12 Christmas Traditions From Around the World - Hope 103.2

12 Christmas Traditions From Around the World

Find out about Christmas celebrations from around the world including a few you can incorporate into your own Christmas celebrations.

By Hope 103.2Tuesday 14 Dec 2021ChristmasReading Time: 4 minutes

12 Christmas Traditions From Around the World…

We’ve pulled together a list of Christmas traditions from around the world. We may not be able to travel much right now but we can still explore the way others celebrate this time of year.

1. Ligligan Parul, The Philippines, is said to lead the world in celebrating Christmas with the longest and most lavish celebrations. The biggest celebration being the Ligligan Parul – Giant Lantern Festival – in San Fernando featuring parols (ornamental lanterns) to symbolise the star of Bethlehem. Each parol consists of thousands of spinning lights.


2. KFC, Japan. Although Japan doesn’t technically celebrate Christmas it has become a tradition for families to have KFC on Christmas Day together. Ever since a 1974 KFC marketing campaign, you’ll often find people ordering months in advance or standing in lines for two hours to get their Christmas KFC dinner.


3. Christmas Porridge, Norway, Finland and Sweden. All three of these countries have the tradition of Christmas rice porridge on Christmas day or sometimes on Christmas eve. The porridge is made with one almond hidden in the pot, whoever finds the almond is said to have good fortune for the following year.

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4. Red Candle, Ireland. People in Ireland will leave a red candle to represent a sign of welcome to those who may want to visit over Christmas. Many will leave three red candles in the window to represent a welcome to Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, along with an unlocked door should they arrive after the family was asleep.


5. Pastorelas (Shepherd’s Plays), Mexico. Each year the Pastorelas, which are dramas of the nativity and are often performed throughout Mexico, from small towns to the big cities, recreate the passages where the Shepherds follow the star to find Jesus – but in order to reach the redeemer they experience changes in fortune, and confront the devil who is trying to stop them from completing their journey until Archangel Michael intervenes to defend the shepherds.


6. La Fête des Rois, France. La Fête des Rois is also known as Three Kings Day and marks the end of the Christmas season in France on January 6. Traditionally, it was to celebrate the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. These days the festive event is when families gather for Galette des Rois, Kings Cake, and to enjoy fun activities. One piece of the cake will hold a Feve (bean) in it and whoever has the Feve in their slice of cake is crowned king or queen for the day.


7. Kahk Cookies and Holy Nativity Fast, Egypt. Not many celebrate Christmas in Egypt but those who do often celebrate Christmas on January 7, with special Christmas Eve services on January 6. Some will participate in the Holy Nativity Fast between 25 November to January 6 with fasting from any products that come from animals. Then, on January 7, they will have the family Christmas feast which includes meat and other foods with butter, etc. One food traditionally eaten together is Kahk – sweet spiced cookies also eaten at Easter and Eid.


8. Noche de las Velitas also known as the Night of the Little Candles, Columbia, is a celebration on December 7 to mark the beginning of Christmas. Columbians will illuminate their homes and streets with white and coloured candles in patterned paper lanterns. Over time the celebrations have started to include fireworks, music and local markets.


9. Christmas spider, Ukraine. In Ukraine, you’ll often find ornamental spiders/spider webs in the Christmas trees, often made out of beautiful beads. There are a few various legends about how this tradition started. The one thing that links them all is the belief that spiders are lucky and it will bring good fortune for the upcoming year.


10.Sternsinger and Christmas Markets, Germany. Sternsinger translates roughly into star singers and it is when young kids dress up as the three wise men and go around the neighbourhood with a star on a rod to sing Christmas carols and spread cheer. Also, sometimes done in Austria. The Christmas markets are so well known in Germany, Switzerland and Austria that they have inspired Christmas markets around the world. It is thought to originate in the German speaking parts of Europe back in the Middle Ages.


11. Christmas cracker, UK. Also a tradition here in Australia, the Christmas cracker started in the UK and is the home to the Guinness World Record for the longest Christmas cracker chain.


12. Zampognari Bagpipe-playing shepherds perform in the squares of Italy. Dating back to the Roman times, every Christmas, the Zampognari play bagpipes throughout Italy from the small towns to the Piazza of Rome.


Check back tomorrow on our 12 Days of Christmas Page for 12 Books to Read this Christmas Break.