December 21, 2020 By: Deisy Patiño

Wonderful Christmas traditions from around the World

Christmas traditions are different in every country in the World! Christmas is the Christian religious holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. On this day, his message of love, peace and redemption is commemorated.

Christmas is one of the oldest and most important traditions in the World and has been celebrated for approximately two thousand years. For Christians, this date represents the resurgence of hope and salvation.

Nowadays it also became a family holiday, celebrated by Christians and non-Christians. It is a time where family and friends visit, come together and spend quality time together! With delicious food, great music and beautiful lights and candles these occasions are celebrated.

Here’s the interesting part…

Many countries around the World have adapted the traditional Christmas celebration according to their particular beliefs, traditions, food preferences and customs. For example, for those of us in Australia, as we are in the southern hemisphere it is not possible to have a white Christmas surrounded by snow.

Australian Summer Christmas with seafood

Australia is a small island continent surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches. As it is summer at Christmas time, many Australians celebrate Christmas lunch on Christmas Day outdoors. Large family gatherings are common with a huge selection of delicious food including a barbecue complete with fresh Australian seafood!

Some Australians prefer to have a traditional roast meal of chicken or turkey. Many Australians have a swimming pool so it is popular to celebrate Christmas at a family home around the pool. If you are lucky enough, some people in Australians celebrate Christmas with family at their beach house!

Yes, those of us in Australia are very lucky to have sunny weather at this time of the year. Even if you are away from your family, at least you will be surrounded by the warm Christmas spirit!

Love feast Bangladesh Christmas traditions

Christmas in Bangladesh is also known as ‘Borodin’ or ‘Bara din’, which means ‘the great day’ in Bengali. In Bangladesh churches, women traditionally sit on one side of the church and men on the other.

However, it is common for all attendees to dine together in church, especially in some rural areas. This is called ‘Preeti-bhoj’ or ‘Prem-bhoj’ which means ‘feast of love’.

Dinner often includes dishes such as chicken and vegetable curries served with rice and vegetables. ‘Pitha’ is another special Christmas food.

Cyprus tree as a Christmas tree Kenya

In Kenya, Christmas is a time when families try their best to come together. People travel back to their home towns and villages from the larger cities and celebrate Christmas with members of their family.

Houses and churches are decorated with ribbons, coloured balloons, paper decorations, flowers and green leaves. Because traditional pine trees are not common in Kenya, some people will use a Cyprus tree as a Christmas tree. In large cities and towns, stores can often have artificial snow outside to bring out the Christmas spirit!

Popular Christmas meals include a barbecue of goat, sheep, chicken, or beef, with rice and chapati flatbread. Different tribes also have special dishes that they prepare according to their local traditions. ‘nyama choma’ is the name of the great Christmas meal.

Dancing all night long Ghana

Drums and dancing in Ghana! It is not a surprise… Christmas Eve night is the time when the celebrations really begin with Church services including drums and dancing. Children are often dressed, With Nativity characters or other costumes,

Choirs sing joyous Christmas carols and music and people come out in front of the priests to dance. Sometimes these services and dances last all night long. Most of the songs are sung in the languages ​​that people understand best which makes them feel that God speaks their language!

Ghana is the second-largest cocoa producer in the world. Chocolate is therefore also an important part of the Christmas celebration. December is also the beginning of the cocoa harvest (the bean that produces chocolate).

Colourful ribbons Fiji Christmas traditions

In traditional village celebrations, about two weeks before Christmas Day everyone gathers at the community’s largest house and celebrates for two weeks until New Years Day. 

A special dish called Pal Palamiami is also cooked at Christmas in Fiji. It is prepared by adding spices to lamb and wrapping it in Dalo leaves before cooking in coconut cream. Yum yum!

Fiji is one of the happiest countries in the world. At Christmas, people sing and perform traditional ‘Make’ fan (women) and spear (men) dances.  Colourful ribbons decorate trees.

Giant Lantern Festival the Philippines

Most Filipinos are Christians and Philippinos like to celebrate Christmas for as long as possible! Family, friends and even neighbours come to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Christmas Eve is an open house celebration!

Most households would have various dishes arranged and would normally include pork, ham, fruits, cakes, (bibingka and fucking bumbong traditional Christmas foods) and many different types of drinks.

It gets better…

The most popular decoration in the Philippines the ‘parol’ is a bamboo pole or frame with a lighted star lantern on it. It represents the star that guided the Three Wise Men.

The famous Giant Lantern Festival is an annual festival held in mid-December. The festival also features a competition for the best giant parol lantern!

Throwing confetti in Vietnam

In Vietnam, Christmas Eve is usually more important than Christmas Day. In Ho Chi Minh City the streets are full of people on Christmas Eve where in the evening in the city centre roads are closed off to cars. People celebrate by throwing confetti, taking pictures and enjoying the Christmas decorations.

In Catholic parishes, people create nativity scenes in front of their houses and they decorate the entire street, making it a Christmas area! These scenes are popular for people to come and visit.

A bûche de Noël is a popular gift. Like Australia, it’s very hot for Santa in Vietnam and it can be very comfortable for him to wear all that velvet in a hot humid country!

The Mexican Procession Las Posadas

Las Posadas is a very important tradition in Mexican culture. These celebrations begin 9 days before Christmas. Inspired by the journey that Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary made to Bethlehem.

During the procession, participants light candles and sing Christmas carols and end the tour at the house of one of the participants. The celebration can be small or a family or include neighbours and friends.

In some places, children perform a similar version to Las Posadas known as “Las Ramas”. Here children carry decorated altars filled with branches, figures of the Virgin and Saint Joseph while singing Christmas carols.

Mashed yams in Nigerian Christmas traditions

Many family members come together to celebrate Christmas. Those who live in big cities travel back to their home towns and villages visit their family and relatives.

Families organize a Christmas party that will last all night on Christmas Eve! On Christmas morning, they give thanks to God in church.

A traditional Nigerian dinner can include sheep, beef, goat, chicken or mutton. Mashed yams, Jollof rice, fried rice, vegetable salad and stew are other popular dishes.

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