Around the Globe in 5 Joyous Christmas Traditions

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By: - October 13, 2023

The holiday season is a time for merriment, and around the globe, people celebrate in unique and diverse ways. While the core spirit of Christmas remains consistent—spreading joy, love, and good cheer—each culture adds its distinctive touch to the festivities. Let’s embark on a journey to explore five global Christmas traditions that truly capture the essence of this special season.

While the customs and rituals may differ, the core message of love, unity, and joy during this season is a thread that binds us all.

Las Posadas in Mexico

In Mexico, the Christmas celebrations begin with a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, known as “Las Posadas.” This tradition typically lasts for nine days, starting on December 16th. Communities come together to form a procession that travels from house to house, seeking shelter just as Mary and Joseph did. At each home, they are met with songs, prayers, and food. It concludes on December 24th with a grand fiesta and the breaking of piñatas.

Yule Lads in Iceland

Iceland celebrates Christmas with a dose of folklore and a touch of mischief. Yule Lads, the 13 sons of the troll Grýla, are believed to visit children on the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. Each Lad has his distinct personality and antics, from playing pranks to leaving gifts. In recent years, they’ve become less mischievous and more generous, leaving small gifts in children’s shoes. This tradition adds an extra layer of excitement to the holiday season in Iceland.

Diwali in India

In India, a culturally diverse nation, Christmas is celebrated with a unique blend of traditions. A notable aspect is the grand display of lights and fireworks, reminiscent of the Hindu festival of Diwali. Families adorn their homes with lamps and candles to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. While it may not be the primary religious festival in India, the country’s vibrant celebrations add a captivating dimension to the global Christmas tapestry.


Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines

The Philippines is renowned for its spectacular Giant Lantern Festival, locally known as “Ligligan Parul.” In the city of San Fernando, Pampanga, this tradition features enormous, intricately designed lanterns illuminated with multicolored bulbs. It’s a competition where different barangays (neighborhoods) strive to create the most dazzling lantern. The festival is a visual feast and a celebration of light, unity, and the Filipino Christmas spirit.

Kentucky Fried Christmas in Japan

Japan has its unique approach to celebrating Christmas, primarily influenced by clever marketing from KFC. A Christmas Eve meal often involves a “party barrel” of fried chicken from the renowned fast-food chain. The tradition began in the 1970s when KFC launched a successful holiday campaign, making it a staple of Japanese Christmas celebrations. Despite its fast-food origins, this tradition has become deeply ingrained in Japanese culture.

These global Christmas traditions remind us that the holiday spirit is universal, transcending borders and cultures. While the customs and rituals may differ, the core message of love, unity, and joy during this season is a thread that binds us all. This year, consider adding a touch of global flair to your own celebrations by incorporating some of these wonderful traditions from around the world.

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