Most people will say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. During Christmas everyone is getting together with their friends and family and the world takes on a magic glow. Every country has its own Christmas traditions, in this article you will read about five countries and their traditions.
Unlike in a lot of other countries, Christmas was never that big of a deal in Japan. People would give each other some gifts and you would see lights in the city, but not much more than that. This was until a few years ago, when a new tradition started: Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner. KFC Japan is all about Christmas and you can choose anything from a Christmas-themed standard bucket to something more sophisticated, like a premium roast-bird feast.
Just like the residents of Finland, many Canadians claim that Santa Clause hailed from Canada. This is one of the reasons why he plays a big part in the country’s Christmas celebration. Around 2000 participants take place in one of the biggest and oldest annual parades in Toronto. Another tradition in Canada, consists of cooking baking parties. Families and friends come together to bake their favorite Christmas cookies and swap recipes after.
The last tradition in Canada, is listening to music together, as music usually brings people closer together. One of the most popular radio stations in Canada during Christmas, is A country Christmas mix.
The Norwegians take part in perhaps one of the most unorthodox Christmas Eve traditions. They always hide their brooms on Christmas Eve. This is a tradition that has been there for hundreds of years, back to the time when people believed that evil spirits and witches would come out on Christmas eve. This may be an old tradition, but most people still hide their brooms on this night.
Dutch people usually get together with their family during Christmas. One of the traditions in most families, is that they all wear an ugly Christmas sweater, or as the Dutch call it: ‘Kersttrui’ or `Foute kersttrui heren’. During the holiday season, you can listen to the Top 2000 in the Netherlands. This contains the 2000 best and most popular songs from all time. Families come together to enjoy this music together.
The Advent plays a big role in Germany’s Christmas celebration. They use a lot of Advent calendars, probably because they were invented in Germany. These calendars were originally designed to involve children in the festivities leading up to Christmas. You can find some of the most spectacular Advent calendars in Germany. Just like in the other countries, Germans like to listen to Christmas music as well.
The Philippines are known for their Giant lantern festival in the days leading up to Christmas. This spectacle attracts people from all over the world, because it is so special. Everyone is trying to make the most beautiful lantern, so the competition is fierce. The lanterns are usually around six meters in size and they are illuminated by electric bulbs.
In Mexico, they celebrate Christmas for almost a month. The celebration starts at 12 December and ends at 6 January. The children perform nine Posadas during this period. These represent Joseph and Mary’s search for a place to stay. The children walk to various houses with candles in their hands, and get told that there is no room. The children get to the last house at Christmas eve, on the final Posada. That night, they are told that there is room, and they are welcomed in for a huge celebration of Christmas.
The majority of the population of China, doesn’t know that much about Christmas. This is due to the face that about one percent of them is Christian. Yet this doesn’t stop them from celebrating these days. You can see lights everywhere in the big cities during the holidays. One of the biggest traditions in China during Christmas, is the giving of apples. This is probably because the Chinese words for Christmas eve are similar to the ones that mean ‘apple’.
The Yule Goat has been a Swedish Christmas symbol for hundreds of years. In 1966 someone came up with the idea to make a giant goat out of straw, which is now referred to as the Gävle goat. The goat is huge: it is over 42 feet tall and weighs more than 3.5 tons. The massive goat is constructed on the same spot every year from the first Sunday of Advent until after New Year’s Eve.
Iceland celebrates thirteen days of Christmas. The children get visited by the so called Yule Lads, for thirteen days. Every night before they go to bed, they put their shoe by the window. When they have been good, they are lucky and get to find some candy in their shoes the next morning!