24 Dec 2020

Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World


Christmas is a festival celebrated by billions of people around the world. People look forward to Christmas time all year around, because for many it's their favourite time of the year. 


Although Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of the year, the festivities and traditions vary from country to country. 


Here’s a look at how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world:


Christmas in China


Here’s a fun fact, even though most of the plastic Christmas trees in the world are made in China, people in China barely buy them. Only 1% of the Chinese population actually celebrate Christmas. They call Santa Clause, ‘Sheng Dan Lao Ren’ which loosely translates to Old Christmas Man. 


A tradition that has become quite popular is giving apples on Christmas. This is because Chinese Christmas Eve is known as “Ping’an Ye” which means, peaceful or quiet evening (based on the famous Christmas carol - Silent Night), and this sounds very similar to the Mandarin word for apple which is "pínggu?".


More and more young people are celebrating Christmas by throwing parties and exchanging gifts. Chinese Christians diligently attend the Midnight Mass every year and sing carols. Sometimes the postman dresses up as Santa Claus to deliver mail on Christmas Day.

Christmas in the United States of America


As America is a melting pot of many different cultures, the way Christmas is celebrated in a particular state or town depends on its history, and the cultural and ethnic origins of the majority of the people living in the area. 


Some common traditions in most American households are decorating the Christmas Tree, Christmas Carolling, sending out Christmas cards, building gingerbread houses, drinking eggnog and decorating the outside of their houses with lights, Santa Clauses and reindeers. 


Many Americans attend special Christmas services at church to celebrate the birth of Jesus. One of the most popular Christmas spots in the world is the Rockefeller Center in New York, where there is a huge grandly decorated Christmas tree and an ice skating rink. In the Southwest USA, people take paper sacks filled with sand, place a candle in them and put it on the edges of paths. This is a symbolic representation of ‘lighting the way’ so Mary and Joseph can find a place to stay. In South Louisiana, people light bonfires along river banks to help Santa find his way to children’s homes. 

Christmas in Africa


Although Christmas traditions and celebrations in Africa vary by religion, culture and location, one common activity that takes place all over the country is families coming together for cookouts and having a big meal together. Christmas trees are decorated with little baubles including handcrafted African ornaments that add a cultural element to the trees.


In Nigeria, families throw parties that last almost all night long and in the morning they attend Christmas service at their local churches. Homes are well-lit and decorated, children play with firecrackers, while church choirs go from home to home singing carols. 


In Ghana, Christmas is celebrated from 20th December till a week past New Year’s with a variety of merry activities. Christmas eve is celebrated at church with services that include drumming and dancing that can sometimes last night long. Some celebrate Christmas with fireworks and parties. People in Ghana dress up in fancy traditional clothes, attend church ceremonies and return home to exchange gifts. 

The most beautiful time of the year is celebrated in many beautiful ways around the world. What makes this time even more special is being able to spend time with loved ones and celebrate them with presents. 


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