Christmas Traditions in the World
Have you ever wondered what are Christmas traditions in the world and how other countries celebrate the Nativity? In this page dedicated to the traditions of Christmas, I'm going to tell you how other countries celebrate Christmas. You're also going to discover the principal Christmas symbols, why Father Christmas doesn't give presents to everyone and who's Santa's most popular competitor.
So what are those famous Christmas Symbols
Christmas symbol #1: the Advent
The advent consists in burning a candel that represents the rebirth of the nature after the winter solstice. The traditions reqires from people to burn a candel on each of the four Sundays before Christmas Day.
Christmas symbol #2: the Christmas mass
The Christmas mass is held on Christmas Eve at Midnight. The Christmas Mass celebrates the birth of baby Jesus. However, nowadays, many people attend the mass at 6 or 10 PM or just avoid it.
Christmas symbol #3: the Christmas crib
The Christmas crib - or Nativity scene - symbolizes the day baby Jesus was born and is part of those ornaments that we can find in most Christians homes in December.
Christmas symbol #4: the Christmas tree
Long before the advent of Christianity, pagans used the evergreen tree to represent life and nature. This tradition has been included in the Christian customs of Christmas, where the tree has found a place.
Christmas symbol #5: the yule log
The yule log isn't a religious symbol; it is simply the log that warms up the room during the long cold winter days, and, more particularly, nights. The same way, the yule log is supposed to warm the atmosphere on Christmas night.
However, since many homes don't have a chimney in which to burn the log, it has become a traditional Christmas dessert in many Christian areas.
The Christmas log can, therefore, be made out of wood that's burnt in the fireplace or a dessert made out of chocolate, ice cream or frosted sponge cake.
Christmas symbol #6: Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus
Another really important and popular Christmas symbols is Father Christmas, an old man who was supposed to bring treats or gifts to little children. With the commercialization of Christmas, Americans created a brand new symbolic representation of Father Christmas: Santa Claus.
Did you know that, in reality, Santa Claus is the more modern version of the good Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, the saint patron of schoolboys? Jolly Old St Nick still does exist in many areas of the world, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern France and some other countries, where the great patron himself and his helper Black Pete, bring gifts to good children on 5 and/or 6 December (depending on the country).
Christmas traditions in Australia
Christmas falls during the Australian summertime, therefore, the heat doesn't allow Aussies to celebrate the white Christmas people enjoy in the Northern hemisphere. However, Astralians stick to traditional Christmas celebrations as much as they can.
This being said, there's no reason for Aussies to stay indoors when outside temperatures are high. Therefore, they generally celebrate the Christmas festivities outdoors. Depending on their own preference, they may host Christmas parties on the beach, like in Sidney where up to 40,000 Aussies have a good time altogether on Bondi Beach. Aussies may also choose to just enjoy a Christmas break in campgrounds.
An Australian Christmas is as delightful as one we spend on here and every one of us would certainly enjoy tropical plants decorated with Christmas ornaments and lights as well as listen to Australian carols, as Aussie are original and even created their own version of the 12 Days of Christmas.
Christmas traditions in Germany
Author: Kristin Thoennes Keller, Kristin Thoennes
Christmas traditions in England
Christmas traditions in England are observed with enthusiasm. English people love to decorate their homes with mistletoe, holly and ivy. The old traditions of Christmas caroling is also enthusiastically observed and carolers walk their neighbourhood singing Christmas songs for everyone's best pleasure.
Regarding the traditional English Christmas menu, it consists in roasted turkey or goose, veggies and potatoes. The dessert of a traditional English Christmas meal is always a Christmas pudding; which is filled with little objects for the guests to find and collect.
In England, little kids hang their stockings on the fireplace and Father Christmas fills them with gifts and treats. However, there's a huge difference between the celebrations of Christmas in England and in other countries.
As a matter of fact, English festivities of Christmas don't come to an end on 25 December, instead, Boxing Day falls on 26 December and is as important as Christmas Day and fill part of the end of year fun in England.
English people also enjoy sending greeting cards for the holiday season - naturally, they invented the sending of Christmas cards, so they couldn't forget about the tradition.
Christmas traditions in the USA
How does a Christmas in the United States of America look like?
In the USA, the Christmas season lasts for a whole month. Not that people do celebrate Christmas for 30 days but the Christmas shopping, the tree trimming, the Christmas home decorating are part of the American folklore of the holiday season and US Americans enjoy browsing stores in search of that special Christmas tree ornament or look for the last string lights to hang on the ceiling; while mums keep their kids making Christmas crafts, baking and doing many other activities.
Thereofre, right after Thanksgiving Day, Santa Claus arrives in the US and declares that the beginning of the Christmas shopping season has started.
In the US, the Christmas stocking tradition is also part of the festivities and kids hang their stockings on the fireplace hoping that Santa would fill them with candy and tiny toys.
Christmas traditions in Philippines
Prepared by: World Book
Christmas traditions in France
Christmas in France is globally celebrated, though a few regions still celebrate Jolly Old Saint Nick on the 6 December. Even so, Christmas in France is a celebrate especially dedicated to children.
Although France is a secular country and religion has be be kept into the private circle, France is historically a Christian country and, therefore, French municipalities decorate the sreets with brightly colored string lights as well as evergreen trees and ornaments.
Stores are also elegantly decorated for the Christmas shopping with mazes including toys, dolls and beautiful decorations, providing people with the impression that they're walking in wonderland.
French homes are also decorated for the occasion. But France provides you with more than this on Christmas time: they host Christmas markets and villages, where people can find all kind of Christmas ornaments, eat and drink French and foreign delicacies.
Christmas in France also include those traditions:
- * The Christmas tree trimming,
- * The Christmas dinner; which is as outstanding as French cuisine's reputation,
- * Papa Noël, also known as Père Noël or Petit Papa Noël, who's the gift bearer,
- * And much more.
In French Overseas Departments such as French Carribean, French Guyana or territories in the Indian Ocean, Christmas is celebrate in the same way as in France apart from the fact that there's no snow.
Christmas traditions in Italy
Christmas in Italy is named "Natale" and begins one week before 25 December. Christmas in Italy lasts for three entire weeks in the country. This three week period is named Novena.
What do Italians do during Novena? Well, like Christmas carolers in other countries, kids wander from home to home, telling poems to their neighbours. After they told their poems, they receive some money to buy gifts.
Christmas in Italy means, like in other countries, decorating the homes. Italians emphasize on the religious part of their Christmas decor and have a Christmas crib - or Nativity scene - made out of plaster. The miniature figurines represent baby Jesus, Joseph, Marie and the three Magi.
Meals on Christmas in Italy differ from one region to another and a traditional Christmas dinner or supper might consist in stuffed turkey in the countryside to fish in towns located by the sea. In any way, there's one Christmas dessert that's similar in all regions: the famous Panettone.
Christmas traditions in Italy vary depending on the region and the gift bearer might well be FatHer Christmas, whose Italian name is Babo Natale. or Baby Jesus named Gesu Bambino.
Christmas traditions in Canada
Author: DeeAnn Mandryk
Christmas traditions in Belgium
Christmas traditions in Belgium don't really differ from other countries in that that Belgians decorate their homes for the celebration.
The difference between Christmas in Belgium and in other countries, lies in the fact that Christmas isn't a holiday for children but for the whole family. Naturally for Christians, it's before all, a religious celebration.
As a matter of fact, the Belgian gift bearer isn't Father Christmas, although we have our own Papa Noël. The biggest celebration for kids in Belgium is Saint Nicholas, the great patron of schoolboys, on 6 December. Wise kids then receive toys as well as treats.
However, as said earlier, Christmas traditions in Belgium do exist and are observed each and every year. Belgians gather their family for a Christmas evening feast on 24 December. Gifts are generally already beneath the Christmas tree and, opened at Midnight. Because they already received toys on 6 December, Belgian kids generally find books and clothes beneath the Christmas tree while adults get the kind of gifts they wished from and that are more expensive than those of the children or receive an envelope that includes some money.
The Belgian Christmas dinner is held on Christmas eve and includes appetizers, starters, main course (stuffed turkey or goose), and a dessert. Though, many families also gather on Christmas Day for another big dinner. Those of the Christian faith generally attend the mass that's held at 10PM instead of Midnight.
Christmas traditions in Spain
Christmas in Spain is slightly different from the celebrations in other parts of Europe. Indeed, Father Christmas doesn't bring gifts to the kids and has a less important role in those celebrations. In Spain, the Magi bring gifts to children...
Another different Christmas traditions in Spain lies into the fact that kids don't get presents on Christmas Eve or Day; instead, they receive gifts on 6 January, which is known as the Magi Feast.
Naturally, Christmas traditions in Spain include the Christmas decoration of both the house and the tree. Streets and stores are decorated with gifts and lights; and Spanish people celebrate the Christmas evening with their families. They generally plan a huge dinner and have lots of fun.
The Christmas menu in Spain depends on the region: like in Italy, the meal is related to the type of foods that are particular to the region: rabbit, lamb, pork or fish depending on the area the town or village is located. Spanish drinks include naturally great wines and sangria.
Christmas traditions in Ukraine
Prepared by: World Book Encyclopedia, World Book Inc.
Christmas traditions in The Netherlands
Christmas in the Netherlands is as important as Saint Nicholas festival. Like Belgians, Dutchies celebrate the great patron saint of the schoolboys with passion: on 5 December, Sinter Klaas, the old gift bearer arrives by boat in the Netherlands with his black aids - actually the Duch Saint Nick has more aids than the Belgian Jolly Old Saint Nick and arrives sooner in the country.
While Saint Nicholas is a really important feast for children in the Netherlands, Christmas has almost the same importance and the gifts kids get on Christmas Eve may even be bigger than those they get on Saint Nicholas.
Dutchies are smart: they keep the 5 December gift small and profit from the after Saint Nick sales to purchase bigger presents their kids will find beneath the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
Christmas traditions in Portugal
Christmas in Portugal is named Consoada. This celebration consists in the gathering of families. On Consoada, families eat and drink traditional Portuguese meals prepared at home.
Although Christmas in Portugal is a religious celebration, family gatherings are the occasion to give presents to each while celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus.
Christmas in Portugal implies that religious traditions are strictly observed and Portuguese don't miss the Christmas Midnight Mass. This mass is known as Missa de Galo (Rooster Mass).
You might wonder why the mass carries the name of a rooster. The explanation is quite simple: the name originates from a legend of Christmas that associates a rooster and the celebration in the Portuguese folklore.
Baby Jesus is the girft bearer in Portugal, Santa Claus is known as Pai Natal and while Portuguese don't place a Christmas tree in their homes, they place a big log in the fireplace in order to warm the room where the celebration is held.
Christmas traditions in Scandinavia
Christmas in Scandinavia is the opportunity for me to highlight the common tarditions of Christmas that occur in Scandinavian contries.
Indeed, Scandinavians have some specific Christmas traditions in common. The first one being that they usually keep a place empty on the table in case one soul that passed away would want to visit them.
Those of the Christian faith who wish to highlight the religious side of Christmas read the bible after their Christmas dinner. The reading is generally followed by Christmas songs and dances around the evergreen tree.
Secular Christmas traditions involve the gathering of families and friends at the local or personal sauna. As a matter of fact, many Scandinavians have a home sauna that allows such gatherings. Father Christmas and his helpers come at night, brining gifts to wise children and also to adults.
Christmas traditions in other European countries
Christmas in Romania implies that Romanians burn a candle on Christmas Eve; the candle is supposed to burn till 25 December in the morning.
Christmas in Russia falls on 7 January, according to the Orthodox calendar.
Christmas in Greece being on Christmas Eve (24 Dec.) and ends on 6 January on Epiphany. The Christmas celebrations in Greece are less important than those of Easter.
Christmas recipes from around the world
Recipe ideas for you to try on Christmas time
Do you live in the UK? Some of those books are available in your area...