Christmas traditions around the world are both different, but also contain something in common. Belief in goodness, beliefs about he alth and prosperity, delicious holiday meals, cozy gatherings with loved ones at Christmas are universal and every Christian family cares about them.
However, each country has its own characteristics and people celebrate Christmas in their own way. Check out the different Christmas traditions around the world.
In Italy Christmas preparations also start 4 weeks before Christmas. Christmas markets, fireworks, festive lights and music can be heard from all the squares. Families stroll through the Christmas markets, where you can find them lighting candles and praying in front of decorative nativity scenes.
Christmas in Australia is celebrated on December 25, just like here. The difference is that for the Australians then it is the height of the children's summer vacation. So, the warm season allows the festivities to be held outdoors without people feeling cold.
The most popular event that happens during the Christmas holidays is called "candle carols". People come together at night in the square or around the cathedral with candles in their hands and sing carols. The stars shine above their heads. This wonderful view makes the unique Christmas concert unforgettable.
In Germany, they are preparing with the Christmas mood as early as December. Four weeks before Christmas, Germans start making Christmas wreaths to hang on their front doors.
Wreaths of pine branches are also placed inside homes. 4 candles are placed on each wreath. Each Sunday leading up to Christmas, one candle is lit until Holy Night.
We all love the German Christmas stollen that appears every year in stores. Germans also prepare traditional breads, candied fruits, biscuits. Every home has a delightful smell of baked goods.
In France, children believe that gifts are brought by Pere Noel. Therefore, before sleep, they put their shoes in front of the fireplace so that their Santa Claus can fill them with gifts. It is also believed that Pere Noel hangs toys, fruits and nuts on the Christmas tree.
On Christmas Eve, Finnish families light candles and lanterns and pay respect to their deceased relatives by visiting cemeteries. Even those whose relatives are not buried nearby visit the cemeteries and leave a candle in honor of their loved ones buried elsewhere.
The Chinese are also for the most part not Christians. They make Christmas decorations during the winter season, but mainly in Beijing. Christians and those who just like Christmas traditions decorate their homes with Christmas trees, paper lanterns in typical Chinese style and celebrate with family and friends.
In Hong Kong they have their own version of Santa Claus, who in Catholic countries is called Santa Claus - they call him Lan Khoong or Dun Che Lao Ren. Like the western Santa Claus, the eastern one brings gifts to small children. Church services for Christmas are held in English and Chinese. Children exchange cards, usually with the Holy Family, decorated with poinsettias, the northern lights and Chinese Christmas lanterns.
Christmas in India
India has quite a secular population. However, Christians are a minority. Unlike China and Thailand, India celebrates Christmas because of the colonization of Europeans, which left a lasting mark to this day. Thus, Christmas is celebrated simultaneously by Christians and non-Christians. Christmas decorations can be seen in malls, shops, public places. Nativity plays are performed in schools. Santa Claus or Christmas Baba (Christmas Saint) in Hindi.
Indian Christians and worshipers of the holiday sit down to a festive table on Christmas Eve amidst beautiful poinsettias and decorations. They light candles, eat ritual meals and share the wonderful Christmas atmosphere by exchanging gifts.
Christmas celebrations in Spain start on December 13th. Then it is the day of the world Lucia, patroness of light.
On the morning of that day, the eldest daughter in the family puts on a long white dress before sunrise to honor the "Queen of Light". A wreath of green leaves is placed on the head and the rest of the family sing festive songs. The whole family decorates the Christmas tree 1-2 days before Christmas.
Christmas in Japan
The commercial influence of the West has also pushed many Christian traditions into Japan, but the Japanese don't mind. They willingly enjoy Christmas customs and decorations. However, for them the New Year is the bigger holiday. It is officially a holy day.
Christmas markets in Mexico are called "puestos" (pronounced "puestos"). Traditionally, many things can be bought in them - gifts, decorations and all kinds of delicacies. Mexicans decorate their homes with paper lanterns cut into various shapes, in which candles are placed. They call them "farolitos". These lanterns can be found everywhere on sidewalks, squares, on the windows of homes. The festive atmosphere created by these lanterns is unique.