Christmas Celebrations 2021 Across the Globe
By: Shahzad Bashir
Christmas celebration is one of the important festivities of winter. People start waiting for the winter holidays so that they can start preparation for Christmas. It is a festival that is celebrated in the commemoration of Jesus Christ. Christmas is celebrated around the world with religious and cultural frivolousness. Christmas celebrations in each country vary according to their culture. In many countries, different brands offer sales so that people can buy products at cheap rates for Christmas celebrations. Different traditions of Christmas include decorating the Christmas tree with lights, different advent bands, candy canes, and giving people milk and cookies. People go to Churches to listen to religious sermons. Moreover, in families, people give Christmas cards and gifts and arrange a lavish feast for each other.
In the hustle and bustle of life, this occasion is a great time to meet extended families. Apart from the elders, children are also very excited about this occasion. They wait for Santa Claus, who will come to give them gifts. In many countries, Christmas is celebrated on Dec 25th but do you know that Orthodox Christians celebrate it on Jan 7? Are you curious to know how Christmas is celebrated in different countries? Let’s find it out!
Christmas Celebration in China
In China, only one percent of people are Christian. Therefore, they don’t celebrate it like the West. Moreover, Christmas is celebrated in major cities. The hotels and shopping malls of the city are decorated with lights and Christmas trees. You can also see Santa Claus standing at various places. In China, they are known as Shengdan Laoren.
Postmen also dressed in Santa Claus attire. Christmas parties have become a new trend in China. Young people attend these parties and give a gift to each other, just like they do on Valentine’s Day. In China, Christmas trees are made of plastic, and they are usually decorated with paper chains, paper lanterns, and paper flowers. You will be amazed to know that all the Christmas decorations which are in plastic are manufactured in China, however they don’t use these decorations like the West.
One of the important traditions of Christmas in China is giving apples on Christmas Eve. In shopping malls, apples are wrapped in colored paper and are made available for sale. People of China don’t understand Carol singing but still few of them go for this. The famous Christmas song in China is known as Jingle bells. People of China also go for midnight mass services.
Christmas Celebration in the USA
The United States of America is called a melting pot. Different ethnic groups reside there, making it a multicultural country. Because of multiple cultures, the Christmas celebration in the USA is like the celebrations of Italy, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Mexico, and the UK. Some of the American people decorate the Christmas tree with a pop-corn threaded string. They also make gingerbread for Christmas celebrations. One of the famous Christmas drinks in the USA is Eggnog. American Christians go to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Therefore, many churches have special Christmas carol services. They tell the story of Christmas in these services.
In some states of the USA, there are special Christmas shops that sell Christmas toys and decorations all over the year. Americans also love to send Christmas cards and Carol singing to their loved ones. One of the strange customs of Christmas is having a Christmas pickle. Some Americans decorate their houses with lights however, others decorate them with Santa Claus, Reindeer, and Snowmen. They also leave the milk with cookies as a snack for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. American cities and towns are decorated with lights. The most famous Christmas Streetlights are Rockefeller Center in New York. It is a huge Christmas tree with a public ice-skating rink.
Christmas Celebration in the UK
Do you know that in the UK, people celebrate Christmas together? Therefore, they can see each other opening the presents. Many families decorate one or two Christmas trees in their homes for the Christmas celebration. The entire family decorates the tree together. The Christmas trees got popularity in the UK by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. In the UK, people use Mistletoe, Ivy, and Holly to decorate buildings and homes. On Christmas, villages, towns, and cities are decorated with Christmas lights. The person with the authority switches these lights. One of the most famous Christian lights in the UK are installed on Oxford Street in London. It is getting bigger with time.
Many people go to watch the big switch at the beginning of November. Many British churches in the UK go for Christingle services and Carols by candlelight. One of the famous UK carol services is the service of nine lessons and Carols. It is held on Christmas Eve by the chapel of King’s College Cambridge.
There is another custom of Santa Claus and Father Christmas to leave gifts for children in pillowcases. They are placed by children’s beds or hung by the fire. On the other hand, children put mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas to eat and drink. They put on a non-alcoholic drink because Santa drives the sleigh.
Christmas Celebration in Canada
Unlike the USA, Canada is also a multicultural country. Therefore, many Christmas traditions followed there. Many traditions that are followed are impacted by the tradition of French, Irish, English, Scottish, German, Norwegian, French, and Ukrainian. Canadian people like to send Christmas Cards to their acquaintances. Many people open their gifts on Christmas Eve. However, some wait for Christmas day to open the gifts. They decorate their houses with lights and Christmas trees. Moreover, they hang stockings by the fireplace for Santa. Their favorite Christmas meal is roast Turkey. It is served with mash potatoes and vegetables. Any festival is incomplete without desserts. Their favorite Christmas dessert is mincemeat tarts, puddings, and Christmas plum. Christmas Crackers are also popular in Canada. Canadian people also love to eat rich fruit Christmas cake on this occasion.
People that have migrated from different countries make desserts according to their cultures. If there is snow on Christmas then people love to go skiing, tobogganing, and skating. Unlike other countries, Canadian children also love Santa Claus. Moreover, according to Canadian people, Canada is the home of Santa Claus. Do you know that Santa Claus Parade in Toronto is one of the largest and oldest Santa parades in the world? Its history is dated back to 1913 when Santa was taken out from the streets of Toronto. Children marched along with Santa. It has been done for 100 years. At present, it has become one of the largest events. 25 animated floats and 2000 people take part in it. People watch this parade from the TV broadcast.
Christmas Celebration in Denmark
People of Denmark start exchanging gifts from the start of December. They exchange gifts on all four Sundays. Denmark is famous for advent candles and calendars. Do you know that Koenders is a calendar candle and most of the Dutch people have one of these types of candles? Another amusing thing, a Pakkekalender which is a gift calendar is a very interesting method of counting the days for Christmas Eve. Moreover, there are 24 small gifts for the children till Christmas day.
They start doing parties from 1st of November till 24 December. They enjoy the winter and Christmas season immensely. The people of Denmark bake cakes and biscuits during that season. The most favorite of them is Gingerbread vanilla cookies.
In Denmark, people go to Church service on Christmas day. The old tradition of Denmark is that people also like to give treats to animals on Christmas Eve, so they go for a walk and give food to animals and birds in the woods. Moreover, you can also go for a walk so that you can get a good appetite for the Christmas feast. The Christmas feast is decorated on a beautiful table. The delicious Denmark foods include pork, goose, and roast duck. They are served with red cabbage, beetroot, boiled sweet potatoes, and cranberry jam sauce.
In desserts, they make rice pudding which is made of milk, rice, almonds, whipped cream, and vanilla. The almonds are chopped. The person that finds the whole almond gets a present called Mandelgave. Traditionally, the gift was a marzipan pig. You must be wondering how the pig can be gifted. It is in the form of a toy or sweet.
After having a meal, they lit the Christmas tree lights. People dance and sing carols around the tree. At that time, they open their gifts. The Christmas tree has a silver or gold star on the top. Moreover, it has silver fairy hair that glitters. Denmark children think that their presents are brought by the Julemanden who is a Yule Man or a Christmas Man. He resembles Santa Claus and also travels with reindeer and sleighs.
Christmas Celebration in Germany
The Christmas celebrations in Germany are of Advent type. People use advent calendars at home. In Germany, Christmas trees hold great significance. Initially, they were used in Germany in the late Middle Ages. If children are present at home, then mothers decorated the Christmas trees secretly. Moreover, it is the tradition of Germany that they bring the Christmas tree in the house on Christmas Eve. In different parts of Germany, people read the Bible and sing Christmas songs. They also put wooden frames, with colored plastic sheets and electric candles. They are put in windows so that they look pretty from the outside.
German people prefer to exchange gifts on Christmas day. German markets are very famous, and they sell all sorts of Christmas decorations and food. Glass ornaments are the famous decoration used by Germans. Dutch people have never heard about Christmas pickles. In the southeast part of Germany, Children write a letter to Christkind to give them Christmas gifts. The letter which is written to Christkind is closed with sugar glue. It also makes it presentable. The children put the letter on the windowsill at the beginning of the Christmas season.
Do you know that Christkind is translated as The Christ Child in English, but Germans don’t consider Christkind a baby? According to them, Christkind is a young girl with the qualities of Christ. In Nurnberg, they select a young girl that can participate in the parade and represent Christkind. In workplaces, school, and college parties, people exchange gifts secretly. The room is opened so that people can throw the gifts inside the room. The presents are then passed around to one another until the present is forwarded to the right person. It is considered bad if you try to find who sent the gift.
Christmas Celebration in Egypt
15% of people that live in Egypt are Christian. Only these people celebrate Christmas as a religious occasion. The important thing to note about Egyptian Christian is that they belong to the Coptic Orthodox church and their Christmas traditions are very unique. In most of the countries in the world, Christmas is celebrated on 25th Dec but in Egypt due to Orthodox Christianity, they celebrate it on 7th January. The month before Christmas is called Kiahk. During this month, people sing special songs on Saturday nights before the Sunday service. 43 days before Christmas, which is from 25th to 6th Jan, Orthodox Christians observe a special fast in which they can only eat a vegan diet. This means they don’t eat food that comes from animal-like chicken, beef, eggs, and milk. This special fast is called the Holy Nativity Fast. If any person is weak, then he is exempted from fasting.
On 6th January, on Christmas Eve, people visit Church for a special religious ritual. These services normally start at 10:30 pm, but in some churches, people can start praying at 10:00 pm. Apart from religious rituals, you can also meet your family and friends in the chapels that are open from 9:00 pm. These services get finished after midnight, however, some people stay at chapels till 4:00 am.
After the Christmas services, people go to their homes to eat a Christmas feast. They can eat all the foods that are forbidden during their fasts. One of the important dishes of the feast is lamb soup. It contains boiled lamb meat, garlic, rice, and bread. People visit the homes of their relatives to enjoy the festivities of Christmas. They take with them Kahk, special sweet biscuits, as a gift.
Christmas is the event that comes at the end of the year. People from all around the world work hard the entire year and wait for Christmas and new year celebrations. During that time they relax, meet family and friends and enjoy the festivities of Christmas. How do you celebrate Christmas?