Probably the most celebrated holiday in the world
Maybe the most beautiful moment of the year, Christmas is now celebrated in many countries around the world no matter people are Christians or not. We all know that caroling, feasting, and gift-giving along with all the beautiful wishes give Christmas high spirits and create special moments with the dear ones. Even though the dates and the traditions vary, the spirit remains the same everywhere. While most of us celebrate it as a festive season spreading over a week, for some it is a month long festival that starts with the Advent on Sunday next to November 26 and ends on January 6 with the feast of Epiphany.
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Some insights from around the globe
Here is a glimpse over the different ways in which Christmas is celebrated in different countries of the world.
Sweden: ‘GOD JUL!’
It is well known that most people in Scandinavian countries honor St. Lucia (also known as St. Lucy) each year on December 13. Later in Denmark and Finland, the holiday is considered the beginning of the Christmas season. Traditionally, in each family, the oldest daughter wakes up early in the morning and wakes each of her family members, dressed in a long, white gown with a red sash, wearing a crown made of twigs with nine lighted candles. For the rest of the day, she is called “Lussi” or “Lussibruden (Lucy bride).” Then, the family takes breakfast in a room lighted with candles.
Finland: ‘HYVÄÄ JOULUA!’
I believe that only a few of us know that, on Christmas Eve, Finns visit the sauna. Usually, during this period, families gather and listen to the national “Peace of Christmas” radio broadcast. Also, it is a custom to visit the gravesites of departed family members.
Photo by Marina Khrapova on Unsplash
Mexico: ‘FELIZ NAVIDAD!’
First of all, you should know that the universal symbol of the holiday, which is the red and green plant, it is originally from Mexico since 1830.
Maybe you have already heard about pinatas, paper mache sculptures filled with candies and coins. This is also a Christmas tradition in Mexico, children racing to gather as much as they can.
Germany: ‘FROEHLICHE WEIHNACHTEN!’
Decorating evergreen trees had always been a part of the German winter solstice tradition. Maybe it’s worth mentioning that the first “Christmas tree” decorated and named after the Christian holiday appeared in Strasbourg, in Alsace, in the beginning of the 17th century. Only after 1750, Christmas trees began showing up in different parts of Germany. Later, around 1850s, the Christmas tree custom spread to nearly every home in just a few years.
Photo by Shannon Henriksen on Unsplash
France: ‘JOYEUX NOËL!’
In France, Christmas is called Noel, meaning “the good news” and refers to the gospel. In southern part of the country, some people burn a log in their homes from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day. It is believed that, if farmers use part of the log, they will have a rich harvest next year.
Italy: ‘BUON NATALE!’
Italians call Christmas Il Natale, meaning “the birthday.” Usually people gather together with their families and celebrate Christmas with food and joy around the Christmas tree.
Photo by Arun Kuchibhotla on Unsplash
For those who live in the United States, maybe you already know that most Canadian Christmas traditions are very similar to those practiced here. Worth mentioning is the fact that far north of the country, the Eskimos celebrate a winter festival during which they dance and exchange gifts.
And if you are looking for some weird Christmas traditions around the world you should have a look here.
Merry Christmas, everyone!! 🙂
Sources: history.com, unsplash.com