Christmas Traditions: Christmas celebrations across the globe differ, but they all are characterized by common traits that typically include themes of evergreens, light, and a sense of hope. Most likely the most popular celebration in the world, Our modern-day Christmas is a result of hundreds of years of religious and secular traditions from across the globe, and many of them are focused on the winter solstice. Find out the roots of Christmas customs and practices worldwide, like those of the Yule tree, the caroling, and Candy canes, and discover how it is celebrated “Down Under.”
Sweden: ‘God Jul!’ Christmas Traditions
Most people in Scandinavian countries celebrate St. Lucia (also known as St. Lucy) each year on the 13th day of December. This celebration, known as St. Lucia Day, began in Sweden but has been extended across Denmark and Finland around the turn of the century.
In these countries, this holiday is considered the start of the Christmas season, and because of this, it is called “Little Yule.” Traditionally, the youngest daughter of every family gets up early and wakes up each of her siblings wearing a long, white gown with a sash of red and a crown composed of twigs and nine lit candles. On the day of the event, the girl is referred to as ” Lussi” or ” Lussibruden” (Lucy’s bride). The family is then served breakfast in a dining room lit by candles.
Christmas Traditions: Torchlights conducted fishing or shooting during St. Lucia Day, and many people lighted their homes. In the evening, men, children, and women carried torchlights to the parade. The night would end when everyone threw their torch on top of a massive pile of straw to create an enormous bonfire. In Finland, a girl is selected to serve as the nation’s Lucia and is celebrated by a parade where she is in the company of torchbearers.
The theme of light is the primary one in St. Lucia Day, as her name originates from the Latin word “lux,” meaning light. The day of her feast is observed on the lengthiest day of the year and when the sun’s rays begin to increase in strength. Lucia was a resident of Syracuse in the fourth century when religious persecution of Christians was common. Unfortunately, most of her life’s story is lost over the decades. According to a common myth, Lucia lost her eyes when Diocletian beat her because of her Christian convictions.
You Can Also See How Christmas Was Celebrated in the Middle Ages.
Finland: ‘Hyvaa Joulua!’
Many Finns take a trip to the sauna during Christmas Eve. Families gather to listen to the nationwide “Peace of Christmas” radio broadcast. It is tradition to visit the graves of the dead family members.
Norway: ‘Gledelig Jul!’
Norway is the place where it was born the Yule log. The old Norse utilized the Yule log to celebrate the celebration of the return of the sun during the winter solstice. “Yule” came from the Norse word well, which means wheel. In the past, the Norse believed that the sun was a massive wheel of fire that rolled across and away from Earth. Have you ever wondered why the fireplace in your family is the most essential element of the Christmas celebration? The tradition goes all the way to the Norse Yule log. It’s also to blame for acclaiming cakes, cheeses in the shape of records, and desserts during the holidays.
Germany: ‘Froehliche Weihnachten!’
The custom of decorating Christmas trees originates in Germany. Decorating evergreen trees has long been an element of German winter solstice celebration. First, “Christmas trees” explicitly decorated and named to honor the Christian celebrations were seen at Strasbourg (part of Alsace) beginning in the late 17th century. In 1750, Christmas trees started appearing throughout Germany, and more so in 1771, when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited Strasbourg and immediately included an ornamental Christmas tree in his novel The Story of Young Werther.
Mexico: ‘Feliz Navidad!’
In 1828 1828 1828, the American Minister to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, brought a green and red plant obtained from Mexico into America. Because its colors seemed appropriate for the new Christmas season, The plants were named poinsettias following Poinsett started appearing in greenhouses in 1830. Around 1870, New York stores began selling them during the Christmas season. In 1900, they had become a symbol for all of Christmas. Festive season.
In Mexico, papier-mache artifacts, pinatas, are filled with coins and candy and suspended on the roof. The children hit each pinota until it was broken, sending a torrent of candy onto the floor. Children race to get as many items as they can.
England: ‘Happy Christmas!’
It is possible to trace Christmas card designs back to England. An Englishman known as John Calcott Horsley helped popularize the practice of sending Christmas cards. Horsley began making small-sized cards with festive images and the holiday greeting pre-written in the 1830s. Modern, adequate postal office facilities in England and the United States made the cards a fast-paced success. Around the same time, similar cards were also made through R.H. Pease, the first American card maker in Albany, New York, and Louis Prang, a German who came to America in 1850.
Celtic and Teutonic peoples have long believed mistletoe possesses magical powers. It was thought to possess the ability to heal wounds and boost fertility. Celts hung mistletoe on their homes to bring luck and keep away evil spirits. When it was time for the holidays of the Victorian period in the Victorian era, people in English were known to hang small sprigs or mistletoe over the ceilings and indoors. If someone was found under the mistletoe, they could be kissed by another within the room, an act that was not typical during Victorian society.
Christmas pudding, Or “figgy pudding” or plum pudding, is an English recipe dating to the Middle Ages. Suet, flour, sugar, raisins, nuts, and spices are wrapped in a cloth and then boiled until the ingredients become “plum,” meaning they are large enough to cover the fabric. Then, it is unwrapped, cut like a cake, and topped with cream.
Caroling also started in England. The musicians would go from town to city, stopping at castles and wealthy homes. For their performances, musicians would hope to be offered food or cash.
In the United States and England, children put stockings up on their beds or close to an open flame on Christmas Eve, hoping it can be filled with goodies as they rest. In Scandinavia, like-minded countries, children also leave their shoes at the fireside. The tradition dates back to the legends of Saint Nicholas. The legend of Saint Nicholas tells about three sisters who were poor and couldn’t marry because they could not pay for the wedding dowry. St. Nick left each of the three sisters a gift with a gold coin to prevent their lives from being sold by their fathers.
France: ‘Joyeux Noel!’
In France the French, Christmas is known as Noel. The word comes from the French expression bonnes news, which translates to “the good news” and refers to the gospel.
In the South of France In southern France, people are known to burn logs in their families’ homes from December Eve to New Year’s Day. This results from an old custom that saw farmers utilize a piece of record to ensure luck for the following year’s harvest.
Italy: ‘Buon Natale!’
Italians refer to Chrismas as “Il Natale ” similarly, which translates to “the birthday.”
Australia: Christmas Traditions
In Australia, Christmas is celebrated during the summer months, and it’s not uncommon for some areas of Australia to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas Day.
In the summer, a warm and sun-filled Australian festive season, beach activities or outdoor BBQs can be a common sight. The traditional Christmas celebrations consist of family gatherings, sharing gifts, and an enticing turkey, ham, pork, seafood, or barbeque meal.
Ukraine: ‘Srozhdestvom Kristovym!’
Ukrainians cook a traditional 12-course dinner. The family’s children watch through the window, waiting for an evening star to rise, a signal to let the meal begin.
Canada: Christmas Traditions
The majority of Canadian Christmas customs are like those of America. United States. In the northwestern part of Canada, the Indigenous Inuits celebrate the winter holiday known as Sinck Tuck, which features celebrations with dancing and exchanging gifts.
Greece: ‘Kala Christouyenna!’
In Greece, most people believe in the kallikantzeri goblins, who seem to be causing trouble throughout the twelve Days of Christmas. Presents are typically exchanged on the 1st day of January, St. Basil’s Day.
The manger scene has become the main decoration of most Southern European, Central American, and South American nations. St. Francis of Assisi established the first live nativity in 1224 to explain Jesus’ birth Jesus to his followers.
According to reports from Captain John Smith, the first eggnog made by the United States was consumed in the 1607 Jamestown settlement. Nog is derived from”Grog,” which means any drink made from the rum spirit.