Christmas Traditions Around The World

Friday, December 10, 2021

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the warm feelings and the joy that comes with it. For a few years, I've been doing a Christmas Around The World Series and I decided to do it again. I don't know about you, but I love learning about how others celebrate Christmas, be it in religious or non-religious ways. So today I have 3 unique and beautiful Christmas Traditions. (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

"In England, where I live, Santa brings presents on the 25th of December when we have turkey as the traditional Christmas meal. However, in Slovakia, where I grew up, the baby Jesus brings gifts on Christmas Eve. That evening, on the 24th of December, Slovaks open their Christmas presents. 
Before opening the presents, we would have our Christmas dinner. We would first say a prayer and wish each other Merry Christmas. Christmas dinner would start with a Christmas wafer (a thin wafer) which we ate with a teaspoon of honey and a clove of garlic. The combination may sound weird, but it's tasty. And it symbolizes health, as do the apple and a nut that each of us also gets. Once everyone tasted their fruits, the Christmas dinner was served. 
As typically for main meals in Slovakia, Christmas dinner also first starts with soup. A sour cabbage soup is the traditional Christmas soup. It is followed by potatoes salad and a fish - traditionally a carp. Once the dinner is finished, we would sing Christmas carols and gather around the Christmas tree. The most exciting part of the evening was coming - opening the Christmas presents that we had found under the Christmas tree!"

"Here in Belgium, there are many Christmas traditions! The first Christmas tradition of December is called Saint. Niklas (known as Saint Nicholas in English). This is when children all over Belgium leave shoes outside their door on the 5th December, and they wake up to it filled full of sweets and chocolate - a bit like a stocking!

We often go to Christmas Markets and go ice skating a lot, leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, everyone comes together and eats a big meal that starts with a drink. We then eat Yule Log for dessert (filled full of delicious chocolate, which is what Belgium is best known for). Then comes the fun part - we get to all open a present early! 

On Christmas Day, we all visit other family and friends and have another big meal. The meal on Christmas Day is usually seafood (It's Mussels from Brussels for a reason!) or Game meat. We then have another Yule Log and can relax until the New Year, which usually has more celebrations than Christmas."

"My family is from a Korean-American background and we live in California. We always love to make dumplings for Christmas. Although this isn't necessarily a tradition for Koreans living in Korea, we enjoy taking part in making dumplings for the holiday season because we get to freeze a ton to go into the New Year and start the year off well! We usually make these with my immediate family by buying dumpling skins from the local Asian grocery store, creating a meat and vegetable mix with seasoning, and stuffing the skins. We get creative and try to create fun designs for the dumplings. 

Eating rice cake soup on New Year is a Korean tradition and putting dumplings in the soup is a common practice. Making these dumplings for Christmas allows us to have dumplings throughout the holidays and well throughout the first month of the New Year. It brings our family together, gives us something to have fun with and be excited about together."

Chloe Choe from  Off Hour Hustle

What is your favorite Christmas tradition? 

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