All around the world, Christmas is honored with local traditions and celebrations. Every country has their own unique history of festivities that focus on many different aspects of the nativity story.
But regardless of our celebrations, we all share in the wonderful magic and joy of the Christmas season. Here are a few holiday traditions we’ve gathered from around the world:
In Australia, the holiday comes in the middle of summer and it’s not unusual for some parts of Australia to hit 100 degrees Farenheit on Christmas day. The most popular event of the Christmas season is called Carols by Candlelight. People come together at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols outside.
Unlike Australia, it is cold, wet, and foggy in England at Christmastime. Children write a letter to Father Christmas with their wishes and toss their letter into the fire so their wishes can go up the chimney. After the children fall asleep on Christmas Eve, Father Christmas comes to visit.
Ukrainians prepare for Christmas with a traditional twelve-course meal. A family’s youngest child watches through the window for the evening star to appear, a signal that the feast can begin.
Dutch children eagerly await the arrival of Sinterklaas on St. Nicholas Day on December 6. Sinterklaas is a kindly bishop. He wears red robes and a tall, pointed mitre on his head. Sinterklaas travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam’s harbor every winter. He brings his white horse and a huge sack full of gifts for the children. Families celebrate St. Nicholas Eve at home with lots of good food, hot chocolate, and a letterbanket, a “letter cake” made in the shape of the first letter of the family’s last name.
In Mexico, they decorate their homes with lilies and evergreens during the Christmas season. Family members cut intricate designs in brown paper bags to make lanterns, or farolitos. They place a candle inside and then set the farolitos along sidewalks, on windowsills, and on rooftops and outdoor walls to illuminate the community with the spirit of Christmas.