As Christmas is upon us, many of us are going through the routine of organizing our special days. With families coming together, many of us are thinking about presents, food, entertainment, and just spending some time off work with the people we love.
However, while you may have your own traditions and routines that have developed over the years, it’s worth remembering that Christmas traditions are different all over the world, and there are plenty of different ways that this momentous occasion is celebrated.
We’re going to explore eleven different ways Christmas is celebrated in different cultures around the world; perhaps educating you, but maybe even inspiring you.
#1 – Russia
Russia has, perhaps, one of the most diverse Christmas traditions. On both the 25th December and 7th January, families will gather around the table to enjoy 12 different and unique dishes to represent the 12 apostles of Christ. There are lots of dishes available, mainly containing bread.
#2 – Brazil
Brazilian festivities take citizens back to their Portuguese roots as they celebrate this time of year with traditional plates of rice, fruits, nuts and meats like Turkey or Codfish. Decorations are usually put up throughout November, and the gift-sharing activity of Secret Santa is extremely popular.
#3 – Philippines
If there’s one country that loves to celebrate Christmas, it’s the Philippines. The inhabitants are renowned for putting up their decorations for this time of year as early as September, with much of the décor being handmade from natural materials.
#4 – Japan
The Japanese style of Christmas is a little different to what you may expect, and predominantly resembles Valentine’s Day in the western world, and indeed, many people treat it as such. But it doesn’t stop there.
The traditional meal of Christmas in Japan is actually a KFC bucket of chicken. While this may sound unbelievable, if you’re in Japan and want some on Christmas, you’ll need to make a reservation to ensure you get some!
#5 – Iceland
While Iceland’s Christmas traditions are pretty typical across the board, the legends they have are quite unique. One legend describes a giant cat that roams the landscape during the festive time of year, and the only way to protect yourself is to get new clothes!
#6 – Canada
“While most of Canada enjoys a traditional Western style of Christmas, Eskimos in the northern territories host huge parties with everybody involved where you’ll find lots of gifts exchanging and dancing!” shares Ben Harper, a writer from WriteMYX and Brit Student.
#7 – India
Due to the vast number of religions in India, only the Christians of the country will really celebrate Christmas. Those that do will typically decorate banana and mango trees, but activities like buying and sharing gifts aren’t typically something that’s practised.
#8 – England
There’s no denying that the British Christmas is much like the American traditions, but there are some noticeable differences worth thinking about. For example, children will position their stockings at the end of their beds for Santa to fill. There’s also Boxing Day on the 26th December, which is a popular Black-Friday-like holiday for shopping.
#9 – Australia
It’s strange for the Western world to imagine an Australian Christmas because this time of year falls into the middle of summer. This means full beaches, sunshine and a ton of seafood dishes like lobsters and prawns on a barbeque!
#10 – Finland
“The First Advent season of the Finland Christmas season starts on the first Sunday of December and children across the country use the traditional advent calendars. However, even when the special day has come and gone, many of the celebrations will last up to two weeks afterwards!” explains Mary Maddison, a travel blogger for Australia 2 Write and 1Day2Write.
#11 – Ukraine
If you’re not a fan of spiders, you should probably avoid Ukraine during the Christmas season. This is mainly because Ukrainians will decorate using artificial spiderwebs covered with dew, so it sparkles in the light!
Guest feature by Ellen Lawton
Working as a travel and lifestyle blogger at Academic Brits and Origin Writings, Ellen Lawton works hard to help individuals step outside of their comfort zone when it comes to exploring the world and all the wonders that it has to offer!