Different holiday celebrations around the World
The holidays are already here, how exciting!
We are all shopping for Christmas presents, getting ready to spend Christmas day with family, boxing day shopping…But have you ever wondered how the holidays are celebrated in other parts of the world?
Jews celebrate Hanukkah instead, also known as the festival of lights. It commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.
In China there aren’t any festivities in December, as their New Year starts at the end of January and celebrations go on for a month.
Kwanzaa is a week-long annual celebration held in the United States and other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas to honor African heritage in African-American culture. It is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in gift-giving and a feast.
Ōmisoka is a Japanese traditional celebration on the last day of the year. Traditionally, it was held on the final day of the 12th lunar month. With Japan’s switch to using the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, December 31 (New Year’s Eve) is now used for the celebration.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe and La Morenita, is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a Marian apparition and a venerated image enshrined within the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The basilica is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, and the world’s third most-visited sacred site.
Also quite interesting, even in countries where Christmas is celebrated, traditions are quite different. For example, the Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) is held each year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando – the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.” In Sweden, a 13-meter-tall Yule Goat has been built in the center of Gävle’s Castle Square for the Advent. In Austria, a beast-like demon creature roams the city’s streets frightening kids and punishing the bad ones.
Christmas has never been a big deal in Japan. Aside from a few small, secular traditions such as gift-giving and light displays, Christmas remains largely a novelty in the country. However, a new, quirky “tradition” has emerged in recent years – a Christmas Day feast of the Colonel’s very own Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 tricksy troll-like characters come out to play in Iceland. The Yule Lads visit the children across the country over the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. For each night of Yuletide, children place their best shoes by the window and a different Yule Lad visits leaving gifts for nice girls and boys and rotting potatoes for the naughty ones.
Perhaps one of the most unorthodox Christmas Eve traditions can be found in Norway, where people hide their brooms. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries to when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. To this day, many people still hide their brooms in the safest place in the house to stop them from being stolen.
What do you think? Do you know of any other Christmas traditions around the world?