You know it’s the season when you get the scents of green Christmas trees, aromatic candles, hot cookies, and egg nogs throughout December. It’s no secret that we’re all infatuated with Christmas traditions, from decorating our homes to engaging in holiday celebrations. In fact, these customs are a fun, fundamental part of the festivities. Just like our local Christmas traditions, Christmas traditions from around the world are well cherished as well. However, Christmas 2020 might be slightly different from what we know. The pandemic has shaped our lives in many different aspects. New habits will alter the way we celebrate over the festive season, and Christmas traditions from around the world will be celebrated differently.
How Christmas traditions from around are the world celebrated
Each country and region around the world celebrate Christmas in their own unique way. With different customs, traditions, and trends that might seem a bit unusual to our likes! Either way, Christmas is a beautiful time to reflect local culture and traditions and spread that festive joy no matter what corner of the globe you’re from. So, grab that hot chocolate and keep reading my favourite Christmas traditions from around the world that might surprise you!
Christmas Traditions in the United Kingdom - Christmas crackers
Let’s begin at home. Here in the UK, the tradition of Christmas crackers is kind of a big deal. The Christmas cracker is a candy-shaped cardboard tube with a small token, and a paper crown. The cracker, tugged by two people at either end, and the cracker snaps into two pieces. Creating crack made by a tiny explosive charge inside the cracker. So, this Christmas, don’t forget to get some Christmas crackers and spread some joy!
Christmas Traditions in Sweden - The Yule Goat
The Yule Goat has been a Swedish Christmas symbol dating back to ancient pagan festivals. During the Christmas season, people would dress up as goats and go carolling from house to house, known as ‘Julebukking’. I’m sure you wouldn’t want a bunch of carollers dressed up as goats knocking at your doors to entertain you! Now, they scrapped that idea and made a goat out of straw as an ornament that guards the house and Christmas Tree!
Christmas Traditions in Iceland - 13 days of Christmas
Like we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, Iceland celebrates 13 days of Christmas. The children of Iceland place their shoes on the window seal before they go to bed. All the little ones are visited by the 13 mischievous Yule Lads on the last night before Christmas. On Christmas morning, they’ll either receive candy if they’re good or if they have been bad, they’ll receive shoes filled with rotten potatoes. What a horrid thing to wake up to!
Christmas Traditions in New Zealand - The Pohutukawa
Christmas trees are not all about shiny ornaments and glistening lights, in New Zealand it’s quite the opposite. The Kiwi Christmas tree is the ‘Pohutukawa’, a plant species that grows along the coasts and has blooms of bright-red colour flowers. Besides that, wouldn’t you like to spend Christmas in the summer? Well, in New Zealand summer comes during December, and Christmas celebrations traditions involve families and friends, spending time of the beach, or camping. They also gather around a BBQ grill for a meal of freshly caught seafood, meat, and vegetables that grows during this season.
Christmas Traditions in Barbados - Jug Jug, Rum cake and Ham
Just like any part of the world, food is an essential part of any celebration. Christmas in Barbados is no different. A Christmas table in Barbados won’t be complete without a baked ham garnished with glazed pineapple, a rum cake, and a Christmas must-have Jug Jug, a dish combining pigeon peas, guinea corn flour, herbs, and salt meat. Now, that sounds like a tropical feast, doesn’t it?
Christmas Traditions in Japan - KFC for Christmas: Finger-lickin' good!
Christmas may not be a national holiday in Japan, but the people find a delicious way to celebrate it. Families from all over the region head out for a special Christmas Eve meal to their local KFC. The tradition began in 1974 after a successful marketing campaign called “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!”(Kentucky for Christmas!). Like the beginning of all grate traditions, this spawned a national tradition that still thrives to this day. However, if someone wants to get in some finger-lickin’ good action, they’ll have to place orders months in advance!
Christmas Traditions in The Netherlands - St. Nicholas' Day
All of us wait in anticipation for Christmas day, but the children in the Netherlands look forward to the 5th of December. That’s when Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) brings them their gifts. They place a shoe by the chimney and wake up to find treats of all sorts. Sinterklaas, leads a vibrant procession through the town, in his red robes as the church bells ring in celebration.
Christmas Traditions in Mexico - Posada processions
Across Mexico, they celebrate a yuletide celebration with the Las Posadas festival. This happens between December for nine nights in honour of Mary’s pregnancy. They commemorate the long journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of lodging. During Las Posadas, nativity costumes along with adults and musicians in a procession.
Christmas Traditions in South Africa - Fried Caterpillars
When it comes to food traditions in South Africa, fried caterpillars on Christmas is a must-have! And it may sound like one of the bizarre Christmas traditions from around the world. These caterpillars are pretty unique. They believe that consuming fried Christmas caterpillar gives extra luck in the coming year. Will you give this a try if you want some of that extra luck? (which we all need desperately)
Christmas Traditions in Austria - Bad Santa: Krampus
We are well familiar with Santa Clause, Father Christmas, or jolly old Saint Nick, but in Austria, there is a hideous, devilish creature called ‘Krampus’, the evil Santa! Krampus joins the festivities on the 6th of December. Children writes down a list of their good and bad deeds and handed out during the Krampus parade. Come Christmas morning, good kids are rewarded with treats while bad kids worry what Krampus might bring them.
Christmas 2020, is going to be different than the other years. So, why not add some new Christmas traditions from around the world? Or better yet why not start planning your next Christmas holidays now? Call or email us at Travel Center UK, and we’ll help you find the cheapest flight deals with flexible payment methods!