The different traditions of Christmas

Christmas is celebrated by billions of people all over the world, most commonly on the 25th of December, commemorating the birth the Jesus Christ. It is a time of cheer, wonder, joy and happiness. Families and friends get together to share love and laughter and of course, gifts. Although Christmas is a festival celebrated throughout the globe, the traditions and festivities related to it are varied and unique. Many a countries have their own customs and ways of celebration shaped by their respective cultures, histories and legends.

With Christmas just a day away, here’s a look at the different traditions observed for Christmas in various countries all over the world –

  • India – To start with our very own country, India is a widely diversified and populous place where even though only 2.3% of the population are Christians, it amounts to almost 25 million people. Due to the lack of fir or pine trees in the subcontinent, the festival is often celebrated with banana or mango trees.
  • Australia –Being south of the equator, Australia celebrates Christmas in the summer. Not surprisingly thus BBQs are part of the celebration and kangaroos replace reindeers in pulling Santa’s carriage.
  • Russia –Christmas in Russia is celebrated on the 7th of January unlike most of the world where it’s on 25th This is because the Orthodox Church follows the old Julian calendar for religious occasions. Many people also fast for 39 days before breaking it on the Christmas eve with a 12- course meal dedicated to the 12 apostles.
  • Ireland –Instead of the common practice of putting out milk and cookies for Santa Claus, the Irish put out mince pies and bottles of Guinness or Irish whiskey. This practice has gone over to many parts of UK as well.
  • Czech Republic –Single women in this country practice a very interesting ritual on Christmas day. They turn their backs towards the door and throw a shoe over the shoulder. If the shoe lands with its heel pointing at the door, it signifies that she would remain single for the coming year; if the front of the shoe points towards the door, that means she should get on to wedding preparations as she would get married the following year.
  • Venezuela – In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, on the day of Christmas the roads are closed to cars so that the people can roller skate their way to morning mass.
  • Norway –Christmas eve is believed to be the time when witches and evil spirits emerge to ride the sky on brooms. Therefore the Norwegians hide their brooms and other cleaning equipment and the men fire theirs hotguns into the sky to scare the witches away.
  • Japan –All over the world traditional Christmas dinner includes turkey, pies, cranberry sauce etc. But in Japan, traditional Christmas dinner is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). In fact, the demand is so high that people need to make previous reservations at KFC outlets for that evening.
  • Ukraine – Christmas trees are usually decorated with stars and bells and gifts, but not so in Ukraine. There people cover their trees with fake spider webs. Legend has it that once a widow had no money to buy decorations for her Christmas tree, so at night the spiders in her home weaved webs over the tree to cover it. The next year the widow and her children were rid of all their miseries and money problems. So the spider webs signify wealth, good luck and prosperity.

No matter how Christmas is celebrated in your country, be it religious or not, it is above all a time to be merry and celebrate love and togetherness with family and friends with joy, laughter and gifts. Cheers!

Mekhla Gan

About Mekhla Gan

"The whole world opened to me when I learned to read" and I have been hooked to it ever since. Suspending my own life, cocooning in someone else's imagination and in the process, living a thousand lives is for me the most exhilarating way of experiencing life. Books are what I turn to in my happy and not so happy times for it is in them that I find the words for what I have known all along..


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