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Christmas in the world: customs and traditions of different countries

What are Christmas traditions around the world? How is  Christmas celebrated abroad? In this post you will find many curiosities about the most waited celebration of the year!

Christmas represents warmth and family all over the world; in Italy we celebrate it, traditionally, from the 8th of December, the Immaculate Conception day. We adorn the Christmas tree with decorations and colored balls, we set up the “Presepe”, we round up all together, relatives and friends, on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, eating “Panettone”, “Pandoro”, playing table games or the classic “tombola” and, finally, to unwrap the presents brought from Santa during the night.

This is what happens in our country: instead, have you ever wondered how Christmas is celebrated in the rest of the world? Read on to discover interesting and beautiful traditions about Christmas outside national borders!

Starting with Europe, in France the Chistmas Eve is very important, on the 24th of December: during this day the bells ring in the whole country and several choirs sing the “Noels”, French Christmas carols. These are small rituals that precede the real Christmas party during which, after the Mass in the morning, people used to dine with relatives and serve the sweet creamy Buche de Noel, that is awaited impatiently by children and adults.

In Germany children, during the evening of the 6th of December, prepare cookies and poems to give to St. Nicholas, who will bring them small gifts and presents. In these days people use to create the famous “Advent crowns” with brunches and four candles and to bake Lebkuchen cookies with their special spicy flavour.

In Austria, instead, the children have to be good in their behavior if they do not want to receive the visit from Krampus, a creature with an horrifying face, antagonist of the benevolent St. Nicholas who visits only the good children.

In Netherlands the most important day of the Christmas period is the 6th of December, when children look for the Sinterklaas arrival, a sweet bishop who travels during the night riding a white horse and carrying a sack full of presents. For adults, instead, the tradition wants the preparation of a typical dessert, called “letterbanket”, a cake that has the shape of the initial letters of the last name of the family: a beautiful custom that reaffirms the importance of the relationships and their origins. 

In England people usually gather themselves in the kitchen to prepare delicious cakes, cookies, listening to legends and helping children to write letters for Santa Claus, which will be burned in the fireplaces. 

Many of these customs are famous and look like to Italian rituals: if we move in Eastern Europe the traditions become less known. 

In the Balkans the head of the family set three wooden stumps near the fireplace that probably symbolize the Three Kings and that are blessed with prayers, songs and holy water, and finally burned together with handfuls of wheat.

In Ukraine, instead, people celebrate the Christmas Eve at sunset when they serve the Kutia on table, a very special dish, because it is rich in ingredients such as wheat, corn, honey, raisin, poppy seeds and hot water. During the dinner twelve dishes are served in honor of the twelve apostles and the twelve months of the year; the night ends singing Koliada carols and prayers.

Outside the old continent, Christmas traditions are very particular and they take place in a different way.
In Australia, for example, Christmas comes…on summer! People organize outdoor parties and they meet during the night for the Christmas carols, lighting candles.

Even in Mexico the climate on Christmas period is warm: people usually decorate houses with lilies and evergreens, with homemade lanterns that hold a candle and that are placed on window sills or outside the door. Moreover, during days before Christmas, they organize a procession, called “posada”, led by two children who represent Joseph and Mary, looking for a refuge before the Jesus birth.

In the Philippines, from the 16th of December, the Christmas period is celebrated every day at the sunrise with the famous Misa de Gallo: at the end of that Mass people can eat rice cakes “bibingka”; the Saturday before Christmas Eve, in San Fernando, it is organized the famous Giant Lantern Festival which involves eleven villages that compete for building the most beautiful and full reflections lantern.

In any case, all the traditions that we have talked about are focused on religion and on the desire of love and communion: the magic of Christmas, indeed, is to be able to bring people together!

And what about you and your Christmas celebration rituals? Let us know by taking part in our initiative #xmascolor on Facebook and Instagram: take a photo or make a mini-video of the most colorful and beautiful moment of your Christmas holidays, tag it with #xmascolor and mention @bluorange! You could receive pleasant surprises!

Finally, the BluOrange Team wish you a wonderful Christmas with people you love, and to get yourself being fascinated by the magic and sweet mood of these special days so…Merry Christmas!

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