Christmas traditions vary from country to country. It’s no secret that Americans go all out for Christmas, but as a nation we know little about how others choose to celebrate the holiday. Here’s our chance to find out how Christmas is celebrated on different countries and cultures around the world!
Christmas in the United States
In the United States, there are many different traditions and customs that people do to celebrate Christmas. Because of its multicultural nature, many customs are similar in places like the United Kingdom, Italy, and Mexico.
Many Americans, especially Christians, will go to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Many churches have special services where they may sing Christmas carols and tell Christmas’ origin story.
Some Americans also send Christmas cards and decorate the inside and outsides of their homes with lights and even statues of Santa Claus, reindeer and snowmen.
Christmas in Portugal
In Portugal, Santa Claus is rather known as Father Christmas (‘Pai Natal’). It is believed that he delivers gifts to children on Christmas Eve, like in the United States, rather than on Christmas Day in other parts of the world. The presents are left under a Christmas tree or in children’s’ shoes by the fireplace.
Before opening gifts, it is traditional to partake in “consoada”, the Christmas meal that is served and eaten during the evening of Christmas Eve.
After the meal, families go to church for the “Missa do Galo”, or the Mass of the Rooster, service. An image of baby Jesus is brought out during the service and everyone kisses it, then it is placed in the Christmas scene that every church will have. After the festivities, people return home to open their presents.
Christmas in China
Most of the Chinese population do not have Christian origins, so most people know very little of Christmas. In fact, the holiday is only celebrated in China’s major cities. In these big cities there are Christmas trees, lights, and other decorations used to line the streets and beautify the department stores.
Santa Claus goes by the name “Shen Dan Lao Ren”, and postmen may dress as him while delivering letters before Christmas.
Christmas parties are becoming popular within the young adult culture in China. It is also a time where young couples exchange gifts, much like couples in America would on Valentine’s Day.
Christmas in Jamaica
Much like in America, Christmas Eve, also referred to as “Grand Market”, is a exhilarating time for the children and adults. In all of the towns and cities, there is a cross between a festival and market where some people go shopping for Christmas foods and new apparel.
Around 6:00 p.m. that evening the really exciting festivities begin. Everyone attends the celebrations, which lasts all night, in their best dress. The streets, shops and houses are decorated while vendors sell foods like boiled corn, jerk chicken, and sweets like sugarcane and candy canes.
For many Jamaicans, the night will end with a Church Service and a Christmas meal, which is usually prepared on Christmas Eve, but consumed on Christmas Day.
Christmas in Sweden
Around Christmas time in Sweden, St. Lucia’s Day, or St. Lucy’s Day, is celebrated on Dec. 13. The stories were introduced by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden.
St. Lucia’s Day is now celebrated by dressing girls in a white dress with a red sash around her waist. She carries a crown of candles on her head. Young children will use fake candles, however, after about 12 years of age, real candles are used.
A national Lucia is chosen to visit hospitals and nursing homes singing a song about St. Lucia and giving out ginger snap biscuits.
All around the world Christmas is celebrated. In most countries, decorations can be admired and festive celebrations can be joined. Regardless to where you stay, or what your beliefs are, it is obvious that Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday in which people very much enjoy.