With the jingling bells and merry times, with sparkly lights and winter nights, Christmas will be here soon.
Christmas is undoubtedly the biggest holiday season in the world. The usual merrymaking involves putting up Christmas trees and decorations, opening gifts, baking and spending time with friends and family. Some other Christmas traditions also involve hanging up stockings, shopping trips or most especially getting a Christmas card photoshoot with your family.
Apart from the above-mentioned traditions, there are many unique Christmas traditions around the world that will make you wonder. Despite the differences in traditions, the yuletide spirit remains the same.
From receiving rotten potatoes to eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner, get amused by these unique Christmas traditions across the globe.
Christmas traditions differ from Goa to Shillong in India. For many, attending the Midnight mass is a very important tradition. The service starts with a carol singing followed by mass. Putting up brightly decorated Christmas trees in public places is the main attraction.
Explore the diverse celebrations of the same festival with our India tour packages.
The Swedish have developed the tradition of putting up the yule goat during Christmas. This dates back to the time of pagan festivals. The Yule goat is believed to be an invisible entity that arrives before Christmas and looks over to see if the holiday preparations are done correctly or not. Since 1996, a giant straw goat has been put up, it is also known as Gävle Goat. It is said that the goat is more than 42 ft. high, 23 ft. wide and weighs 3.6 tonnes and is always put up at the same spot. After New Year’s the goat is taken down.
A visit to Sweden during Christmas is a dream come true. To add to it, applying for the Schengen Visa to visit Sweden gives you the added advantage of being able to visit 25 other countries.
In the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated for almost 5 months from September to January and in the most lavish way. They go all out with traditional Filipino Christmas decorations. The city of San Fernando holds Ligligan Parul- a giant lantern festival, where special Christmas lanterns
called ‘parols’, symbolising the star of Bethlehem are hung around towns and villages. Filipino families come together to eat and relish traditional treats like puto bumbong and bibingka.
Get a Philippines visa to try a different kind of celebration this Christmas holiday.
For Japanese Christmas traditions, the white beard is more synonymous with KFC’s mascot rather than Santa Claus. What began as a marketing tactic by KFC in 1974 called “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” or “Kentucky for Christmas!” The American fast-food chain has cashed in on the yuletide spirit. So now millions of Japanese families either order their KFC dinner in advance or wait hours in line to get it. KFC in Japan sees the highest sales on Christmas eve.
Iceland starts Christmas celebrations 13 days before Christmas Eve and continues until 6th January. For the 13 days prior to Christmas, 13 Yule lads visit them to leave either sweets or rotten potatoes depending on how the children behaved. With the church bells ringing at 6 pm, Icelanders start with their Christmas feast.
Unlike other parts of the world, it’s summertime during Christmas in New Zealand. So their Christmas traditions mostly revolve around summer activities like beach time, barbecue or casual cookouts with friends and families. Christmas foods usually include fresh seafood, meat and seasonal vegetables. The unofficial Christmas tree here is a coastal species called Pohutukawa that provides shade to the Kiwis as they sing Christmas carols under them. New Zealanders do celebrate Christmas once again in July when it is actually the winter season.
If you want to ditch someplace cold and yet enjoy Christmas, get a New Zealand Visa.
For the Danes, Christmas day is known as jól. According to Nordic culture, Denmark actually celebrates Christmas on the 24th of December, i.e. Christmas Eve. Homes and town roads are decorated with superstitious characters called nisser, lots of candles, pine-inspired decor with predominantly white, red, gold, silver and green colours. On Christmas Eve, Danish families start by eating an elaborate Christmas dinner in the evening, dancing and singing carols around the Christmas tree in their living room followed by opening presents late in the night.
The Irish are avid festive celebrators. Their Christmas traditions involve midnight mass on Christmas Eve and markets full of magical atmosphere with shopping, carol singing and yuletide merrymaking. Christmas day swims at Forty Foot Rock, leaving a tall red candle symbolising warmth and shelter, a box of ‘good’ biscuits usually like pink wafers or bourbon creams, putting up decorations like the Holly Wreath along with Christmas trees and lastly the Christmas dinner comprised of roast turkey, potatoes, brussels sprouts, etc. followed by mince pies, pudding and Christmas cake for dessert.
These Polish Christmas traditions have been followed for many many years now. Common traditions include spending 4 weeks preparing to celebrate Jesus and decorating the Christmas tree with glass balls, homemade ornaments, candles and a star on top. Common traditions include giving gifts, carolling on Christmas Eve and attending midnight masses.
The Polish special traditions are fasting on Christmas Eve, followed by a scrumptious 12-dish dinner. For any traveller or homeless to join in an extra set of dish is put out. Before dinner families share oplatek – a religious wafer, as they wish each other a Merry Christmas. Some families also put hay on the table covering it with a tablecloth. For the Polish, the right time to start the celebrations is when the first star appears in the night sky.
Can’t decide your Christmas holiday destination between Denmark, Norway or Poland? Simply get a Schengen visa to visit one or all of these countries.
Las Posadas is the most popular Christmas tradition in Mexico. This tradition commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph in search of lodging to birth Jesus. The parade halts at homes representing inns where they are provided Christmas refreshments and Christmas songs are sung. This is celebrated for 9 nights from December 16th to December 24th, representing nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. On the last night, children break piñatas filled with candies and toys.
After the final night celebrations, families engage in an extravagant meal and head to the Midnight mass to ring in Christmas. To experience this unmatched festive spirit of the Mexicans get your Mexico visa.
Plan a Christmas vacation with your friends and family, but avoid the last-minute rush by taking care of your accommodation and flight tickets beforehand only. Apart from these countries, there are many others that practise unique Christmas traditions. Does your country have a unique tradition or have you experienced one while visiting any country? Tell us in the comments below.
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