As we dust off our stockings here at our nurseries in preparation for the upcoming festivities, join us in learning about different Christmas traditions that are celebrated around the world.
There are many ways to celebrate Christmas around the world. While we know we won’t be adopting all these traditions with our little ones this year, it was interesting to learn about the different ways other countries and cultures celebrate.
We hope you enjoy reading through some of these Christmas traditions around the world with your children too!
From Christmas barbecues on the beach to fireworks in the street, discover the treasured traditions that families around the world share this time of year.
Children in the Netherlands carefully place their shoes by the fire on Christmas Eve. If ‘Sinterklaas’ has visited during the night, they will find small gifts and treats. Some families even leave a carrot in the shoe as an offering for Sinterklaas’ faithful steed, Amerigo!
On Christmas Eve in Mexico, Nochebeuna is celebrated where family and friends gather for a festive feast and party. Families decorate their homes with ‘flor de Nochebuena’ (a Poinsettia plant) due to its bright red colour throughout Christmas time.
Like the UK, in Germany, a Christmas tree is decorated with festive ornaments. However, it is custom in Germany to hide a single pickle ornament on a tree branch for children to find on Christmas Day. The first person to find the pickle gets an extra present!
In Ethiopia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. A traditional game of Genna (sometimes called Ganna) is played with a curved stick and a wooden ball, similar to hockey. For Ganna, people dress in white clothing with some wearing a traditional garment called Netela.
A popular tradition throughout the Christmas season in Iceland is participating in the Jolabokaflod, also known as The Christmas Book Flood. On Christmas Eve books are exchanged to be read by the fire for the rest of the night with a chocolate Christmas treat.
To celebrate Christmas, Jamaicans take to the streets to participate in Junkanoo. Junkanoo is a traditional celebration in the form of a parade. Jamaicans wear bright and colourful masquerade costumes and dance through the streets.
In most towns and cities in Greece, you will find a boat in the main square decorated with Christmas lights to celebrate the holiday. Children often replicate this tradition within their homes by placing a small wooden boat on their fireplaces and lovingly decorating them. Often these boats are used to collect treats that are gifted during Christmas carolling.
In Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January. Ukrainians swap tinsel and fairy lights for Spider webs on their trees at Christmas. Decorations are made from paper and silver wire called Pavuchky (meaning little spider). This tradition is said to invite good luck and fortune into your home for the coming year! On Christmas Day, the festive feast begins but not until the first star is seen is the sky!
Across India, star-shaped lanterns are hung in the streets and in the home to celebrate Christmas with light. These star lanterns come in all sizes and are always bright and colourful.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the sky is lit with fireworks as the people of El Salvador toast Christmas. As the night sky is filled with light and colour, children celebrate with smaller firecrackers called Volcancitos (little volcanos) and Estrellitas (little stars).
Due to the hot weather in Australia during Christmas time Australians hit the beach! Friends and family share food and drinks around a barbecue (or ‘Barbie’) and play cricket. You might even see Santa popping into the sea for a quick surf!
Traditionally, here in the UK children eagerly await Santa’s arrival by leaving treats by the fire (usually mince pies and a drink for Santa) and a carrot for the reindeer on Christmas Eve. In the morning, children rush down the stairs to see if Santa has left any gifts in their stockings! Families then join for a festive feast of turkey and roasted vegetables and pull crackers to reveal jokes, paper hats and more. After gathering around the TV to watch the Queen’s Speech, families in the UK usually end Christmas Day eating Christmas treats and falling asleep watching a Christmas film!
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