Christmas in Different Cultures
Christmas is a religious festival celebrated by Christians all over the world; however Christmas traditions and cultures vary, depending on where in the world you are.
Christmas in Australia is often celebrated by enjoying the outdoors and on the beach as the festive season falls at the start of their summer holidays. Barbeques on the beach are a popular choice, along with camping outdoors and stocking up on seafood for festive feasts with family and friends. People living in the outback send messages over the radio to each other, rather than sending Christmas cards, this is due to limited postal services.
In Belgium children believe that Father Christmas visits their homes on December 6th with his horse and his assistant, Black Peter. People leave their shoes by the fire place with a drawing of Father Christmas, a biscuit and a carrot for his horse. They believe that the visit from Santa is separate to the actual Christmas festival; small presents are placed under the tree from family and friends, then opened together on Christmas Eve.
Christmas in Japan has only really been celebrated for the past couple of decades due to there not being many Christians living in the country. They send and receive Christmas cards which is a tradition they acquired from the USA. They celebrate Christmas as more of a season to spread the happiness and love around. Christmas Eve is a bigger event in their culture than Christmas day itself; it’s a time when couples spend time together opening presents and in some ways resembles Valentine’s Day.
In Costa Rica people like to decorate their homes with tropical flowers and spend time with friends and family down at the beach due to the warm summer climate. On Christmas Eve locals put on their best clothes and head to church for midnight mass, after mass the main Christmas meal is eaten. It normally consists of chicken and pork tamales that have been wrapped for cooking in plantain leaves. There are also lots of street parties, parades and dance festivals to celebrate the festive season.
In the African country of Ghana, Christmas is celebrated from the 20th December through to the first week of January with many Ghanaian’s traveling around the country to spend time with their friends and family. On Christmas Eve churches put on elaborate displays consisting of drumming and dancing to accompany the festive displays. Typical food eaten on the religious celebration includes stew or okra soup, porridge with meats, rice and a yam paste called ‘fufu’.
In Vietnam, Christmas Eve is often a bigger celebration that Christmas day. Many people flock into Ho Chi Minh city, the largest city in Vietnam. The city has a large Cathedral which people love to visit whilst enjoying the festive lights and Christmas displays in the city centre.
Although many of us are familiar with the traditions and religious festivities of Christmas we all choose to celebrate differently and our families have their own traditions. The majority of homes in UK have a Christmas Tree which is decorated with brightly coloured lights with presents placed underneath until Christmas Day. In the UK it is also popular for children to write letters to Father Christmas asking for gifts and to leave mince pies out on Christmas Eve for Father Christmas, along with a carrot or two for Rudolph and his other reindeers.
Irrelevant of where in the world you are celebrating Christmas, one of the similarities we noticed amongst all cultures; is that spending the time with family and friends is the most important thing. So whether you’re in Lapland, New York or Yorkshire; be sure to spend it with the ones you love!
If you’re in need of some festive decorating inspiration then why not have a look in our indoor and outdoor lighting and decoration section of our website, along with our other fantastic ranges of products available from UK Christmas World now!