Which countries don't celebrate Christmas?
What Christmas traditions are typical for us Germans is rather unusual for people from other countries. Because every continent, even every single country, has its own tradition that has mostly been preserved for years. Even if Christmas is celebrated a little differently from region to region, there are usually certain customs and traditions that are simply typical of the country. How Christmas worldwide is celebrated and what traditions shape the Christmas festival of other countries, I'll tell you now.
This is how Christmas is celebrated all over the world
Europe | America | Oceania | Asia
Christmas dinner worldwide
Test your knowledge:Christmas quiz
Christmas in Europe
It is no secret that the traditions on the European continent diverge widely. That makes it all the nicer to travel to our neighboring countries, because every European country also celebrates its own traditions at Christmas.
Netherlands & Belgium | Ukraine
Russia | UK |France
Spain | Portugal | Finland
Sinterklaas in the Netherlands & Belgium
Did you know that our Santa Claus is in the Netherlands Sinterklaas, so your name is Nicholas? According to legend, three weeks before his arrival, Sinterklaas docks at a Dutch port with his ship from Spain. Nowadays it is often the last Saturday in November.
On this evening the children put a wooden shoe with their wish list in front of the door, next to it some water and hay for the horse from Sinterklaas. The next morning they find some sweets, little Santa Claus figures and a gingerbread man with a funny poem in their shoe. At the December 5th the time has finally come - accompanied by the black Peter, the Zwarte Piet, Sinterklaas rides through the country.
In Belgium the tradition only takes place on December 6th.
On this day there are finally the presents and on the following day there is a huge party for most of the families. December 24th, i.e. Christmas Eve, on the other hand, has a high religious significance, which is why there is usually a family and a family Church attendance on the agenda. However, there are no more gifts. It looks similar in Belgium out. There, St. Nicholas Day is also the highlight of the whole Christmas season.
Orthodox tradition in Ukraine
For Orthodox Christians, our Christmas Eve corresponds to January 6th. This is the case in Ukraine, for example. There, on Christmas Eve, on January 6th, Christmas masses are attended and a traditional feast is included twelve different dishes, a judgment for every apostle of Jesus. In addition, the gifts are not brought on Christmas Eve as we do with us, but only on New Year's Eve.
Father Frost in Russia
Also in Russia it is not December 24th, but the January 7th in focus. This is an official holiday and for most Russians begins with a solemn Christmas mass. Before that, locals hold a 40-day Christmas fast, also known as the Philip's fast.
There is a lot of eating, singing, and partying, and there is also a Christmas tree
In Russia, like in some other Eastern European countries, there is no Santa Claus, Santa Claus or the Christ Child, but the so-called Father Frost with his granddaughter, the snow girl. This does not correspond to a typical Santa Claus, but rather to a magician who rules over the Russian winter. Otherwise, the Christmas holidays hardly differ from ours. There is a lot of eating, singing, and partying, and there is also a Christmas tree. The difference in dates can be traced back to different calendars. The church year of Orthodox Christians is not based on that Gregorian calendaras we know it, but according to the Julian calendar.
Christmas pudding, mistletoe and Christmas cards in UK
In England The Christmas tree only became a tradition after Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, put a decorated tree in his Celebrations at Windsor Castle introduced in 1840. Thus he brought the German tradition with him to England. If you live in England, you shouldn't miss sending your loved ones a Christmas card, which is very important in the UK.
A kiss under the mistletoe is part of the festival
Another Christmas tradition that is particularly widespread in England, Scotland and Ireland is kissing under a mistletoe. This should be hung on the ceiling or the front door at Christmas time. Every time two people stand under a mistletoe, they have - as the custom demands it - to kiss and pluck a berry from the branch. Above all, this gesture is said to bring happiness, courage, fertility and health. At Christmas in the UK, when Father Christmas comes with the presents, the traditional plum pudding, a dish similar to our napkin dumplings, is not missing.
Père Noël brings gifts in France
The Christmas market is no longer a German phenomenon. In France, for example, you can enjoy a cup of mulled wine in Paris on the famous Champs-Elysées or in southern France for most of December. Strasbourg even has one of the oldest Christmas markets in France. By the way, only December 25th is a public holiday here. That day bringsPère Noël the presents over while on the 24th the Christmas mass is attended and a real feast is eaten. The so-called Réveillon de Noëltraditionally even seven courses and 13 desserts are served. Typical food in France on Christmas Eve is one filled with chestnuts Turkey, foie gras, clams and pies. Of course, a platter with selected cheeses, butter and bread should not be missing. For dessert there is also the so-called Bûche de Noël, a cake that resembles a tree trunk.
Special Christmas cribs in Spain
In Spain, the Christmas holidays are heralded every year with a very special tradition: the annual one Christmas lottery is considered the largest lottery in the world due to its high winnings. The whole of Spain is watching the draw on December 22nd, which has been celebrated for over a century. Take a vacation in Barcelona, for example, to experience the tradition for yourself!
Madrid and Barcelona attract with the Christmas markets Mercadillo de Navidad at Plaza Mayor Madrid and the Fira de Santa Llúcia in Barcelona.
Incidentally, the actual giving of presents, as we know it, will not take place in Spain until January 6th Reyes Magos, the three kings, instead. December 24th is used for an extensive meal with the entire family. By the way: In Spain, a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve is not necessarily part of the tradition, instead it is customary here to decorate with nativity scenes and fairy lights.
Portuguese king cake
With large and lavishly designed cribs that will also be Christmas party in Portugal committed. Entire competitions revolve around the most magnificent bed of the baby Jesus, which is a central symbol for the Catholic Portuguese. No wonder that after a long Christmas meal with delicious stockfish, you have to attend midnight mass before you finally start unpacking the presents.
If you end up with the bean in your piece of cake, you have to pay for the cake next year
A special tradition of the Portuguese is also the baking and joint consumption of the Bolo Rei, the Kings cake. In this, according to an old tradition, a metal figure and a bean are baked. If you end up with the bean in your piece of cake, you have to pay for the cake next year. However, if you get the small figure, you can be sure of luck next year. Portuguese roulette! The royal cakes with “content” are no longer allowed to be sold in stores since Portugal joined the EU. The concern: the small parts could be swallowed. Of course, that doesn't stop the Portuguese from baking.
Santa's homeland: Finland
A Christmas market that attracts a particularly large number of visitors in Finland is the market on Esplanadi in Helsinki. There, the elegance of the city is enhanced, especially by the pre-Christmas atmosphere. If you want to celebrate Christmas in Finland, I recommend a visit to Santa Claus Village in Lapland. Finland is the official home of Santa Claus and Santa Claus Village is all about Christmas. The wonderful winter scenery does the rest!
Although America is a huge continent, Christmas in the northern and southern hemispheres is more similar than you might have expected.
USA | Mexico | Brazil
Christmas Day in the USA
In the USA everything is a bit bigger and more colorful - this often applies to Christmas as well.
The run-up to Christmas can be spent well in Chicago, for example, there has been a huge one here every year since 1996 Christmas Marketwhich, similar to ours, promises a large selection of hot drinks and delicacies.
Beautifully decorated houses and colorful christmas decorationwherever the eye looks. The decorated Christmas tree is indispensable. It is a tradition every year to decorate the Christmas tree days in advance with friends at a so-called "tree party". On the 24th arrives, similar to Thanksgiving big turkey on the table. There are gifts on the morning of December 25th, because Santa Claus comes through the chimney at night, eats the biscuits provided, drinks the cold milk and finally fills the family's Christmas socks. On Christmas Day the children jump out of their beds early to see what Santa has brought.
Mexican Christmas with piñatas
A Christmas tradition that I definitely want to tell you about is the so-called Hostel search in Mexico. Here the Christmas season begins on December 16 with the so-called posadas. This is a nine-day festival that is supposed to embody the unsuccessful search for a shelter of the Mother of God Mary and Joseph. It's nine days in total, as each day signifies a month of Mary's pregnancy. The most spectacular ones are typical of the posadas Street parades with fireworks, Timpani and trumpets.
The highlight of the festival are the colorful figures made of paper mache, Piñatas called, which are hung up filled with candy, fruit and small toys. These must then be smashed by the children with sticks and blindfolded until the contents spread over them like rain. As in many other countries, Christmas in Mexico is mostly one Festival for the children. As soon as the Posadas end on December 24th, the actual Christmas festival begins, which is celebrated in close family circles.
Family time in Brazil
Christmas in Brazil is very reminiscent of the typical American Christmas: decadent decoration, Christmas tree and artificial snow. And yet everything is very different than in North America.
The largest floating Christmas tree in the world shines in Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas Rios.
In South America it will be good over Christmas 30-35 degrees, Brazilians often spend the morning of December 24th in sunglasses by the pool. Family time and food definitely play a bigger role here than gifts. Lunch can already include a hearty barbecue and dinner doesn't look any less tasty either. Many Brazilians also go to the on the evening of December 24th Holy Mass. Because many Christians live in the South American country, the Brazilian Christmas is more like ours than we thought.
Christmas in Oceania
What does the typical Christmas season look like in the southern hemisphere, i.e. in countries where the festive season falls in the middle of summer? Many of us have dreamed of spending Christmas on the beach in the southern hemisphere, haven't we?
Australia | Christmas Islands
Christmas at 35 degrees in Australia
In Australia it is over 30 degrees at Christmas time, people run around in shorts and T-shirts and sunbathe on the beach. But just because Australians don't shiver from the cold and snow doesn't fall from the sky, that doesn't mean that Christmas isn't celebrated there properly. On the contrary: There are beautiful Christmas lights here too, decorated fir trees and department stores decorated for Christmas. In addition, the house walls and the front gardens will be transformed into Christmas oases in the American style.
In Australia & New Zealand, summer temperatures prevail at Christmas
You can get one in Sydney every year 26 meter high Christmas tree admire, which is adorned with around 21,000 lights, 4,000 golden balls and 1,500 golden and green ribbons. The festivities in Australia already start at the beginning of December and instead of fresh fir trees there are simply artificial Christmas trees.
On December 24th, many families traditionally serve roast turkey as well as the popular one Plum pudding. In the evening the children usually put out a carrot with a bowl of milk so that Santa Claus and his reindeer are also looked after. The gift giving takes place here, similar to in England, on the morning of December 25th instead of.
If you want snow, you travel to the Australian Alps at the end of June or beginning of July to warm yourself by the fireplace and drink mulled wine.
Afterwards, it's customary to meet up with family for brunch or lunch and have a little partying in the afternoon, be it at home or even on the beach. The Australians also call December 26th Boxing Day designated. On this day all shops are open and there are special bargains. Anything that couldn't be sold during the Christmas rush turns into here extremely affordable prices sold.
The Christmas Islands - good for a surprise
Contrary to what the name of the islands suggests, the inhabitants of the island celebrate Christmas Islands, which officially belong to Australia, no Christmas at all. Just like Easter Island, the islands are only named after the day they were discovered, Christmas 1643. Kind of a bit disappointing, don't you think?
Double the Christmas feeling in New Zealand
Also in New Zealand are summer temperatures as well Going to the beach at Christmas nothing unusual. Here it looks similar to Australia: houses, streets and shopping centers are festively decorated, one or the other Christmas tree can be seen and the residents are already in the Christmas spirit.
Christmas will happily be on the beach or in the garden with one cozy barbecue spent and also here the children get on Tomorrow of December 25th their gifts. In general, everything is very similar to Christmas in Australia. Since some New Zealanders do not want to do without the white Christmas, it is common for some families, especially in the south of New Zealand, to celebrate again in winter - from June to October - with a Christmas tree and Christmas decorations.
When we think of Christmas, it usually doesn't even occur to us that Christmas is also celebrated in Asia and in some cases it has even been recognized as an official holiday.
India | Japan
Bada din in India
Of course, this can also be explained by the influence of the western media, for example in India the case is. In the country where most of the people are Hindus, Christmas is called “Bada din”, which translates as “the big day”. At Christmas time, like in the USA, Santa Claus comes to bring presents - the schoolchildren even have Christmas holidays.
Festival of love in Japan
Christmas also plays a role in another Asian country, albeit differently than we know it: In JapanAlthough the festival is not an official holiday, you can still meet Santa Claus here. The Christmas Eve is especially a special day for couples, as they give each other presents and plan a very special date. Christmas with loved ones instead of loved ones. Why not?
A real feast anywhere in the world
Christmas roast, carp, a delicious potato salad with sausages and raclette - all now common dishes on Christmas Eve and Christmas. But what do you eat in our neighboring European countries, for example, and where is the most extensive feast? I have already introduced you to some of the festive specialties, so we know, for example, that the French and Ukrainians prefer a particularly sumptuous menu with many courses.The Americans and the English love their turkey and there is a big barbecue going on across the world. Christmas will also be very tasty in other countries!
Swedish holiday specialties
In Swedenthere is the “Julbord”, a very special Swedish Christmas buffet. Should you ever be there, you can even try this buffet in the run-up to Christmas. The Julbord usually begins with a Swedish mulled wine with almonds and raisins. There is usually this Swedish gingerbreadwhich, however, cannot be compared with our German pepper or gingerbread.
As soon as the buffet opens properly, you get pickled herrings in all imaginable variations, different types of fish and delicious seafood as a starter. As a main course, those known thanks to Ikea Köttbullar and the traditional Stockfish Lutfisk. For dessert there are various cake specialties as well as delicious ice cream, fruit salad and Christmas cookies.
Christmas wafer in Poland
Also in Poland you should appear on Christmas Eve with an empty stomach, as here - similar to Russia and the Ukraine - twelve different dishes there, in memory of the twelve apostles. In Poland, like in some other European countries, meat consumption is only allowed again from December 25th, so the dishes on Christmas Eve are often vegetarian or fish-heavy.
Before eating, you share what is known as a Christmas wafer
Typical dishes are, for example, pickles Fish, carp, pierogi (Maultaschen filled with sauerkraut or mushrooms) and a clear beetroot soup. It is also common here to share what is known as a Christmas wafer before eating. Each of those present breaks off a piece of the wafer of his counterpart, hugs him and says his good Christmas wishes. Another tradition is to set the table for an extra person. This place setting is intended for an unexpected guest and is meant to be the hospitality symbolize the poles.
Christmas calorie bomb in South Korea
Neither fish nor meat are part of the Christmas feast South Koreans, because they prefer a very special Christmas cake that is a real calorie bomb. Nevertheless, friends and relatives come together on December 25th to colorful cream cake to eat. No matter which country you are in: At Christmas you shouldn't pay attention to the calories, but just enjoy the delicious festive meal.
No matter whether in Germany, France, Russia or Australia - every country has its own customs and traditions. However, by and large, it's one everywhere Feast of lovewhere all of us want to have our loved ones around us. No matter how you spend the Christmas days and which traditions you have in your family, I wish you a wonderful and peaceful Christmas season!
Christmas is coming
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