How is Christmas celebrated around the world?
‘Tis the season to be jolly! It’s that time of year again, and those that celebrate Christmas are preparing to bring in the season with their family and friends. Christmas is celebrated in many ways around the world, and this blog post will explore some of the different ways that people observe the festive season globally. Ready to get in the festive spirit? Continue reading!
Christmas in the UK
In the UK, Christmas is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, there are festive lights put up in most cities and towns, and there are events such as Christmas markets, carol services and nativity plays held across the country. Families often decorate their houses with Christmas lights and Christmas trees. On Christmas Eve, stockings are hung, and mince pies and carrots are left out by children for Father Christmas and his Reindeer. Families and friends exchange gifts of Christmas Day – and it is traditional to have a Christmas Dinner in the afternoon. The dinner traditionally consists of a roast dinner with turkey, vegetables, stuffing, roast potatoes, and gravy.
Christmas in Japan
In Japan, Christmas is not a national holiday, however people still celebrate it. Christmas is viewed as a time to spread joy and happiness rather than a religious holiday – as less than 1% of the population are Christian. Christmas Eve is viewed as the Japanese equivalent of Valentine’s Day, with many couples heading out for romantic meals and buying gifts for each other. Cities are decorated with festive lights and Christmas Markets are held throughout the festive season. One of the main traditions that became popular in the 1970’s is to have a Christmas dinner consisting of fried chicken from popular food chain KFC. Japanese Christmas cake is a popular festive desert that consists of sponge cake filled with whipped cream and topped with strawberries.
Christmas in Mexico
In Mexico, Christmas isn’t just celebrated on a single day – but celebrations span from the 12th of December until the 6th of January! During the festive season, processions known as ‘Posadas’ take place that re-enact Mary and Joseph’s journey searching for shelter. During these processions, children go from house to house singing songs and asking to be let in. At the end of the procession, everyone gathers for a party or ‘fiesta’ that consists of a celebratory meal and festivities such as piñatas! On Christmas Eve, families go to Midnight Mass and then enjoy a family meal.
Christmas in Iceland
In Iceland, Christmas is known as ‘Jol’ which translates to Yule. The Jol season consists of different days, including St Thorlakur’s Day, Jol Eve, Jol Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and The Epiphany which falls on the 6th of January. On Jol Eve, church bells sound at 6:00pm to signify the beginning of Christmas celebrations. Children open their presents after an evening meal. On Jol Day, families gather for a traditional meal called ‘Hangikjot’ which includes smoked lamb. However, the most important day of the year is New Year’s Eve or Gamlarskvold. People light bonfires and have firework displays to welcome in the New Year.
Christmas in Australia
In Australia, Christmas comes at the beginning of the Australian summer holidays, so the weather is hot during the festive season! Due to the hot weather, the ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner seen in countries like the UK is replaced by a barbecue or seafood. Families decorate their houses with festive lights in the lead-up to Christmas, and there are carol services, Christmas pageants and festivals held across the country.