It’s that magical time of year when streets come to life with bright lights. People are either herding home to celebrate Christmas or preparing to spend the holiday abroad. Hence the festive period signifies a beautiful time of reflection, joy, and giving, and unique traditions from every corner of the globe. It is often still celebrated by people from all over the world who have embraced the festive season and added their traditions. As we proceed, let’s go through some of our favourite Christmas traditions from around the world.
Sweet smell of “Weihnachtsbäckerei” in Austria
“As soon as the sweet smell of “Weihnachtsbäckerei” (Christmas cookies) is in the air, it means Christmas is near. People wander around the enchanting Christmas markets buying gifts for their loved ones. Every region and family in Austria celebrates Christmas differently, and everyone has their unique traditions. But few things are the same everywhere. In Austria, the “Christkind” (Christ-child) brings presents on December 24th (Heiliger Abend – Christmas Eve). Showtime starts as Christkind rings a bell, and the kids can see the tree. It’s magical with the lights and the presents! People stand and sing in front of the tree, read Christmas stories and pray before opening the presents. After Bescherung (gift-giving) it is celebrated with lots of food and special Austrian meat is served on the table on that day.
Long meals are a social custom in France!
Well, Christmas in France is all about having a good time with friends and family, accompanied by French events and a lot of food and wine. It depends on the family tradition, a get-together at home on the evening of the 24th for the Réveillon de Noël for a delicious meal that can last 5 hours or more. The menu may vary according to the region, but the dinner has to be huge and without limits. Oysters, smoked salmon, and the traditional foie gras is the classic entrées, often followed by the Christmas turkey with vegetables or a seafood platter. People are prepared, for long meals are a social custom in France!
Nikolaus, brings the treats overnight in Germany
Like in Austria, Germany is all about Christmas Markets, baking cookies together, decorating the house and the tree, and enjoying the same old Christmas songs every year. It starts in Mid-November, excitement for Christmas and the whole family getting together for dinner is too much to bear! On December 6th every year, Nikolaus day is celebrated in Germany. The children clean their shoes and put them in front of the door. Their shoes are filled with candy, mandarins, and peanuts the following day. Therefore, this tradition is celebrated on Bishop Nikolaus’s memory from Myra, known for his kindness and lived in the 4th century. Today, Nikolaus brings the treats overnight and looks just like Santa Claus, but in reality, it is an entirely different person!
“Presepe” and Food in Italy
Christmas is such a wonderful time in Italy. Here it is not about the about lights on the streets, but the marvelous “torroni” a typical Italian chocolate bar, and Panettoni and Pandori. Christmas denotes family in Italy. Christmas is that moment of the year where everyone forgets about old arguments and problems and sits at the same table. Italy is full of different traditions, but two things bond Italy as a whole country. The first one is the “Presepe”. It is a small and iconic representation of the Nativity, and the second tradition is FOOD! The main action takes place on the eve of January 5th. According to folklore, an older woman named Belfana visits all the children of Italy. She fills their stockings with candy and leaves them presents if they’ve been good. Just like Father Christmas, Belfana enters through the chimney and is left treats by the children who live there.
Spaniards enjoy Christmas dinner in Spain
The festive season is celebrated by those who come back home. During this time, all the local markets get extremely busy. Everyone looks for the best meat and seafood to bring to the table on the most memorable evening, Christmas Eve: Nochebuena (“the good night”).
The scene is delightful to walk down the streets of the towns and feel the festive atmosphere in every local cafe. In addition, visit the Belen nativity scene and check out the giant Christmas tree in Main Square. All cities in Spain have one main square and a big Christmas tree to match.
The evening of December 24th is a key date during Christmas in every corner of Spain. People enjoy amazing seafood as a starter and fish or meat as the main course. It’s important to mention that Spaniards accompany the dinner with wine, cava, and coffee liqueur with the desserts. Also, there is a big day on the calendar to enjoy outdoors, that’s the evening on January 5th, the time of the year to watch the famous and colorful “Cabalgata de Reyes” (the Parade of the 3 Kings).
Summer Christmas Holidays in Brazil
We know Christmas is all about snow, hot drinks, and funny jumpers, right? Wrong! In Brazil, the Holidays are celebrated during summer and yes, because of tropical Christmas time! The decoration and celebration are pretty much the same as most countries in the world. Sometimes, Santa wears a swimming suit, but clothes are not compromised since he comes from the North Pole.
Sauna session with ancestors in Finland
Numerous homes in Finland come equipped with their sauna. This cozy spot becomes a sacred space associated with long-dead ancestors during Christmas. On Christmas Eve, it’s customary to strip naked and take a long and respectful stint in the sauna. It is believed to be home to the legendary sauna ‘elf’. After the sauna session, Finns head out to the evening celebrations while spirits of those ancestors take their place in the bubbling water.
The Yule Goat in Sweden
Last but not least, one more Christmas tradition from Sweden may be the oldest tradition still celebrated on the list. In the 17th century, young men dressed as goat creatures and ran around pulling pranks and demanding gifts. By the 19th century, the notion of the goat changed to a good guy, a giver of gifts. It was a replica of Father Christmas, distributing gifts to the entire family. Today, the concept of man-goat does not exist, but the Yule Goat has booked its place in modern history as a traditional Christmas ornament.
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