Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas Traditions Around the World

You’d be surprised at the different ways Christmas is celebrated around the world. From the usual Santa Claus to festival of lights to monsters and ice skating, we’re sharing a few ways this celebrated holiday is done around the world.

Krampus, Austria

Krampus represents a half goat/half demon horned figure who punishes children during the Christmas season when they’re misbehaved. Krampus Night is celebrated on December 5, considered the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Austria and other parts of Europe.

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You could say the Krampus is the exact opposite of Santa Claus who gives gifts and spreads goodwill to behaved kids.

Giant Lantern Festival and Simbang Gabi, Philippines 

The parol or star lantern is a Christmas symbol found in almost all Filipino households. In the town of San Fernando, Pampanga you can witness a Giant Lantern Festival featuring many colorful and bright lantern designs. San Fernando has earned the title of “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” as people come to see the majestic show of lights.

Another Filipino tradition is Simbang Gabi, a series of masses leading up to Christmas eve commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ and thanking him for the blessings bestowed upon them. Many attend the midnight mass and afterwards enjoy traditional delicacies such as bibingka, puto (rice cakes), puto bumbong, and suman.

patpat-nava
Photo by Patpat Nava

Three Kings Parade, Barcelona Spain 

The legend of the Three Kings of the Orient, Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchior  is that after the Kings came to Bethlehem on 5th January after following a heavenly star. While other countries have started to wind down their Christmas holidays during the first week of January, people in Spain are preparing to buy gifts, prepare feasts and enjoy the twinkling Christmas lights. Families come together to exchange presents, indulge in sweet treats and celebrate in the streets as they eagerly await January 5th and 6th when the Kings appear and give gifts to the children. Children and adults line the streets of Barcelona on January 5th to see the much anticipated parade.

Photo by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble Flickr
Photo by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble Flickr

Rockefeller Center, New York

New York is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas. Here you can witness the lighting of the 78-foot, 10-ton Norway Spruce tree with over 45,000 LED lights. This yearly event is free and everyone is welcome to watch.

Photo by Angelo Amboldi (Flickr)
Photo by Angelo Amboldi (Flickr)

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