Christmas is probably the most celebrated holiday in the world. Our Christmas of today is a result of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the world. People go crazy for Christmas traditions. From the decorations to the gifts, there the local celebrations with friends and family. In fact, it’s the one time of year that we always travel.
Many don’t know much about the various Christmas traditions around the world. The holiday is celebrated differently across the globe. In America people, especially Christians, go to church to celebrate Christmas. There are lots of activities like caroling, narratives about the birth of Jesus Christ, and other events. Americans make put up plenty of decorations like Christmas trees and pretty flashing lights on the house. They also exchange gifts and gift cards.
In so many other parts of the world, the holiday is celebrated quite differently. Here are some places around the world and how the Christmas holiday is celebrated:
Christmas Celebration in The United Kingdom
The Christmas traditions in the UK are quite similar to that of America. Most families put up Christmas trees and exchange gifts in their house. Decorating is usually a family thing with everybody helping out. Christmas trees were first made popular in the UK by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.
The most famous Christmas lights in the UK are in Oxford Street in London. Every year they get bigger and better. Thousands of people go to watch the big ‘switch on’ around the beginning of November. Christmas traditions are fun in the UK and they bring families together. Kids believe that Santa Claus leaves presents by their beds in Christmas Eve in stockings. Children sometimes leave out mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas to eat and drink when he visits them. Kids also write letters to Santa listing their requests for the holiday. There so many traditions that started in the UK that are very common around the world today including Boxing Day which is regarded as a holiday in many countries around the world.
Christmas Celebration in Germany
A very important part of Christmas celebration in Germany is advent. Different types of advent calendars are hung in German homes. Similar to many other countries, the Christmas tree is a key part of the Christmas holiday in Germany. In most families, the Christmas tree is secretly decorated by the mother to surprise the children. Christmas is a family affair during holidays in Germany. Families come together, sing songs, and read the Bible. The Germans also don’t joke around with Christmas decorations. They are very well known for their big Christmas markets and their popular glass ornamental decorations.
In Germany, ‘Christ kind’ which translates to ‘Christ child,’ is not thought of as little Christ or baby Jesus. Instead, it is regarded as a young child with the qualities similar to that of Christ. Kids also hope for presents from Santa who is referred to as ‘Nikolaus.’ He brings sweets and chocolates for kids on the 6th of December (St. Nicholas’s day). Another popular Christmas tradition in Germany is the star singers who go from house to house singing and raising money for charity. They are usually kids dressed up as the wise men.
Christmas Celebration in Japan
Christmas is widely celebrated in Japan at least for the past few decades. Although it’s not regarded as a religious holiday because there are so many non-Christians. Christmas holiday in Japan is seen more like a time to spread love and happiness and less as a religious affair. The Japanese have since adopted the tradition of sending and exchanging gifts from the USA. The main celebration happens the night before Christmas. It’s thought of as a romantic day. Couples get to spend time together and exchange gifts. It’s just like another valentine’s day in Japan.
Christmas celebration in Japan is the busiest time of the year for restaurants and eateries. Table reservations and bookings can be quite difficult. The traditional Christmas Japanese food is Christmas cake, which is usually a sponge cake decorated with strawberries and whipped cream.
Christmas day (25th December) in Japan is not a national holiday. In fact, most businesses treat it as a normal working day. Although schools don’t open, the break starts on the 23rd of December which is the Emperor’s birthday and also there’s a New Year school break.
Christmas Celebration in South Africa
It’s bright and shiny in South Africa during the Christmas holiday. There is lots of sun and beautiful blossoming flowers.
Schools close for the Christmas holidays and some people like to go camping. There are many activities and events like caroling on Christmas Eve. Carols by candlelight services are popular on Christmas Eve and many people go to a Christmas morning church s,ervice.
The Christmas meal is either turkey (or duck), roast beef, mince pies, or suckling pig with yellow rice & raisins and vegetables, followed by Christmas pudding or a traditional South African desert called Malva pudding (sometimes also called Lekker Pudding). HINT >> get the recipe! People like to pull Christmas Crackers to celebrate the holiday. The meal is often eaten outside in the summer sun! If it’s really hot they might even have a barbecue.
South Africa has several other traditions adopted from the UK like the Christmas trees and gifting of sweets or chocolates by Santa, whom they refer to in their local dialect as Sinterklaas & Kersvader. There’s a national holiday on boxing day just like in the UK.
Christmas Celebration in Pakistan
The Christmas day in Pakistan is a public holiday in memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Just like in Japan and India, Christians make up a very small part of the population. As Pakistan has a population of 162 million people, there are over 5million Christians.
At Christian festivals, like Christmas and Easter, a big procession takes place in Lahore from St. Anthony’s Church to the Cathedral. It takes hours to reach the Cathedral for the services. Services are celebrated with lots of enthusiasm! Before and during Advent, spiritual seminars take place to help people to prepare for Christmas.
In the Christian areas, houses are beautified and have a star on the roof. The streets are decorated and lit. A Christmas tree is an important decoration. Christians sometimes exchange Christmas gifts.
On Christmas Eve, churches are packed for the midnight or vigil-mass services. The choirs sing very special hymns. After the vigil-mass, in some places, there are fireworks. People dance and enjoy the special night.
In Pakistan, Santa Claus is known as ‘Christmas Baba’.