Christmas is a wonderful time of year for many reasons, but the fact that it’s celebrated around the world in one form or another makes it extra special. Many families have their own customs and traditions they perform during the holiday season and so do many cultures across the globe. From kissing under the mistletoe to throwing shoes, here are several fascinating ways Christmas is celebrated around the world.
Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines for 5 months! That’s a lot of holiday cheer! Starting in September, Philippinos begin putting up Christmas decorations and celebrating until the first Sunday in January. A lot of families decorate their homes with colorful paper lanterns (“parols”) and enjoy a huge meal on Christmas Eve (“Noche Buena”).
Christmas is considered more of a secular holiday in Japan but they do have a tradition on Christmas Day which is to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken. A bucket of the Colonel’s golden fried chicken has become their traditional Christmas dinner. This custom originated in 1974 when KFC aired an obviously very successful marketing campaign.
In England, families hang their Christmas stockings at the foot of their beds instead of over the fireplace. Before starting the midday Christmas feast, it’s traditional for everyone to open their Christmas cracker. This is a decorative paper tube with a tab at each end which when pulled open makes a loud cracking sound as trinkets and candy fall out. Also, within the tube are riddles, jokes, and paper hats which must be worn while eating.
As Christmas Day lands in the middle of the summer season in Australia, many families go to the beach or hang by the pool. Traditional Christmas meals include shrimp on the barbie, lobster, and sweets. Oftentimes, Santa Claus himself will show up at the beach in style – via boat, of course, delivering treats to children.
Most families in Spain open their presents on January 6th rather than on Christmas Day. January 6th, Epiphany, celebrates the day the three wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. A traditional dinner on this day consists of plenty of seafood such as lobster, crab, and shellfish.
In Norway, it’s tradition to hide all the brooms before going to bed on Christmas Eve to prevent evil spirits and witches from getting into their homes and causing mischief. Believing evil entities also come about on the night before Christmas, it’s said that if an evil spirit spots a broom in your home, it will wreak havoc and cause you misfortune.
On December 7th at 6 p.m. each year, man-made effigies of the devil are set afire in street across the country. The thought behind this tradition is that if the devil is literally in ashes, then the holiday can kick off the rest of the year with a fresh start.
Well before Christmas arrives in Austria, children are warned that naughy behavior could result in being visited by the Krampus. A half-goat, half-man demon who is linked with St. Nicholas, the Krampus will beat naughty children with sticks or stash them in their sack to drag them to Hell. In the streets of Austria before Christmas, young men dress up as Krampus clanging chains and bells and striking fear in the hearts of kiddies across the land.
Ho, ho, ho! There you have it – an interesting glimpse into Christmas traditions across the globe. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for someone, check out these beauties and, remember, flowers always make a perfect gift.