Christmas Around the World

It’s the time of year when snow starts falling, people chop down trees in their natural habitats to put in their houses and cover them with lights and children wake up to see oversized socks over their fireplaces filled with candy. It’s Christmas, everyone! While in America these traditions are widely accepted as normal, other countries across the globe have completely different traditions.

In Pakistan, much like in America, people are known to go Christmas caroling from house to house, collecting money along the way to donate to charity. They go a little crazy on decorating by decorating their baby cribs; sometimes Pakistanis have crib competitions! Along with this, choirs sing hymns, and fireworks start off Bara Din, or “the big day.”

Haitians are similar to Americans in that they also cut down Christmas trees and have nativity scenes to go along with them. While Americans use giant socks, Haitians clean their shoes, fill them with straw, and place them outside in hopes of seeing them overflowing with presents in the morning. Children and adults of all ages are allowed to partake in drinking on this holiday. The most famous drink is anisette, which is made by putting anise leaves in rum, making it taste sweeter.

For the 15 percent of Christians that reside in Egypt, Christmas is celebrated on Jan. 7. During the time leading up to Christmas, called Kiahk, Egyptians partake in a vegan diet in preparation for the giant feast on Christmas Day, when they can indulge in all of the foods they restrained from.

The Japanese do not necessarily celebrate Christmas as the day of Christ’s birth. For them, it is a time to spread happiness and cheer. Christmas Eve in Japan is similar to Valentine’s Day; it’s a time to celebrate loved ones. Fried chicken is the indulgence for the Japanese on Christmas, along with Christmas cake, which is a sponge cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream. While lots of things differ, Americans get their tradition of sending and receiving Christmas cards and presents from the Japanese.

Austrians decorate Christmas trees, put them up in the middle of their towns, and listen to Christmas songs, just like Americans. Austrian children believe in the Christkind, which is a baby with blond hair and wings who is supposed to be like the newborn Christ. The Christkind is responsible for decorating the Christmas tree in some households.

Jamaicans love to spread Christmas cheer by spending time with family, listening to Christmas carols, and painting their houses along with adding new decorations. They are known for traditional fruitcakes, prepared months in advance by being doused in either red wine or white rum.

Christmas is a universal holiday filled with food, happiness and loved ones. Peering into the life of another country serves as a breath of fresh air and a good comparison to the traditions Americans hold dear on the most wonderful day of the year.


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