Christmas is the time to celebrate with family and friends. Across the globe, countries celebrate Christmas Day with traditions unique and beloved to them. While many customs are similar, there are certain exclusively connected with the history and myths of a region. The common thing about all is to share happiness and goodwill, and enjoy the special time of year.
Let’s check out how countries across the globe celebrate Christmas.
Americans have created a boozy Christmas tradition ‘The Running of the Santas’. The event sees people dressed as Santa taking part in large bar crawls.
The custom here includes stirring the pudding mix clockwise by each member of the family before it cooked. While stirring, they can make a wish.
Any letter received bearing the address ‘Santa Clause, North Pole, Canada, HOHOHO’ are opened and replied too as Canada post recognizes the address.
Germans start preparing for Christmas Eve of weeks ago. A greenery wreath is set out with four candles, one to be lit each Sunday before the eve, and the large candle to be lit on Christmas Day. Children, to receive gifts from a winged figure, leave letters on windowsills. Beautiful gingerbread houses and cookies, spiced cakes and tree pastry are especially made for the holidays.
Santa in France called Pere Noel. Nativity is used in Christmas Décor. It often has Nativity figures, butcher, baker, policeman and priest etc.
Children place their shoes near fireplace to get them filled with gifts.
The traditional meal for the day is Reveillon, eaten early Christmas morning after returning from midnight church service. Other dishes for the special meal include roast turkey with chestnuts, roast goose, oysters, lobster, cheeses and venison.
Ukrainians decorate their Christmas tree with an artificial spider and web instead of trinkets and baubles.
Norwegians hide all the brooms on the day to keep them away from witches and evil spirits. The gallant men in the family dare to go out and fire a gun into the air to ward off the spirits.
Nativity is one of the most important ways to celebrate the eve. Narration of Christmas story using a crèche is a popular custom started by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223.
Celebrations start 8 days before the eve with special prayers and church services. No meat is eaten on Christmas Eve and a light seafood meal is eaten after Midnight Mass. Panettone, a traditional dessert is also served.
The main day for gift giving in Italy is Epiphany. People believe that an old lady called Befana brings presents for children on Epiphany.
A traditional fortune-telling practice is common on Christmas Eve. In this tradition, single Czech women stand with back to a door, remove their shoe and throw it towards the door. If the shoe lands with its toe facing the door, then the thrower is said to get married in the upcoming year. If the shoe lands with heel, she has to wait for at least another 12 months before getting a sparkling wedding ring on her finger.