Christmastime is an incredible opportunity to share the love of Christ and the miracle of his birth with others. Christmas traditions are a special way of preparing for this time of year, and they can vary between every family, community and country. All across the globe, Christmas traditions are as unique as the people who live there. Sometimes they involve big, elaborate celebrations, and other times it is the small and simple traditions that make Christmas so special. Here are a few interesting traditions that can be found in different countries all over the world.
In Venezuela, instead of driving or walking on Christmas morning, children put on their roller skates to travel to Mass.
In Australia, because of their location in the southern hemisphere, people celebrate with lots of outdoor activities and barbeques, as temperatures can reach 100 degrees during the Christmas season.
In Guatemala, children receive presents under the tree on Christmas morning, but parents and adults do not exchange gifts until New Years Day.
In Norway, parents decorate the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, but the children have to wait in another room while they decorate. Afterwards, everyone joins hands around the tree and walks around it singing carols. This is known as “circling the Christmas tree.”
In Sweden, on December 13 the eldest daughter in each family wakes up early and dresses in a white gown with a red sash, and wears a crown of twigs with nine lit candles. She then wakes up each family member, and they eat breakfast together in a room lit with candles.
In Mexico, a fiesta is held in which children are blindfolded, spun around, and given three chances to break open a piñata filled with nuts, fruit and candy.
In Greece, sweet bread is made into different shapes, and an ornament is placed inside that represents the families’ profession.
In France, the tradition of the Yule log dates back to the 12th century. Men would carry a large freshly cut wood log into the house and would burn it all throughout the Christmas season. Today, the log is usually much smaller and used as a decoration on the table, or a cake is made to resemble a Yule log.
In India, mango or banana trees are decorated instead of traditional Christmas trees, and mango leaves are used to decorate the house.
In Zimbabwe, Christmas Day usually starts with a church service, and is followed by a series of parties. Everyone travels from house to house, visiting family and friends for the rest of the day.
In Costa Rica, people decorate their houses with tropical flowers.
In the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated for five months! The Christmas season begins in September and doesn’t end until the following January.
In Germany, instead of stockings, children leave their shoes out for presents to be stuffed inside.
In Ukraine, the Sviata Vechera, or Holy Supper, begins only after the children see the first star in the eastern sky. This is symbolic of the journey of the Three Wise Men.
No matter what country you live in or what traditions you practice, the true reason for celebrating is always the same. Jesus Christ came to earth, and we rejoice together with those all around the world in the remembrance of our Savior’s birth.
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’’’ Luke 2:10-11 ESV
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