A holiday celebrated in many countries around the Globe, Christmas is associated with an atmosphere of joy and happiness. The traditions surrounding this festive season are many times touching and inspiring. Let’s take a look at the most fascinating ones:
In some Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, but also in other countries like Bosnia and Croatia, Christmas celebrations last a whole month. The kickoff is given on December 13th – the day of Saint Lucia, patron saint of light, when processions are held. The participants are dressed in white and have crowns of candles on their heads. The end of the holidays’ season comes on January 13th, when Christmas trees are taken down.
A special Christmas tradition, the Posada is held from December 16th to December 24th in the Mexican villages. Villagers walk from house to house in small groups, recreating the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. During the festivities, they pray, recreate Nativity scenes, and sing, while the children are invited to break piñatas (nicely decorated objects filled with treats).
The most Catholic country in the whole Asia, the Philippines celebrate Christmas with a tradition called “the crow of the cock”. Each evening, people light in front of the houses a star-shaped lantern that recalls that of David who guided the Three Wise Men.
Spanish people have their own way of celebrating Christmas. For instance, what do you think they do on the holiday’s eve, on December 22nd? They watch the Loteria de Navidad draw live on TV and check their numbers to see if they if they got a part of the €2,24 billion prize fund. The Spanish Christmas Raffle, locally known as «Gordo de Navidad» or «Sorteo de Navidad» has been held every year since 1812. Tickets are put on sale in July so that everybody has time to buy their share. What is even more interesting is that buying Spanish Christmas Raffle tickets is a common gift for family and friends.
In Ireland, Santa Claus is offered a Guinness, a glass of whiskey or a meat pie. The Irish really know how to put on a feast: the festivities begin at the pub on the evening of December 24th, and they go on until the hour of midnight mass rings. Celebrations continue until the 26th, which is spent with the family, at the horse races or … going back to the pub for a drink.
The United Kingdom
The Brits were the first ones to have exchanged Christmas cards. It is also in the UK that the tradition of the Secret Santa began. Every year, the When You Wish Upon A Star Foundation (the British equivalent of the Children’s Wish Foundation) organizes a Santa Claus race! These are just some highlights of what it means to spend Christmas in the UK.