Celebrations that surround Christmas in other countries
Most of us are familiar with the numerous traditions and customs that are associated with Christmas in America, but have you ever thought about the celebrations that surround Christmas in other countries? While numerous other countries share some of the same customs as Americans do, like decorating Christmas trees, hanging wreaths and stockings, and exchanging gifts, there is a wide variety of unique customs that are practiced by other countries around the holiday season as well.
Christmas in other countries
- South Africa: Christmas in South Africa is celebrated very similarly to how it is observed in the United States. Christmas trees are displayed in homes, Santa Claus is the magical gift bearer who arrives on Christmas Eve, and children receive presents in their stockings. Unlike American children, however, the children of South Africa leave a stocking for Santa Claus as well.
- Nigeria: During the Christmas season in Nigeria, those who have been more financially successful leave their homes in the cities, towns and even overseas to rejoin their loved ones who reside in their ancestral villages. The more fortunate individuals are approached by their less fortunate loved ones and asked for financial assistance and gifts.
- Japan: Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, but it is still widely celebrated with Christmas trees, decorative lights and sometimes gift exchanges. It has become a custom for Japanese residents to dine at KFC during Christmas, and some restaurants even take reservations for months preceding the holiday.
- Philippines: Christmas is widely celebrated in the Philippines, and the country has earned the distinction of having the longest Christmas season in the world. Starting as soon as September 1 it is common to hear Christmas carols and see holiday celebrations. The Christmas season is celebrated with Christmas displays and trees, depictions of Santa Claus and a midnight feast on Christmas Eve. The Christmas season ends with The Feast of the Three Kings, which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the arrival of the New Year.
- Lebanon: In Lebanon Christmas is celebrated with the butchering of a sheep for a Christmas Eve Feast. During the Christmas Eve celebration, the head of the household passes around a piece of coal that represents the sins before Christ. The coal is then set on fire. Individuals attend midnight mass and Papa Noël delivers gifts.
- Mexico: Christmas festivities in Mexico begin on the 12th day of December and continue until the Epiphany on January 6. Although some of the celebrations are similar to Christmas in other countries, Mexicans include the Three Kings as gift bearers who place gifts of food and sometimes money or gold in the shoes of the children.
Christmas in other countries throughout the world often includes a combination of fasting and feasts, festive parties and gift exchanges. While the actual date of the Christmas holiday varies widely depending on the country, the celebration is almost always based upon the birth of Christ.
Do you have unique customs or traditions that you and your loved ones practice as you celebrate the Christmas holiday?
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