at some point in my blog I will be able to get to all of you WENDY.
In Norway, it seems that Christmas is very important to them and is deeply seeded into their traditions, which is unlike some of the European countries which you will see as I go through the other countries. It seems that the Norwegians like to decorate their homes with the white Christmas lights, plastic Santa or nativities on their lawns. In the windows of their homes, you could see candles celebrate the Christmas season. Another special celebration is Santa Lucia Day on December 13, which honors the 'Queen of Lights.' It's the tradition for all young Norwegian girls to dress in white robes and lighted-up crowns, and bring baskets of saffron buns to all the schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other pubic places.
In Russian it is quite different, whether its solemn rituals or family togetherness. For Russians, the Christmas Holidays were banned until 1992 after the 1917 Revolution. So they hold Christmas very close to their hearts. It seems that Christmas celebrations a slowly beginning replaced
by Festival of Winter, there are still lots of Russian folks that celebrate the old Russian traditions of stem from the Orthodox faith. What the Traditional Russian faith celebrate Christmas are their religion and special prayers/also, fast til Jan. 6 of the new year. After the Fast/Prays of Jan. 6 of the New Year they all have a bountiful 12-course meal called 'Holy Supper' honoring the Twelve Apostles. For the Russians, Christmas Day is celebrated on Jan 7. with Church and a traditional dinner of goose and suckling pig.
Well, now Christmas in England. The British have many unique traditions during Christmas that you won't' find anywhere else they say! One of the first traditions is that all English families decorate their homes with holly, ivy and hang mistletoe in the doorway. Christmas Eve the British are busy with their families gift wrapping, baking and reading to their children Christmas stories. During all of this, a Yule log is burning in the fireplaces all around London, as children write their wish list to Father Christmas as they call him and then throw them into the fire so that their wishes will come true. Carolers are always going about & on Christmas Day, English families enjoy a midday feast of turkey, stuffing, roast goose/roast beef sides with of course Yorkshire pudding. After the families of England listen to the Queen of England deliver a Christmas message over the radio or television.
Now were in the lovely country of Mexico and although they too celebrate Christmas on December 25- like the United States, their traditions are quite different. They come from the Mexico's form of Roman Catholicism. In Mexico, the major of the people celebrate the tradition of Las Posadas which is a nine-day celebration which symbolizes Mary & Joseph's search for a room at the inn where Jesus was born. In Mexico from Dec. 16-24 families would take the celebration to their homes. In their neighborhoods, a nativity scene would be set up by the children & the adults would play the parts of the nativity parts of the play. Later Villancicos are sung while both the adults and their children take turns hitting the pinata, followed by a grand Mexican feast. Then on Christmas Day, all families go to church together and have another traditional Christmas dinner of oxtail soup, beans, hot chili, roasted turkey. As receiving gifts, they do this on Jan 5, the eve of Twelfth Night.
Christmas in Italy begins the first Sunday of Advent, which falls anywhere between November 27, and December 3. In Italy, there are some area's that kick of the holiday season with bonfires, fireworks, and holiday music. It seems that Christmas Carols and the Manger Scenes originated in Italy, you can find them just about everywhere during the holidays. During what the Italians call novena, nine days before Christmas. This is when children will sing carols & write letters to their parents with a gift they want and promising good behavior for the new year. Christmas Day is set aside for attending mass, feasting and spending time together as a family.
Now were in Sweden and the Swedish families celebrate the Christmas holiday in various family-oriented traditions that begin with attending church on the first Sunday of Advent[children anxiously count down the days til Christmas using an Advent calendar]. Then of Dec. 13 which is also known as St. Lucia's Day. In Sweden, the Swedes celebrate the patron saint of light, in which the eldest daughter in a family dresses in a long white gown --- then serves coffee and treats to her family members. They will decorate their tree's with an array of candies, glass ornaments, pinecones and figurine gnomes and have a midday meal served on Christmas Eve. This includes the tradition of 'dipping in the kettle in remembrance of hard times when food was scarce.
In France/Paris, Christmas is a very important holiday. For the French it starts as early as Dec. 5, which is also called St. Nicholas Eve. This day in France is when children leave their shoes by the fireplace so Father Christmas or Pere Noel will fill them with treats. Although the folks of France start the holiday much early, most of the Christmas celebrations take place on Christmas Eve. They go to midnight Mass and come home for a late feast that's called 'le reveillon'.
In the country of Holland, they have many well-known Christmas traditions that are center around 'Sinterklaas' who makes his appearance on St. Nicholas Day---December 6.
A red robed Sinterklaas, atop a wheeled sleigh that's led by a white horse, travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam's harbor. Sinterklaas is then greeted by the mayor and the people of Amsterdam when he arrives December 6 then proceeds in a town parade through the streets. The Dutch families go home after the parade to the homes for a feast and a letterbanket, which is a cake shaped into the letter of the family's last name.
In Australia, they may not have winter or even a white Christmas down under, however, it doesn't change the holiday season just because it's hot outside. The Aussies like to celebrate the Christmas season with many different unique traditions, including Christmas caroling by candlelight & outdoor concerts. Australian families take advantage of the nice December weather by doing outdoor activities---these could be swimming, surfing, biking and grilling meals on the 'Barbie'. Aussies decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves and evergreens and some put up Christmas trees.
Aussies go to church on Christmas Eve and enjoy parties with friends and family.
In Germany, it is a very cold place during Christmas, but a lively place full of family traditions truly brighten up the days of the season. German families start to celebrate Christmas four Sundays before the big day by making an Advent wreath with four colored candles. Then a candle is lit each Sunday, followed by caroling and eating cookies. In Germany, the markets and bakeries are quite the sights to see with lovely window displays of the season. Christmas Eve is the most important day for families and is centered around the Christmas tree. An interesting fact---The Christmas Tree tradition started in Germany and it is a sacred event to decorate the evergreen tree with glass ornaments, silver stars, lights and placing an angel on the top of the tree. On Christmas Day families will light the white candle of the Advent wreath.
Christmas in Spain starts on Dec 8. Families observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. During this week many families of Spain many travel to Seville for the warm weather & it's great cathedral to watch a dance performance called 'Los Seises to honor the Virgin Mary. Spanish families during the holidays will decorate the best room in their homes with a life-size nativity scene that's called 'Nacimientos'. They also fast all day on Christmas Day & go to midnight mass together to return home to a bountiful Christmas feast.
In Ethiopia, the people have many unique holiday traditions that set them apart from many other countries. Ethiopia being one of the oldest nations in Africa follows the ancient Julian calendar. Meaning they celebrate Christmas Day on Jan 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church doesn't call the celebration of Christs birth Christmas, but rather 'Ganna'. The people of Ethiopia celebrate Ganna in many different ways, but most will fast the day before, dress in white and attend a traditional Mass at 4am. [ganna resembles hockey played by men and boys] In Ethiopia it's tradition for families to eat wat--- a spicy stew of meat and vegetables. The people of Ethiopia start again 12 days, later on, Jan 19, with 'Timkat,' a commemoration for the baptism of Christ.
Christmas in Scotland my heritage is filled with lively traditions and joyous celebrations too. This all stem from a long history that involved big bonfires, whiskey, good food and lots of family and friends. Scottish families would decorate with evergreens which symbolize the renewal of life & mistletoe that is said to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
In Japan even though December 25 Christmas Day is not a national Holiday, the people of Japan take part in the Western traditions and have created a few of their own. In Japan, it is not uncommon to see decorations with evergreens or gifts exchanging during Christmas season in the Japanese homes and high-businesses. There's a party called Bonenkai meaning forget-the-year-parties, throughout December.
In the country of Brazil, they have an ethnically diverse of the Christmas Season. One of the common traditions among many of the regions of Brazil is to create a nativity scene that will be displayed in private homes, churches and stores. Just like in Mexico the Brazilians enjoy watching Los Pastores plays that represent the Nativity.
Greece an most beautiful country & many different islands for which I am lucky to have been to a few, Celebrate Christmas in a solemn and religious way. However, they also have a festive time during this time of the year too. It is said that the patron saint of the holiday St. Nicolas was a protector of sailors, so you would expect to see many boats decorated with colorful lights more so than the Christmas Trees. The greeks celebration starts on St. Nicolas Day[Dec24] and the celebration continues till Jan 6 when it ends with a great feast of the Epiphany. Many Greeks are Christain Orthodox and attend church on Christmas morning with a grand Christmas feast in the evening.
Christmas in Ireland begins on Dec 8. and winds down on Jan. 6 or the Feast of the Epiphany. Irish Christmases are focused on religious observance more than festivities. Another family tradition in Ireland is to light a candle in the window of the house on Christmas Eve to symbolize their welcoming of Mary & Joseph as they looked for shelter for baby Jesus birth. The Majority of Ireland it seems is Catholic so many will attend mass on Christmas Day and at Midnight on Christmas Eve. It is also a time to remember those who have died in Ireland through prayer and decorating graves with homemade wreaths.
Well, Bethlehem the city where Jesus was born, and it's this reason that so many flock to the city during the Christmas Religious Celebrations. Besides Bethlehem's history and traditions its one of the most interesting place to be during Christmas. In Bethlehem, there are multiple church services and processions for so many different Christian denominations, many of which pass through Manger Square near the traditional site of Jesus' birth.
In the Philippines, I found they have the world's longest Christmas holiday season than any other country. It starts in September and ends as late as the third Sunday of January new year. They are predominantly Catholic people, so much so that they focus on religious gatherings. For an Filipino it is a tradition for them to celebrate the holiday be attending a nine-day dawn masses starting Dec 16, to show devotion and faith to God. On Christmas Eve, Filipinos will attend midnight mass and go to the Misa de Aguinaldo
around sunrise and spend Christmas day with family.
I hope that you all enjoyed the many different
traditions around the world for Christmas
my dearest Friends, Followers, and Readers
Thank you so much for coming to my
humble blog all these years
Your friend always