8 Christmas Celebrations around the World ...

By Talynn

8 Christmas Celebrations around the World ...

Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year! But for the millions of people that live in this world, there are many different ways of celebrating it. For most people, either their culture or their religious beliefs decide what Christmas traditions they will observe. Read on to find out some of them!

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A Belgium Christmas

A Belgium Christmas Photo Credit: Bruno Misseeuw

Looks like it's double the pleasure for the people of Belgium! On December 6th, "Sinterklauss" is celebrated which is basically a day celebrating Santa Claus. It is much like Christmas, where meals are shared and gifts are exchanged, but they also celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas day! How cool is that?


In Belgium, the celebration of Christmas is twofold. On December 6th, they celebrate “Sinterklauss”, which is a day dedicated to Santa Claus and is similar to Christmas in many ways. There is a shared meal and gifts are exchanged. On Christmas Day, the birth of Jesus is also celebrated.

In Belgium, the Christmas season is welcomed with many festive decorations. Many homes are decorated with Christmas trees, lights, and wreaths. Children often hang stockings on the fireplace mantle in anticipation of Sinterklauss. The streets are adorned with lights and decorations as well.

The Belgian Christmas season is a time of joy and celebration. People come together to celebrate the holidays and share in the festivities. It is a time for families to gather and enjoy the spirit of the season.


Finland Christmas

Finland Christmas Photo Credit: Hannhell

In Finland, Christmas is celebrated a lot like it is in the United States. Christmas is a family event, where close friends and family gather to share in the joys of love and togetherness. Most of their celebrating, however, is done on Christmas Eve. Visiting the cemeteries appears to be a common thing as well, and I read where the cemeteries are decorated beautifully this time of year! As you may or may not know, saunas are very much a thing in Finland. Still to this day, a trip to the sauna is tradition to get ready for church and visiting the graves of family members.


In Finland, Christmas is celebrated with family and close friends. It is a time of joy and love. On Christmas Eve, people often visit the cemeteries which are decorated with lights and flowers. Afterward, they go to church and then the sauna. Taking a sauna is a traditional way to get ready for the festivities. Christmas in Finland is also celebrated with singing and eating. Christmas dishes include ham, fish, and potatoes. People also enjoy drinking mulled wine and eating gingerbread. Gift giving is also part of the tradition, and Santa Claus is known as Joulupukki in Finland.


Hungry for a Hungarian Christmas?

Hungry for a Hungarian Christmas? Photo Credit: BlackS0ull

Hungary has one of the neatest Christmas traditions. It's a twist of the Belgium Christmas traditions. On the 6th of December, children clean their shoes and set them outside the door. Then Santa Claus or Father Christmas leaves a bag of candy and treats in their shoes. If they have been bad, he also leaves a golden birch, which is a symbol for a spanking, though they don't actually get spanked for it. It just reminds them to be better. Then, on Christmas Eve, the children go to relatives, or to the movies, while Jesus visits their houses. He brings the tree and presents, and decorates their tree with lots of good things to eat, like gold foil wrapped chocolates, and meringues. After a wonderful meal, the children get to see the tree for the first time, and dive into their goodies!


In Hungary, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th and is a time of joy and celebration. Traditionally, on the 6th of December, Hungarian children clean their shoes and leave them outside their doors. In the morning, they find a bag of candy and treats from Santa Claus or Father Christmas. If they have been naughty, a golden birch is left as a reminder to be better. On Christmas Eve, Jesus visits the houses, bringing the tree and presents to decorate it. The tree is filled with gold foil wrapped chocolates, meringues, and other treats. After a festive meal, the children get to enjoy the tree and all the goodies! This unique Hungarian Christmas tradition is sure to bring joy to any family.


Latvian Christmas, Where Some Say the First Tree Was Decorated

Latvian Christmas, Where Some Say the First Tree Was Decorated Photo Credit: masahiro miyasaka

Legends and stories are told and passed down for centuries, and somehow stories get crossed. So without much study and looking, I cannot be sure, but some say that the first tree to ever be decorated was in Latvia. Others argue Germany and so on, but who cares, as long as we get to enjoy the beautiful Christmas trees! What I did find intriguing about Latvian Christmas celebrations is that they celebrate the 12 days of Christmas starting on Christmas Eve. "Father Christmas" leaves a gift for each family member each night for 12 nights! Now, that's what I call making Christmas last!


Latvia is a small country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, and has a population of around 1.9 million people. Christmas is an important holiday in Latvia, and is celebrated in many different ways. One of the most unique aspects of Latvian Christmas celebrations is the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree. Some believe that this tradition began in Latvia, and that the first ever decorated Christmas tree was in Latvia. During the 12 days of Christmas, it is customary for families to exchange gifts, with "Father Christmas" leaving a gift for each family member each night. Latvian Christmas celebrations also include singing carols, baking traditional Latvian Christmas cookies, and attending special church services.


Russian Christmas

Russian Christmas Photo Credit: Jassy-50

During the days of the Soviet Union, Christmas was not celebrated much at all. New Year became the important time - a time when 'Father Frost' brought presents to all the children. When Communism ended, Christmas could be openly celebrated - on December 25th, or more often on January 7th. Why January 7th? Because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old 'Julian' calendar for religious celebration dates. Other than that, celebration of Christmas is relatively the same as the United States.


In Russia, the celebration of Christmas is a mix of both religious and secular traditions. Christmas Eve is a time of fasting and prayer, followed by the traditional 12-course meal. On Christmas Day, families gather to exchange gifts and enjoy a festive meal. The Russian Orthodox Church also celebrates the Nativity of Jesus on January 7th, which is the Julian Calendar date for December 25th. This is usually followed by caroling and the burning of a Yule Log. Christmas is also a time for decorating the home with traditional festive decorations like the Christmas Tree, which is often decorated with ornaments, tinsel, and lights.

Famous Quotes

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana

German Christmas

German Christmas Photo Credit: rjt208

What I found particularly interesting about German traditions was the "Advent wreath" which has four candles. Four weeks prior to Christmas, the first candle is lit, adding another every week. Manger scenes are very common German decorations, as well.


The Christmas season in Germany is filled with festive decorations, traditional foods, and unique customs. Germans put up Christmas trees and hang wreaths with four candles to mark the four weeks leading up to Christmas. During this time, families often create nativity scenes and exchange small gifts. On Christmas Eve, many Germans attend church services and then return home for a festive dinner. Popular dishes include roasted goose, carp, and potato dumplings. Afterward, families often gather around the Christmas tree and open presents. Other popular activities include attending Christmas markets, visiting a Christmas circus, and singing traditional carols.


Jewish Christmas (Better Known as Hanukkah)

Jewish Christmas (Better Known as Hanukkah) Photo Credit: elana's pantry

Hanukkah is a tradition that didn't start as a Christmas tradition, but has evolved to be something like that because of the dates of its celebration. Hanukkah began as an eight-day festival to celebrate the miraculous events that followed a revolt against those that opposed the Jews and desecrated their temple. Since then, Jewish families have combined Hanukkah and Christmas as one holiday.


Hanukkah is an eight-day festival celebrated by Jewish families around the world. It is also sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights, as it commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory over their oppressors. During Hanukkah, families light a menorah, exchange gifts, and play traditional games such as dreidel. This festival often coincides with the Christian celebration of Christmas, and many Jewish families combine the two holidays. For example, they may decorate their homes with both Christmas and Hanukkah decorations and exchange gifts on both days. Hanukkah is a time for families to come together and celebrate their faith and history.


All American Christmas

All American Christmas Photo Credit: ???

In the United States alone, there are many, many Christmas traditions that are observed - from the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to Saint Nick, Hanukkah, and mixtures of all three to other traditions - both cultural and religious to nothing at all. We all have our special way of making this time of year something that means everything to us. I believe that no matter whether someone says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" that we should remember that we all have rights, and not get offended over something so small as a greeting. Just step back and appreciate what this country was founded for - freedom!

Wishing you the very best holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas! Do you have a tradition you follow through because of your cultural heritage? Please, share with us!

Top Photo Credit: Christmas 2010

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I'm Latvian, and I have never in my life heard about us celebrating Christmas for 12 days. Though we do celebrate it for 3 days - 24, 25 and 26. And we have Advent wreath as Germans too. But one thing that is awesome in our traditions is that before receiving a gift you have to quote a poem, or sing a song, or do anything else to get your gift - for every gift you get. Merry Christmas :)

Interesting that the Advent wreath is common in Germany. That's actually a Catholic thing. I suppose there are plenty of German Catholics out there, I just wouldn't have thought it originated there.