Christmas Traditions around the World

'Tis the season to celebrate. In fact, it’s the one time of year that we simply like to celebrate locally. But there are various Christmas traditions around the world, fascinating and fun.

People in Iceland often exchange books on Christmas Eve, then read them and eat chocolate the rest of the night. The tradition is called Jolabokaflod, or “The Christmas Book Flood.” Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country.

Greenland’s traditional Christmas dish, kiviak, takes seven months to prepare. Hollowing out a seal skin and stuffing it with 500 auks/sea birds to ferment, people feast straight from the seal when the holiday rolls around.

On Christmas Day, Lebanese children go up to any adult and say, “Editi ‘aleik!” (“You have a gift for me!”). Syrian children receive gifts from one of the wise men’s camels, the youngest and smallest in the caravan, who fell down exhausted at the end of the long journey to Bethlehem.

Christmas traditions in African countries such as Kenya and Uganda are much more religious and less commercial. Stones, leaves, and other natural items as birthday presents for Jesus are collected. Roasted goats are prepared for Christmas feasts, while South Africans feast on a seasonal delicacy -- the deep-fried caterpillars of Emperor Moths!

Ethiopia follows the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. Everyone dresses in white and attends church. Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, commemorating the baptism of Christ.

In many regions in France, Christmas celebrations start with St Nicholas day on the 6th of December. On Christmas eve, children put their polished shoes out in front of the chimney and hope that ‘Père Noël’ (Father Christmas) fills the shoes with sweets. In the United States and England, children hang stockings on their bedpost or near a fireplace on Christmas Eve, hoping that it will be filled with treats while they sleep.

A manger scene is the primary decoration in most southern European, Central American, and South American nations.

In Italy, a nativity scene, a ‘presepe’, is usually put up in churches, town squares, and often in houses. ‘Babbo Natale’, Father Christmas, hands out presents to children on Christmas Day, but gifts are exchanged only on January 6, the day of Epiphany.

Spain begins celebrating the Christmas season on December 8, with a weeklong observance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Evergreens decorate the churches and outdoor markets, while tambourines, gourd rattles, castanets, and miniature guitars are for sale to enliven the singing and dancing in the streets. Children go from house to house reciting verses or singing carols for treats or gifts.

In the Philippines, a Christmas lantern called ‘paról’ is designed in the shape of a star, in remembrance of the star of Bethlehem, and mainly made out of bamboo and paper.

In the weeks up to Christmas, Australians join in Christmas picnics organized by various churches and sing Christmas carols on the beach. People come together at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols outside. A jovial Southern Hemisphere Christmas it is!

Whether in the North, South, East, or West, a Christmas/pine tree, a manger, mistletoe, a poinsettia, a specific food, or a family tradition, the Holiday Spirit is strong in many cultures and places around the world and inspires joy, hope, and love. ‘Tis the season to be jolly and celebrate, we can hear the jingle bells ringing.

To all our friends, clients, and colleagues: Happy Holidays from Asia-America Connection Society


时值圣诞季节,世人皆欢欣鼓舞。 事实上,这是人们待在家中庆祝的一个特别时节。然而举目观看世界,不同的圣诞传统确极为精采有趣。

冰岛人惯于圣诞节前夕交换书籍,然后整夜边看书边吃巧克力。 这时节传统上被称为 Jolabokaflod ,"圣诞书潮。冰岛出版的书籍远超越任何其他国家,可谓书香国。

格陵兰的传统圣诞菜叫 kiviak ,需时 7 个月来做准备。 首先将海豹掏空,在皮内放入500 隻海鸟,任由其发酵,然后再于圣诞节来临时大快朵颐。

圣诞节当天,黎巴嫩儿童可向任何成年人说道 " Editi ‘ aleik !“(「你有一个礼物要送给我!」)。 叙利亚儿童接受智者馈赠之礼,其乃骆驼队中最年轻最弱小的一员,是传说中赴伯利恒圣地漫长旅程中跌落于尾端的圣徒。

非洲国家,如肯尼亚和乌干达的圣诞传统,皆具有较多的宗教意味,而不像西方国家般商业化。 人们采集石材、叶片和其它天然物品来作为耶稣的生日礼物。 烤山羊是圣诞佳肴,而南非人筵席上的一个季节性的美味则为油炸毛虫!

伊索比亚采用古老的朱利安日历,于1月7日庆祝圣诞节。 其基督诞生日称为 Ganna 。 人们身穿白色衣装上教堂。 12 天后, 在 1月19日 、伊索比亚人开始为期三天的庆祝活动,纪念称为 Timkat 的基督洗礼。

法国的圣诞节庆祝活动于圣尼古拉斯日/12月6日展开 。 圣诞节前夕,孩子们把鞋放在烟囱口,期望 ‘ Père Noël ’(圣诞老人/父亲)将鞋子装满甜品。 在美国和英国,孩儿则于圣诞节前夕在床边或火炉前放置圣诞袜带,希望得到满袜子的糖果或礼物。


在意大利,圣诞的场景叫做 ‘ presepe ’,通常放置在教堂、城市广场,以及居家之内。 ‘ Babbo Natale ',圣诞老人/父亲会发放礼物,但家人之间礼物的交换只能在 1月6日 Epiphany 时进行。

西班牙于12月8日开始庆祝圣诞节,展开为期一周的圣母受孕庆祝活动。 教堂和露天市场装饰有长青花叶,而市场中出售的锣鼓和各式乐器则有助于街头热烈歌唱和跳舞的气氛。 孩童则挨家挨户念诗或吟唱圣诞佳音来换取糖果或礼物。

在菲律宾,称为 ' paról ' 的圣诞彩灯以星形来纪念伯利恒之星,制材为竹子和纸张。

在圣诞数星期前、澳大利亚人会加入各教会举办的圣诞野炊,并在 在海滩上吟唱圣诞歌曲。 人们聚在一起,在烛光星光中合唱,为南半球圣诞添加无许的乐趣!

不论在北方、南方、东方或西方,尽管是圣诞/松树、圣诞马厩 、长青或圣诞红、 或者特定的食物、或家庭传统,圣诞节的精神在许多文化中是极为重要的,世界各地皆充满欢乐、希望和爱。 在此谨祝我公司所有的朋友、客户和同事:佳节欢乐 -- 亚美合作协会敬上

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