The Christmas season keeps many people busy. For some people, it involves shoveling snow off the road, but for most, it means buying gifts, preparing food, and enjoying the holidays with our loved ones. Though not all countries celebrate Christmas due to religious restrictions, some countries take advantage of the holidays to be free to have fun.
Here are some interesting Christmas tidbits from around the globe:
Christmas in the United Kingdom seems like the holiday celebration epitomized in movies and TV shows: snow, lots of Christmas lights, decorated trees on display windows, and festive food. One unique tidbit about Christmas in the United Kingdom is that the monarch broadcasts his or her Christmas message to the people during Christmas day itself, usually when people are eating their main Christmas meal during lunch. The English celebrate Christmas for a long time. In fact, Boxing Day or the 26th of December, being considered as another holiday, began in the United Kingdom.
The Christmas season is longest celebrated in the Philippines. The countdown to the 25th of December starts as early as September, when the -ber months begin, and the holiday cheers end in January of the next year. Filipinos hold Simbang Gabi, which literally translates to Night Mass, at dawn. It is a custom of attending mass very early in the morning for nine consecutive days. People believe that completing the nine-day mass can grant the mass-goer’s wish. Another custom is the Noche Buena, which refers to Christmas Eve. It is a night of binge-eating while waiting for the clock to strike midnight.
Majority of the population in Brazil is Christian, so Christmas is also a religious celebration in the country. Like the Philippines, Brazilians also hold nine masses called Misa de Gallo (Roster’s Mass), but the masses are held at midnight and finishes at 1 a.m.
Brazil’s climate is quite hot during the holiday season, unlike most countries experiencing cold climate in December, so people enjoy going to beaches during Christmas.
In Japan, Christmas is a secular celebration so December 25 is not considered a national holiday. Still, the Japanese celebrate the holiday season by getting together with their families or strolling under colorful Christmas and city lights with their partners.
While in some countries families put effort into preparing home-cooked meals for Christmas, in Japan, Christmas means getting a bucket of KFC. Having a KFC bucket for Christmas has become a tradition in Japan since the successful ad campaign in the ‘70s. Then, KFC played with its acronym and sold the “Kentucky For Christmas” buckets.
Like Brazil, Christmas also gets hot in Australia. (In fact, it’s the summer holidays for children going to school in the land Down Under.) People celebrate by getting together for a barbeque on the beach. At times, you may spot a snowman made of sand or a kangaroo in place of the red-nosed Rudolph.
Cooper, James. (2016). Christmas Around the World. Retrieved from http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/
Jobin, Martinique. How 13 Different Countries Celebrate Christmas. Elite Daily.
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Rennie is a writer and editor with quite a background in the ESL industry. For the most part, she's an ordinary office girl; but once you talk to her, you'll discover that she's a mind-wanderer.