Christmas Traditions Around The World

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas is such a joyful time of the year and probably the most loved holiday of them all. Some people focus more on the religious part of celebrating Christmas, others enjoy the Santa Clause version while there are those who combine the two. What makes Christmas so special are all the traditions that go with it. Each country, town, and family have different traditions that make this time of the year so magical. 

If you ever wondered how other countries celebrate Christmas then you are at the right place. The variety of traditions out there is incredible. Today I'm sharing with you 4 unique traditions from 4 different countries. They are all interesting and special in their own way. 



"Yeah!! Christmas is the most joyful festival to celebrate across the globe, as well as in Malaysia. There are some unique ways of Christmas celebration by the Malaysians. One of them is to give out red packets (also known as ang pao) as Christmas gifting among the Malaysians. This is influenced by the Chinese communities among the Malaysians giving this monetary gift (ang pao) which is usually practiced during the annual Chinese New Year celebration. We, Malaysians love to keep things in a more practical way, so the receiver of the ang pao can buy their own self whatever he/ she wants. Don't you agree this is a thoughtful Christmas gift idea? 

The next unique way of celebration is most of the shopping malls here will be with beautiful Christmas decorations & Christmas trees set up, some even with a giant Christmas tree. In recent years, some malls even creatively have the white foam & bubbles falling from the top to create a white winter Christmas magical feel for its customers to enjoy the exciting Christmas vibes. 

Similarly, all Malaysians will reunite with family members and friends to bond over a hearty Christmas feast, of course, must have a roasted Turkey as one of the dishes and enjoy catching up together gather at the dining table. Also not to forget enjoy some lovely Christmas treats ~ The Christmas tree cake and Christmas themed cupcakes, read more HERE"

~ by Sienny from SiennyLovesDrawing


"Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas in New Zealand is vastly different to so many places in the world. As well as being summer, New Zealand is full of so many different cultures and influences, which means our Christmas Traditions change from family to family. But generally speaking, a 'classic Kiwi Christmas' means spending the day outside with the family. 

The hot sun is (nearly) always shining, the sunscreen has been slip-slop-slapped on everyone multiple times during the day, the hats are donned, and the jandals (what we call flipflops) are either making that gentle thwack-thwack sound as people pad along with the outside decks, or they've been tossed aside altogether as everyone opts for bare feet( and then spends the afternoon pulling prickles out of them).

Many kiwis leave their homes for Christmas, usually heading to their baches (holiday homes) by the water - the beach, the lake, the rivers - and many of our largest cities clear out for the week. It's a day of BBQing, lawn games, constant eating, taking a swim, getting the boat out, a cold beer or sangria in one hand, and ice cream in the other. It's not like the Christmas-card Christmases at all, in fact, most of our Christmas cards have Santa dressed in stubbies (really short shorts), sunglasses, and a hat, holding a beer on the beach, while the reindeer splash about in the ocean.

Boxing Day is often people’s shopping day and everyone hits the malls. But my family has always opted instead for taking all the Christmas Day leftovers to the park for an extended-family picnic which again, results in sunscreen, hats, lawn games, and more of those summery things. It’s a bit chaotic; someone will always get sunburnt, fall off the paddleboard, undercook the meat, drop a tray of mince pies, or stand on something they shouldn’t have when they’re not wearing shoes, but it’s still the most wonderful of the year." 

~ by Anjali from This Splendid Shambles


"Christmas in Greece is a special time of year. There are many different traditions unique to Greek culture. Greeks celebrate the 12 days of Christmas beginning on Christmas day and lasting until the Epiphany on January 6th. The most surprising difference about Christmas in Greece is that they only began decorating Christmas trees in recent years. Traditionally they put up lights and decor on their fishing boats. The Christmas table is adorned with countless dishes. The main dish is a roasted pig. Christ’s bread or “Christopsomo” is also atop the table. 

Another unique custom to Greece is that gifts are exchanged on New Year’s Eve. The Greek version of Santa Claus is Saint Basil whose saint’s day is celebrated on January 1st. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, school children go around to the houses in their village signing “kalanta” or Christmas carols. It is expected that they are rewarded with a few coins or some Christmas cookies. Greeks bake two types of Christmas cookies; kourabiedes and melomakarona. Kourabiedes are almond butter cookies topped with mounds of powdered sugar. Melomakarona is honey-soaked cookies with walnuts. 

For Greeks, New Year’s Eve is all about luck. Family members play a card game called 31, similar to Blackjack. Also on New Year’s Eve, the family will cut a “Vasilopita” bread. The baker hides a coin in the bread. Whoever gets the slice with the coin or wins the card game will be the lucky family member for the year. With luck comes superstition. It is said that the first person to enter your home in the New Year must enter with their right foot. This person determines the family’s luck for the year. 

During the 12 days of Christmas, “kalikatzaroi” or little goblins resurface on earth causing mayhem. It is important to fend off the evil spirit of “kalikatzaroi” by keeping the yule log burning or inviting a priest to bless your house. On the last day of Christmas on January 6th, young boys and girls gather at the harbors to dive for the Epiphany cross. A priest tosses the cross into the sea to bless the waters and honor Jesus’s baptism. Whoever retrieves it from the icy waters is blessed for the rest of the year."

~ by Anna from Unraveling Wine


Simbang Gabi - A Filipino Tradition (9 Novena Masses)

Simbang Gabi or the 9 Novena masses started during the Spanish colonization in the Philippines. Attending the mass at the early hour of 5am started to consider farmers and fishermen to hear the mass before going to the farm or sea. The Simbang gabi usually starts on Dec 15 until Dec 23.  While it originally started as a 5am mass it has become flexible that masses are also held in the evening.

The 9 novena masses homily talks about the story and life of Jesus before He was born. It is the time that Catholics prepare for His arrival to honor His birth and where He was born. It has been a tradition that is recognized around the world and by the Vatican. 

It is believed that when you completed the Simbang Gabi your wish will be granted, but more that it is a way of giving thanks and honoring the birth of Jesus Christ. After the 9 Novena masses are completed at midnight of  24th Misa de Gallo is celebrated or rooster mass. It is the welcoming of Jesus Christ on earth.

Another tradition accompanied by Simbang Gabi is eating a traditional delicacy Puto Bumbong. A purple rice cake serve and sold after the mass and enjoyed it while it's hot. ( Until now, despite the current situation churches are still able to hold the Simbang Gabi with limited attendees, and while most attend and hear the mass via streaming. 

~ by Jeannie Managa from The Running Baker 24

Thank you to all of those who participated in making this post! 

What Christmas tradition is unique to your country? 
Do you have any family Christmas traditions? 

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