Christmases Around the World

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A globe Christmas ornament

Shreya Madan, Reporter

Christmas looks different for people around the world with a variety of different traditions taking place. Many countries have different holidays that they celebrate in December, while others add a cultural twist to their Christmas celebrations.

“My family celebrates Christmas, and one of my favorite parts is giving and receiving gifts,” expressed Esther Kim (11).

Unique Christmas traditions with special meanings behind them have formed around the globe. In Norway, people hide their brooms in order to prevent witches and evil spirts from riding on them. They also decorate Christmas trees, make gingerbread houses, and eat risengrynsgrøt; a hot rice pudding served with sugar, cinnamon, and butter. There is usually an almond hidden in the pudding, and if the almond turns up in your portion, you win a marzipan pig!

In the Philippines a Giant Lantern Festival is held where large circular lanterns are put up around the city and decorated with different colors and lights.

In Sweden a giant goat is built in the center of Gävle’s Castle Square for the Advent, which has led to another tradition: people trying to burn it down.

In Columbia, Little Candles’ Day (Día de las Velitas) marks the start of the Christmas season. People place candles and paper lanterns in their windows, balconies, and front yards. The tradition has grown, and now entire cities across the country are lit up with beautiful candle displays.

Different holiday foods are also a major part of the celebrations. In Japan, Christmas isn’t as big of a holiday, but a fun tradition has formed of having a Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner. In Italy, Panettone, a rich bread made with eggs, fruit, and butter is commonly eaten on Christmas. In Costa Rica, making tamales is a Christmas tradition. The basis of tamales is a corn dough, wrapped in a banana leaf or corn husk, that is then steamed. They are stuffed with meat and some other foods that may be a part of the filling are garlic, onions, potatoes, or raisins.

Here at Hidden Valley, students celebrate many of the above Christmas traditions as well as their culture’s holidays.

“One holiday that my family celebrates in December is called Vai Tika in which brothers give sisters gifts and in return the sisters give them their blessings. The main thing about this holiday is that all the sisters have to take care of their brothers, and brothers have to protect their sisters,” explained Simran Laminchane (11).

Christmas is a holiday celebrated in many places around the globe for which fun traditions have formed. People gather for celebrations with family, friends, food, music, and decorations creating a memorable day for everyone.