Christmas gets closer and closer each day, and most of us are probably all set in making this another special season. You may have already started (of perhaps finished) shopping and have the tree and decorations laid out; you may already have the menu set up and you have the budget all figured out. What is there left to do as you await Christmas day?
Here’s an idea: why don’t you find out about how other places in the world celebrate this special occasion? Learn about the traditions they have, the food they eat, and the customs they follow? Learning about these things may surprise you, and perhaps give you some last-minute ideas that you can include on your list of things to do this season.
These are some the ways in which different countries around the world celebrate Christmas. We won’t be able to name all the countries of course, but these are some of the most interesting ones that we’d like to share with you—the ones that are not really what you’d call “traditional.”
Austria has a very interesting (not to mention creative) way of celebrating Christmas, which no doubt sheds a new light to the “naught or nice” expression. They do have their own version of Santa Claus, but they also have his evil counterpart, who goes by the name of Krampus, who carries sacks not with presents, but as tools to kidnap children. This will perhaps give children more motivation to work harder in being good.
Unlike most countries, Ethiopia celebrates Chirtsmas not on December, but in January. They refer to Christ’s birth as Ganna, and celebrate it on the 7th of January. Twelve days after the celebration (19th of January), they celebrate the Timkat, which commemorates Christ’s baptism. The thing that makes this nation’s Christmas traditions unique is that they do not focus on gift-giving. To them, the ceremonies and the customs are the most important part of this holiday celebration.
Mexico is wonderful at this time of the year, especially when you’d like a nice, warm celebration. Aside from the beautiful ornaments such as pinatas and farolitos (lanterns) hung in homes and in the streets, the thing that definitely drives visitors here is the food. One of the many delicious staples are the different kinds of scrumptious tamales, which is chicken/meat/veggies/chilies wrapped in corn dough.
Despite having the traditional gift-giving, preparation of Christmas meals for dinner, and setting up decorations, Finnish families has a unique way of celebrating the season—they visit their departed loved ones. Many Finnish people visit the cemeteries at this time of the year, to remember the ones that have passed on. The light candles and stay in the cemeteries, which are always illuminated at this time of the year.
Going to mass during Christmas day is a custom that many countries practice. However, going to mass on roller skates is really not something that you’d see everyday. In Venezuela‘s capital of Caracas, people give their shoes some rest and wear roller skates on their way to mass. Definitely a great way to burn some of the excess holiday weight!
Though there are different kinds of celebration, there is one common idea that binds all these countries together: celebration. These interesting ceremonies, ideas, treats, and traditions are bound by a kind of merriment that millions of people eagerly wait for every single year. Do you know of any unique form of Christmas celebrations that are not included in this article? Share them with us—running out of fun and interesting ideas is simply not an option!