How Do Countries Around The World Celebrate Christmas? Part 1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, and that means stuffed Christmas stockings, pretty lights, and a lot of Christmas feasts. While you settle down in front of the fireplace and listen to some Christmas carols, let’s also take this time to discover how countries around the world celebrate Christmas!

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When we think of Christmas, we think of light snow falling outside the window while you sit in front of the fireplace with your favourite hot cocoa. Well, let’s not forget the southern hemisphere exists. Christmas in Australia usually falls at the start of summer, so it’s swelteringly hot during the holiday season! But the heat and risk of forest fires won’t stop our friends from down under though. Australians still hang Christmas wreaths on their front door and decorate their houses and gardens with Christmas decor and lights. In place of a Christmas tree, Australians decorate their houses with Christmas Bushes, a native Australian tree that blooms a beautiful red around Christmas time. Much like the rest of the world, Christmas carolling are usually broadcasted, and presents are exchanged on Christmas day itself. 

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Another friend from the southern hemisphere, Brazil also experiences summer during Christmas. Most of Brazil’s Christmas traditions actually come from Portugal due to them being kept under Portuguese administration from the 1500s to the 1800s. Most Brazillians will go to Missa do Galo, which ends at around 1am, followed by fireworks displays. Electric lights in the shape of Christmas trees are displayed in towns and cities. Secret Santa (Amigo Secreto) is a very popular activity in Brazil, where people are given small gifts all throughout December. It’s common for the population to receive a salary bonus in December too! Brazilians usually eat pork, turkey, ham, salads and fruits, served with raisin rice and a spoon of farofa, a seasoned manioc flour. The food is served at around 10pm on Christmas Eve, and as midnight rolls around, families gather and greet each other, raise a toast and exchange Christmas presents.

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Finally, a country that actually experiences winter during Christmas! Most English families put up their Christmas tree and decorate it together as it is commonly seen as a family occasion. Towns and cities, like most other countries, are decorated with Christmas lights and they usually have someone famous turn it on. Nativity Plays and Carolling are very popular during the Christmas season, where carollers go around to different houses and ring their bells before singing to them. Families spend time together to wrap presents, bake Christmas cookies and hang stockings over the fireplace. Minced pies and non-alcoholic drinks are left out for Father Christmas too. On Christmas Day itself, families gather to feast on a luxurious spread of roast turkey, roast vegetables, stuffing, and paired with cranberry sauce and bread. Christmas pudding is consumed as a post-meal dessert, although some prefer to eat minced peis and chocolate. Afterwards, the English all over the country tune in to listen to the Queen’s speech at around 3pm, broadcasted on radios and TV.

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In France, the Marchés de Noel (Christmas markets) host wooden chalets decorated with lights and ornaments, local handicraft, artisanal products, and, of course, traditional French food. The biggest Marchés de Noel can be found in the north eastern French state of Strasbourg. Traditional Christmas church service is held on Christmas Eve around midnight, hence being named the midnight mass. A French Christmas tradition is to make yule logs from cherry wood, and some even pour red wine onto the log so that it smells good when burning. Some French believe in letting the log burn through the night with a spread of food and drinks nearby, in case Mary and baby Jesus visit them during the night. The Christmas meal in France is called réveillon, which is usually eaten on the eve of Christmas or early Christmas morning (either before or after the midnight mass). The meal consists of roast turkey with chestnuts or roast goose, oysters, foie gras, lobster, venison and cheeses, followed by a sumptuous dessert of 

chocolate sponge log cake (bûche de noël), chocolates, nougat, and fruits. As January rolls around, the French celebrate Epiphany (La Fêtes des Rois), marking the end of Christmas!

That’s it for our first part! Come back tomorrow to see how more of the world celebrates Christmas. This article was written with heavy reference to WhyChristmas and we would like to thank them for sharing their bountiful knowledge on Christmas traditions around the world! Read more of our blogs here!

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