Christmas Traditions Around the World

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Christmas is celebrated all around the world. While it had become a holiday of commerce, for many of us, it is still a time to honor traditions. It is so interesting to learn about the traditions of different cultures, especially when they are so different from our own. Here is a fun guide to some of the unusual ways that Christmas is celebrated in 5 different countries around the world:

Serbia
Here it’s not tradition to give presents at Christmas, but on the Sundays before. Two Sundays before Christmas Day, the children tie up their mom. She then has to give her children their gifts in order to be freed. The following Sunday the same happens with dad.

Italy
A good witch called La Befana delivers children’s presents on January 6th using a broomstick rather than a sleigh. But if you’ve been bad – expect lumps of coal.

Scandinavia
Here there is a gnome like character called Tomte in Sweden and Nisse in Norway . This characters is believed to protect barns and brings presents too. Every Christmas the children leave a bowl of porridge out for him instead of milk and cookies.

Iceland
There are 13 Santas in Iceland. These Yule lads are more troll-like than our traditional image of Santa Claus. All 13 traditionally come down from the mountain one by one during the days of the festive period leaving presents or rotten potatoes(NOT coal) depending on the children’s behaviour.

Czech Republic
Here they are taught not to eat anything on Christmas Eve until a special dinner is served so that they can try and see a mystical ‘golden pig’ appear. Another tradition is, a girl putting a cherry twig in water on December 4th. If it blossoms before Christmas Eve the girl will marry the following year….almost like fortune-telling!

I honestly have so much fun learning about the different ways Christmas is celebrated. It is crazy how just one holiday can have so many cultural traditions! Always remember to respect and take interest in other’s traditions and to value your own! Have a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate.

 

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