"I will honor Christmas in my heart and endeavor to preserve it all the year round," wrote Charles Dickens.

In Spain, there are traditions such as setting up the Nativity scene - whose origin dates back to the 14th century, when the churches of Italy already displayed enormous terracotta figures to represent the religious scene -, the lottery is played, children ask for the bonus, companies They give away baskets, the traditional parade of the Three Wise Men is one of the most anticipated events and with the arrival of the new year, we eat a grape for each bell to have good luck.

But do you know how Christmas is celebrated in other places in the world ? What Christmas traditions exist in other countries? What terrifying legends scare children from distant regions? Or what is usually eaten for Christmas on the other side of the globe? Prepare something warm and cover yourself with a blanket: you are about to discover the most peculiar Christmas curiosities in the world.

7 curious facts about Christmas in other places in the world

Christmas lighting in Medellín

  • The Philippines has the longest Christmas in the world : for three months - which in English end in -ber, october, november and december -, Filipinos live Christmas with real fervor. The spectacular Christmas lighting in Manila stands out, the paroles or lanterns that hang from the windows - in San Fernando the Lantern Festival is celebrated - m, people attend 9 Christmas night masses - called Simbang Gabi - and eat rice sweets like Puto Bumbong or Bibingka.
  • Germans love Christmas : their most popular dishes are roast goose with potato dumplings and red cabbage, and sausages with potato salad, the popular Kartoffelsalat. Mulled wine is drunk in abundance, and Advent calendars filled with chocolates are common. In addition, on December 6, Saint Nicholas fills children's socks with small surprises and sweets. And the night before, the devil Krampus scares the children who have misbehaved.
  • In icy Iceland, Christmas lasts 26 days , during which there is usually some northern lights and it is common to hike through glaciers, play in the snow, enjoy fireworks and eat traditional dishes such as leaf bread, skate, roast lamb , and rice pudding. Parades of trolls, elves and other creatures are held, and bonfires are common throughout the country. A very curious thing is that Icelanders do not have one Santa Claus, but 13 jólasveinarnir or Yule youth. They are Stekkjastaur (the sheep stalker), Giljagaur (the ditch watcher), Stúfur (the short one), Þvörusleikir (the spoon sucker), Pottaskefill (the pot scraper), Askasleikir (the plate sucker), Hurðaskellir (the door slammer), Skyrgámur ( the yogurt eater), Bjúgnakrækir (the sausage thief), Gluggagægir (the window watcher), Gáttaþefur (the door sniffer), Ketkrókur (the meat thief hook) and Kertasníkir (the candle thief). There is also the Jólakötturinn, the cat that eats you if you don't receive new clothes.

KFC in Japan. Credit: Flickr

  • In Japan it is a tradition to have fried chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Eve. In addition to Santa Claus, the Buddhist monk Hotei-osho, one of the seven gods of good luck or shichifukujin, distributes gifts to good children. Of course, only 2% of Japanese are Christians. In fact, December 25 is not a holiday. In neighboring China, fish is eaten for Christmas - the word fish includes the ideogram that means abundance. Children are also given red envelopes with money to start the year with wealth. In addition, the old man of Christmas (Sheng da lao ren) is the Chinese Santa Claus, to whom children leave stockings to receive gifts.
  • In the United Kingdom they have the fun tradition of Christmas crackers: candy-shaped packages that have a little detail or small toy inside. They are opened between two people until it breaks and explodes. Whoever gets the biggest share gets the gift. Furthermore, at Christmas the British eat roast turkey and Christmas pudding. First jogging on New Year's means that the first person to enter the house in the new year must bring a piece of coal, a piece of bread and a bottle of whiskey. In neighboring Ireland, Santa Claus is left with a pudding made with Guiness beer or Irish whiskey.
  • Christmas or Jul in Norway is magical : there are countless Christmas markets and fairs, you eat dishes such as ribbe - roast pork intestines with sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, sausages and meatballs in sauce, pinnekjøtt - salted and cured lamb ribs -, cookies or Christmas pastries called småkaker, a potato alcohol with herbs called aquavit and fish such as cod. A curiosity: supermarkets sell fun DIY kits to assemble your own miniature gingerbread house. Furthermore, on the night of the 24th, Norwegians hide all brooms, brushes and similar utensils to scare away witches and other spirits.
  • In Colombia, Christmas begins with Candle Day on December 7, one of the most deeply rooted traditions. It takes place on the eve of the Immaculate Conception. Every Colombian family takes to the streets with candles. In Venezuela "the skates" take place, where children and adults go skating or cycling, enjoying Christmas carols. In Chile, neighbors dress up as "old man Easter", a particular Santa Claus. In Brazil there is the árvore de natal da lagoa", a Christmas tree approximately 85 meters high. Christmas, as it also happens in Argentina, is celebrated in summer weather.


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