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Christmas Traditions Around The World

People love routines, clichés, and traditions. There is a comforting feeling about traditions, especially if we can keep them up. It’s that sense of comfort that despite the changes happening around us, we can always hold on to things that remain constant. We have annual feasts and anniversaries to remind us that even if the year renews, there is always a day in the year that will be the time for traditions.

One of the most celebrated traditions all over the world is Christmas. For the countries that are mostly Christian, it is the time to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ but there is a crisp story about Christmas that will always be retold generation after generation around the World.

Christmas is the celebration of a birth of a boy who was birthed in the manger. This boy grew up to be the savior of humanity and the son of the Almighty God. Three kings traveled the desert to bring gifts to the child to whom animals and shepherd who witnessed the birth all bowed down. Christmas was born into the world, celebrated by millions, together with the different traditions, which often vary from country to country. Some revolve around the birth of Jesus, while others do not. Let us travel the world and get to know these traditions!

The Philippines

The Philippines celebrate Christmas the longest. For the country, Christmas starts on the first ‘ber months’- September. Christmas lights will start to light the streets, while Christmas songs will start to echo shopping malls and coffee shops.

The giant lantern festival in Pampanga, Philippines

One of the well-known traditions in the Philippines is the ‘simbang gabi’, a mass celebrated at dawn, 9 mornings before Christmas. They have this belief that the Almighty Father will grant them one wish if they complete all nine mornings. They also have a Lantern Festival that is held in Pampanga. It showcases gigantic star-shaped lanterns, which symbolizes the star that guided the three kings to the manager.

Christmas is really special and very much celebrated in the Philippines.

Australia

Christmas is usually marked by the cold breeze and cold temperature- but not in Australia. Christmas in the land down under falls on a summertime. They don’t get to experience the traditional Christmas drink, hot cocoa. They have golden Christmas instead of the highly popularized White Christmas.

Australians celebrate Christmas mostly on the beach- the most popular one is the Bondi Beach. They tan their way into Christmas while enjoying barbecue and beer. And since it’s usually dry, they hold different outdoor music festivals.

People celebrating Christmas in Bondi Beach

One of the highly anticipated events in Australia is Carols by the Night where people come together at night, light a candle, and sing Christmas carols.

Norway

Christmas is the time for giving and generosity. This is also a culture in Norway, but they are selfish about one thing-broom. That’s right, they will not give anyone who asks for a broom. They believe that witches and evil spirits will come out during this day. These witches will then steal brooms from houses to ride on. That is why, they hide their brooms in the most secure places so that no one will steal them, and denying the evil a mode of transportation.

Venezuela

Venezuela, like other Christian countries, goes to church on Christmas Eve. But Caracas, Venezuela has a different approach to the annual mass. Churchgoers will roller-blade their way to local churches. It may sound silly from a perspective of an outsider, but these people are intensely committed to this tradition. It is so popular in the entire city that other streets will be closed hour before and after Christmas Eve to accommodate the churchgoers.

Venezuelans skating their way to the church on Christmas Eve

After the mass, people will go home to enjoy dinner with families. One of the highlighted menus is the tamales, a steamed wrap made out of cornmeal dough that is stuffed with meat. Maybe the roller-blading is just another way to burn extra calories so they can make more room for those delicious tamales.

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