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Christmas Traditions From Around the World

In the United States, Americans have many common traditions this time of year, such a decorating a tree, festooning the exterior of our homes with lights, taking photos with Santa, and exchanging gifts in the workplace. But, have you ever wondered what common Christmas traditions exist in other places around the globe? Following are just a very few of them:

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a holiday that occurs on December 26th in the UK and other Commonwealth nations. The term “Boxing Day” is derived from “Christmas Box”, and originated centuries ago. Back then, servants in all trades would receive a present from their masters or employers on Boxing Day. The modern version of Boxing Day is mainly a day for shopping, much like Black Friday is in the United States.

Christmas Markets

Many countries set up elaborate Christmas Markets in the days leading up to December 25th, all featuring traditions unique to each place. In Germany, glass ornaments are one of the major staples for sale at Christmas Markets. In Belgium, you can sample beer, chocolates, waffles, and other famous fare that the Belgians are known for. In Italy, nativity scenes are erected all over made of terra cotta or papier-mâché. In France, folks drink mulled wine out of boot-shaped mugs. And in Austria, where many famous classical composers originated from, you can listen to choirs singing Christmas music each weekend in December.

The Glass Christmas Pickle

Despite the fact that people assume the origin of the glass pickle ornament is Germanic, the people of Germany beg to differ. This ornament is hidden within a Christmas tree, and whoever finds it on Christmas morning is said to have a year’s worth of good luck, or that they’ll receive an extra present from Santa.

Summertime Christmas

Countries who celebrate Christmas in the southern hemisphere do so during the summer. Hot weather Christmas celebrations are unique compared to their colder counterparts. Many summer Christmas traditions take place outdoors. In Australia, for instance, folks celebrate carols by candlelight. This nighttime holiday ritual is a mainstay during this merry season Down Under.

Non-Traditional Traditions

Some countries have Christmas traditions that we might find strange her in the US of A. For example, in Japan, it’s customary to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas day. And, in Venezuela, the roads are closed to vehicle travel so folks can roller skate to mass on Christmas Eve. The Irish? They forego leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, and instead, offer up a glass of Guinness and mince pies for his refreshment.

Just about everywhere you go, people like to make merry during the holidays. If you tire of your family’s Christmas traditions, you could always adopt one of the many unique ones from other countries around the world. Merry Christmas, however you choose to celebrate it!


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