Christmas Around the World

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Most people in America know the Christmas tradition of having a Christmas tree with presents underneath. Then on December 25th, you open them with your family. In other countries around the world, they celebrate Christmas in their own way.

The Giant Lantern Festival is a big tradition in the Philippines. It takes place on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in San Fernando. Eleven villages compete in building the most complex lantern. When this tradition first started off they were simple lanterns made from Japanese origami paper. Now they are made of every material you can think of and light up in a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns. People from all over the world travel to see these magnificent lanterns.

In Sweden, a strange tradition takes place. A giant Yule Goat is built and put up in Gavles Castle Square. Every year people try to burn it down. Since 1966 the Goat has been put up in flames 29 times. The most recent time was in 2016.

In Germany St. Nicholas Day is like a sneak peek for Christmas morning. Every December 6th Nicolas is said to travel on a donkey and leaves little gifts to the good boys and girls. These little gifts are often chocolate or small toys. However, he also brings along Farmhand Rubert who punished the children who misbehave. What most children do since Nicolas travels at night is that they leave a boot out near the front door and he will fill them with treats and toys.

In Norway on Christmas Eve people hide their brooms. People believe that witches and evil spirits look for brooms to ride on. People still today hide their brooms so that they won’t be stolen in the night.

In Colombia, the day of the Little Candles starts at the beginning of the Christmas season. People place candles and lanterns in their windows, front doors, and lawn to honor the Virgin Mary. Some of the displays can be quite elaborate.

Russia doesn’t typically celebrate “Christmas” but they celebrate the New Year. In 1917 the Soviet Union banned Christmas as a religious holiday. In 1991 when the Soviet Union fell people were free to celebrate Christmas once again. However, since many started to just celebrate the New Year a lot of people still didn’t celebrate Christmas. The Christmas and New Year holidays are celebrated from December 31st to January 10th.

In Toronto, the Cavalcade of Lights kicks off the start of the Holiday season. The square and Christmas tree in Toronto is lit up of 300,000 lights that stay on when the sun isn’t out until January 1st. Also during that time period, many people enjoy watching the firework displays. It’s a sight to see in Toronto.

Every country has there own way of celebrating Christmas. In most places, the month of December and January are filled with joy as their traditions take place. December 24th Santa Clause will be delivering presents to all of the good boys and girls at least in the United States while other counties do their own style of Christmas. 

The Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines

Saint Nicholas bringing his presents to the good boys and girls

The Toronto light display

The Yule Goat in Sweden that is tried to set on fire