Christmas Traditions around the World
Christmas is celebrated in many countries across the globe but not always in the same way. In England, Christmas dinners, mulled wine, crackers, trees wrapped in tinsel and Christmas carols are just some of the festive traditions but not all countries celebrate it in this way! Here at Shoetique, we thought it would be fun to take a trip around the world and see how Christmas is celebrated elsewhere – it may even inspire you to spend the 25th December somewhere else next year!
Australia celebrates Christmas in their summer you can forget about a winter wonderland. Instead, expect barbeques outside covered with fresh sea food usually bought on the day of Christmas Eve. They say that when Santa reaches Australia, he gives the Reindeer a rest and uses ‘6 white boomers’ instead (kangaroos). Boxing Day is usually spent on the beach with family and friends and a famous yacht race from Sydney to Hobart in Tasmania is held.
Christmas is also known as ‘Yule’ in Iceland and the festivities usually start on the 23rd December – trees are usually decorated on this day and the shops stay open until midnight for last minute gift buying. After dinner on Christmas Eve, the children of Iceland open their gifts. Christmas day is usually a day spent with extended family and a dinner of roast lamb is traditionally served along with Laufabrauð which is made of thin sheets of dough cut into delicate patterns and fried – each family usually have their own pattern for the dough. New Year’s Eve is one of the most important days in Iceland and there are several magic traditions that are meant to happen – cows can talk, seals take on human form, the dead rise from their graves and the Elves move house!
Christmas trees are becoming increasingly popular in Greece but they aren’t traditional. Instead, most houses have a shallow wooden bowl with a piece of wire suspended across the rim. A sprig of basil wrapped around a wooden cross is then attached on to the wire and once a day someone in the home will dip the cross in holy water and sprinkle in each room of the house – this is said to keep bad spirits away. The bad spirits supposedly make the milk go off and put out fires! Every year a sailing ship is put up in the city of Thessaloniki which is an old tradition that comes from welcoming home the sailors. The main Christmas meal is often lamb or pork with a spinach and cheese pie along with vegetables.
Whilst Saint Nicholas may bring children gifts and toys, ancient folklore in Austria also tells of Krampus, a frightening beast like creature who looks for naughty children and punishes them in horrible ways. Keeping with the traditions, every year men dress up as these terrifying creatures and chase children around during a parade. Every town has a Christmas tree and the festivities really begin on Christmas Eve once the tree is lit up for the first time and people sing carols around it. The main meal is usually served as fried carp and desert consists of chocolate and apricot cake or cookies.
Traditionally the people of Croatia make an Advent Wreath which consists of straw or evergreen twigs and four candles, they symbolise different parts of history and life. The 1st candle is creation + hope, the 2nd is embodiment + peace, 3rd candle stands for redemption + joy and the 4th candle symbolises ending + love. The 5th candle is then placed in the centre on Christmas day! Traditionally Christmas Trees are decorated with ornaments in the shape of fruit and the main meal on Christmas day usually consists of turkey, goose or duck and the celebrations end on the 6th January!
That is just a tiny taste of what Christmas is like across the globe! Do you have any traditions that you do as a family around Christmas time? We’d love to hear from you. Post your traditions on our Facebook or Twitter page now!