How Christmas is Celebrated Around the World in Different Countries
Here in Canada (and North America in general), Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus. To mimic the three wise men who brought gifts to the newborn king, over 2000 years later we have continued this tradition and exchanged gifts with our loved ones at Christmas time.
But how do other nations across the globe celebrate Christmas? What are their traditions like? Let’s have a look at a few.
The Italians have a Christmas tradition of giving presents on a broomstick. This stems from the good witch named ‘La Befana’ who bring gifts to children on January 6th each year using a broomstick instead of a Santa’s sleigh. Those who are on the ‘naughty list’ would receive a lump of coal instead.
We here in Canada know who Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is, but have you ever hear of ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Kangaroo’? This is who the Australians know, which makes sense considering this animal is in abundance Down Under. The fact that Christmas falls in summer in Australia means that Father Christmas trades in his reindeer for ‘6 white boomers’ – or kangaroos. It’s also tradition to barbecue on the beach on Christmas Day.
It may sound more like Halloween than Christmas, but the Ukrainians hang spider webs on trees at Christmas. Legend has it that a magic spider once visited a poor family during Christmas one year, and turned the webs throughout their home into gold and silver.
The Germans want to make sure that children are well-behaved all throughout the year. And one way to effectively do this is by essentially scaring the kids into obedience. As part of Christmas celebrations in Germany, St. Nikolaus is accompanied by a scary devil-like individual who comes as a warning to kids not to be bad. A similar character exists in France, called ‘La Pere Fouettard’.
We’ve got the tradition of setting up the Nativity Scene here in North America, but this setting is a little different in Spain. In the region of Catalonia, traditional Nativity scene gets an addition of a character named the ‘Caganer’. Strangely enough, this figure is squatting (as if going to the bathroom). Often these characters are shepherds, but sometimes they can even be soccer players or politicians.
While we call him “Santa Claus” here in North America, in The Netherlands, he’s called ‘Sinterklaas’. And he doesn’t live at the North Pole, either. Instead, he arrives from Spain by steamboat along with his trusty helper named ‘Black Peter’ rather than an elf.
So there you have it. Other countries in the world certainly have very different ways to celebrate Christmases. However way it’s celebrated, it’s a wonderful time to exchange Christmas gifts, and spend quality time with family and loved ones.