Although each country has its own Christmas, Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated in the whole world and in different ways. The meaning of the holiday is unanimous, though the traditions and representations surrounding it differ all around the world. The festive period brings a sense of community, which you can see through the celebrations that take place. Christmas is not only a religious holiday for Christians, but also a time for loved ones to gather together. Here are a few Christmas traditions around the world, keep reading…
If you’re celebrating Christmas in Russia, you’ll be wishing everyone Pozdrevlyayu s Novym Godom i Rozhdestvom. Today, Russia celebrates the Festival of Winter, though you can still find some traditional customs of Christmas in some areas of the country. Traditional Russian celebrations include fasting thirty-nine days until Christmas Eve, which is held on January 6th. It’s is when people will see the first evening star appear in the sky. Also, a twelve-course meal then commences, to honor 12 apostles. On Christmas Day, many people go to a church to sing carols and hymns. There is a traditional figure in Russia named Ded Moroz, or Father Frost, who presents the gifts to the children along with his granddaughter, Snegurochka.
If you want to celebrate Christmas in Italy, then you’ll be wishing everyone a Buon Natale. The celebrations in Italy start 8 days before Christmas and take place over 3 weeks. This period is called Novena and during this time children dress up as shepherds and play and sing musical instruments, and recite Christmas poems. They go from one house to another cheering up people and in turn are given some money to buy presents. Unlike other Christmas traditions in the world, children wait till January 6th to open their presents, when according to tradition, they are brought by a kind ugly witch called Befana.
If you’re planning to celebrate Christmas in Sweden, then you’ll be wishing everyone a God Jul. The Saint Lucia Ceremony starts the Christmas festivities in Sweden. Before dawn, on the early morning of December 13th, the youngest daughter of the family puts on a white dress accompanied by a red sash. She wears a crown made out of evergreens on her head, which has lighted candles on it. After that she wakes her parents up and offers them Lucia coffee and buns. Although the custom dates back to the 4th century, it is quite a recent tradition in Sweden and is important since it symbolizes the return of the star. Usually on Christmas morning the churches are lit up entirely by candles and Christmas trees are decorated 2 days before Christmas.
It can seem a little bit strange but African people also celebrate Christmas. If you’re going to celebrate Christmas in Ethiopia, you will be wishing everybody a Melkin Yelidet Beaal on January 7th that is renowned as Ganna. Moreover, a solid volcanic rock’s been cut to make the beautiful ancient churches where the celebrations take place in. They are made in modern styles, which have been purposely designed and built in three concentric circles. People hold candles when listening to the choir outside the circle, whilst entering the church. Inside the church, the men sit separately to the women. When the candles have been lit, people proceed to walk around the church three times and after that stand about 3 hours more while the mass takes place. Christmas gifts are not so important in Ethiopia. The main gift for a child is to get clothing.
If you are going to celebrate Christmas in Japan then you’ll be wishing everyone a Kurisumasu Omedeto or Shinnen Omedeto. Did you know the fact that Japanese people still follow many recognizable traditions of Christmas and only 1% of them celebrate Christmas for religious reasons? Many people participate in the exchange of gifts and decorate their houses. A Buddhist monk performs the role of Santa Claus, who delivers gifts to the children’s houses.
If you’re thinking about celebrating Christmas in China, then you’ll be wishing everyone a Sheng Dan Kuai Le (Mandarin) or a Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun (Cantonese). All global representations of Christmas are shown in China with the help of decorations on the Christmas tree. The Christian children decorate and make the trees, which are known as ‘Trees of light.’ They also make paper ornaments in the shapes of lanterns, chains and flowers. Santa Claus’s name is Dun Che Lao Ren that means Christmas Old Man. People who are not religious celebrate this period as the Spring Festival. While enjoying many various celebrations they honor their ancestors. Children play a significant role in the festival and get new clothing and toys. Firework shows are always the most popular amongst the young ones.
If you want to celebrate Christmas in the Philippines, you’ll be wishing everyone a Maligayang Pasko. Christmas festivities all over the world begin at different times but in the Philippines they start with a Mass 9 days before Christmas. The Mass focuses on the story of the birth of Christ. Every year on Christmas Eve the Panunuluyan pageant is held. This tradition lets a chosen couple re-enact the Biblical story of Joseph and Mary in their search for shelter. The Mass on Christmas Day is held every hour, because everyone wants to attend it. The service ends when the Pastor puts down a star on a piece of wire, attached from the top area of the church onto the Nativity scene that has been built.
If you’re dreaming of celebrating Christmas in Finland, you’ll be wishing everyone a Hyvaa Joulua. People get ready for the celebration period by spending much time in the kitchen cooking a lot of special treats and scrupulously cleaning their houses. Fir trees are one of the many traditions of Christmas and play an important part of the festivities in Finland. Usually, they are decorated on Christmas Eve with paper flags, candles, an array of fruits, and tinsel. When the house is ready, a trip to the famous steam baths is a must after that, to get ready for the Christmas dinner afterwards. People often put seeds and nuts for the birds in the garden and most people in rural communities will wait eat their Christmas meal until the birds have eaten. Meal is served between 5 and 7pm and gifts are presented out either after or before the dinner. One of the most popular Christmas traditions that are loved by children is the hanging of their stocking. It’s not a necessity in Finland that Santa Claus come to the houses with as many as half a dozen elves to present the children their gifts. Christmas starts at 6am with Church services and the rest of the day includes family reunions and visits.
If you wish to celebrate Christmas in Greece, you’ll be wishing everyone a Kala Christouyenna. One of the most popular Christmas traditions all over the world is the figure of St. Nicholas. This is especially true in Greece, where he is also the patron saint of sailors. Greek tradition says that St. Nicholas saves sinking ships and that’s why a Greek ship never sails without an icon of the figure on board. On Christmas Eve, little boys go from one house to another singing carols while playing triangles and beating drums. They are thanked with dried figs, walnuts, almonds, sweets and even small gifts at times. 40 days before Christmas, people are fasting, that’s why the wait for the Christmas meal is impatiently anticipated. Another important Christmas custom in Greece is that people do not use Christmas trees. They use instead a wooden bowl that has a piece of wire across it. A sprig of basil is wrapped around a wooden cross which is hung from the wire. St Basil’s day – January 1st – the exchange of gifts, though many people like to present small gifts to hospitals and orphanages.
If you plan to celebrate Christmas in Bulgaria, then you’ll be wishing everyone a Vesela Koleda. The majority of Christmas traditions are paramount on Christmas Day, though, in Bulgaria, Christmas Eve is just as important. It’s the time when a dinner made for the entire family consists of at least twelve dishes. All the courses are cooked without meat and contain various types of beans, cakes, nuts, dried plums and the traditional dish of Banitza. The family sits on straw while they eat their dinner, and when they’ve eaten, they all leave the table together.
I am fond of Christmas and always amazed by how people in different countries celebrate it. It’s sad that some of these Christmas customs and traditions may be dying out, do you agree?