Commonly celebrated on December 25th, Christmas is an annual festival that observes the birth of Jesus Christ and is recognized as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of individuals around the world.
In the U.S., we traditionally celebrate Christmas with decorative lights, Christmas trees, parades, holiday parties, perhaps some egg nog, and of course, the exchanging of gifts.
However, Christmas isn’t celebrated the same in every country, same day, or even in the same month! Find out how other countries around the world celebrate the holiday season.
Germany celebrates Christmas much like the U.S.. In fact, Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition. During the middle ages, the early Christmas trees were brought into homes on Christmas Eve, and were then secretly decorated by the matriarch of the family.
Germany is well known for their Christmas markets during the holiday season, where Christmas foods and glass decorations and ornaments are sold. Another major part of Germany’s holiday celebrations is Advent, the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. Multiple types of Advent calendars are used in German homes which are made from card, wreath of Fir tree branches, and some with candles.
In Colombia, Christmas officially begins on December 7th, which is known as ‘Día de las Velitas’ or ‘Day of the little Candles’. The name implies just that. Houses and streets in Columbia are jazzed up with candles, lanterns, and various lights. Not only are the streets decorated with lights, but so is the sky. There are large firework displays accompanied by music and food.
But the celebrations don’t stop on the 7th. From December 16th until Christmas Eve, many Colombians take part in ‘novenas’, a special time when family and friends gather to pray in the days leading up to Christmas.
The holiday season winds down on December 28th, which they have coined Innocents Day. Innocents Day is much like April fool’s Day, with pranks and jokes, while Colombian TV stations will play bloopers and funny mistakes people have made throughout the year.
New Zealand celebrates Christmas in the middle of the summer with trips to the beach, camping or a stay at holiday homes known as Baches.
Although celebrated at a different time of year, New Zealand celebrates Christmas with the same traditions found in the U.S.. Many New Zealand towns have a Christmas parade with decorative floats, marching bands, and of course, Santa. However, Instead of a red suit and black boots, the New Zealand Santa can be found in sandals and a New Zealand rugby shirt.
If you found this educational, interesting, or it inspired you to learn more about another culture, visit our blog page for more interesting culture and language discussions.