There are 195 countries in the world. Each country has its own unique way of celebrating the holidays. While it’s impossible to list them all, here are five examples.
In England, people decorate their houses with holly, ivy, evergreens, and mistletoe. Mistletoe holds a special meaning, as it signifies that two people standing beneath it must kiss. Caroling, a popular tradition in the United States, is also common in England. On Christmas Eve, stockings are hung, presents are wrapped, and cookies are baked. Families gather around the tree to sing carols. Afterward, everyone writes a letter to Santa Claus and tosses it into the fire, so it goes up the chimney. Children go to bed, and while they sleep, Santa Claus arrives in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. He fills the stockings with candies and small toys. On Christmas day, a midday feast is enjoyed, and everyone receives a Christmas cracker—a paper tube that explodes when the ends are pulled. Inside, there are paper hats, trinkets, and a riddle. Later, a message from the queen is traditionally heard on TV, followed by a tea-time serving of a beautifully decorated Christmas cake. Boxing Day, on December 26th, is also celebrated in England.
In Germany, Christmas is known as Weihnachten. Trees are decorated on December 24th, and it’s rare to have an artificial tree. Most Germans prefer real trees adorned with wooden ornaments and candles. The trees stay up until January 6th, the day of the Three Wise Men. On Christmas Eve, 29% of Germans attend Christmette, a church service. Presents are placed under the tree and opened in the evening. Before that, families gather around the tree to wish each other a merry Christmas and sing traditional German songs, although this tradition is fading. Only 14% of families still sing carols.
In Argentina, decorations for the tree include red, white, and green ornaments and flowers, symbolizing Christmas colors. Cotton balls are placed in the tree to resemble snow. On Christmas Eve, Argentinians attend church and engage in community gatherings. Fireworks are also set off on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is a more relaxed time spent with family, without attending church. The holiday season in Argentina includes Three Kings Day, starting on New Year’s Day and ending on January 6th.
In Venezuela, the streets are blocked on Christmas for Midnight Mass, and people rollerblade until 8 am. Houses are painted a month in advance, and new clothes are bought for Christmas and Christmas Eve. Wearing yellow on Christmas Eve is believed to bring luck for the following year. December 21st is the peak of the Christmas season, when Baby Jesus and Santa buy gifts. Similar to Argentina, Venezuela also celebrates the three kings. On Christmas day, some people go to Jesus and give him a kiss.
In Australia, Christmas caroling is a beloved tradition, and some host “Carols by the Candlelight.” Despite it being summer in Australia, they still enjoy Christmas lights and hold street parties. As the sun sets, Australians gather outside, drink with their neighbors, and celebrate. On Christmas day, it’s common for people to go to the beach and spend the day in their bathing suits. Some surfers even dress up as Santa Claus for a Boxing Day surf. In Australia, Santa Claus is referred to as Father Christmas, and barbecues are popular on Christmas day.
These are just five examples of how Christmas is celebrated differently around the world. While there are countless more traditions, I hope you enjoyed learning about these diverse customs.
- Christmas Traditions in England | HowStuffWorks
- Christmas in Germany [Its Traditions and Celebrations] (simplegermany.com)
- Christmas Traditions in Argentina: How Xmas is Celebrated – Jacobs Christmas
- Venezuelan Christmas Traditions: From Gifts to Music | LoveToKnow
- How Do They Celebrate Christmas in Australia? 11+ Fun Facts On Xmas (openforchristmas.com)