Christmas Around The World

Karlee Striplin, Author

   In this article we are going to explore the different traditions and activities celebrated on Christmas around the world. Our first stop is Mexico. 



   How Christmas is celebrated in Mexico | GVI USA

         Christmas in Mexico isn’t just a small event, in fact it’s a full month of celebrations. Starting on December 12th and lasting all the way up to January 6th, there are several traditions that take place all throughout Mexico. The biggest tradition that is celebrated for Christmas is called ‘Las Posadas’. This is 10 days long, and on the 9th day of the event (Christmas Eve), children lead a procession to the church and place a figure of Christ’s child in a Nacimiento or Navity scene there. This represents the religious festival that is meant to commemorate the journey of how Mary had to find a safe place to give birth to baby Jesus. But not all of Mexico’s Christmas traditions are as serious as ‘Las Posadas’, such as the event ‘Dia De Las Virgen De Guadalupe’ which is where after everybody visits the heart of Mexico City to visit the virgin Mary, people fill the streets to watch the fireworks, parades, and live musical performances. Christmas in Mexico is both a religious and fun holiday that everybody seems to enjoy. 



The Magic of Christmas Markets, from Ireland to the U.S. - Shamrock Craic

         In Ireland, people celebrate Christmas in much the same way as America, but they also have many of their own Christmas traditions and customs. Such as homes in Ireland do go crazy with decorating the inside and outside of their houses with Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and anything to get you in the holiday spirits, just like the U.S.A. However, some traditions are a little different, like the old Irish tradition where people put a tall, thick candle on the still of the largest window after the sunset on Christmas Eve. The candle is left to burn all night and represents a welcoming light for Mary and Joseph. There is also a traditional Christmas cake full of caraway seeds that the Irish tend to enjoy. There is however one big tradition that Ireland and the U.S. have in common, which is when children hope that Santa will visit to leave them presents. Ireland does celebrate Christmas a lot like America, but they never fail to add their own little twist of holiday traditions around the season. 



Christmas in China - Christmas Around the World - whychristmas?com

           Most people in China know few things about Christmas, since only about 1% are Christians. As a result, Christmas is mainly celebrated in major cities, where they display and decorate Christmas trees. Most people in China however refer to the term ‘Tree of Light’ when talking about a Christmas tree, and decorate it with paper chains, paper flowers, paper lanterns, etc. Only a few people have Christmas trees, many of the times Christmas trees that most people would see would be in shopping malls. Santa Claus in China is called ‘Shen Dan Lao Ren’ which means ‘Old Christmas Man’. While older people in China don’t really care much for Christmas, more young people are celebrating Christmas in cities where parties are becoming more popular, and where young people will be gifts for each other, a bit like Valentine’s Day. Some people go out carol singing to spread the holiday joy, although many people do not understand them, or know about the Christmas story. Despite that, the most popular Christmas song is in fact Jingle Bells. While most people in China see Christmas as a way to make more money and party, others see it as a special holiday to spread love and cheer. 



The Best Christmas Traditions in Italy - Walks of Italy

             Christmas in Italy is celebrated over several weeks, starting at early December and lasting until the 6th of January. Children tend to look forward to the start of Christmas season because Christmas trees are put up and households are decorated. Although decorations aren’t the only thing that the children look forward to, like December 6th on St. Nicholas Day. Children write letters to St. Nicholas asking for gifts, and if the children have been good throughout the year, they get fruits, nuts, and sweets, but if their naughty they get lumps of sugary sweets. During the festive season, Italy hosts an old catholic tradition held on Christmas Eve, where often no food is eaten during the day, as this is a fast day. Now days ‘Bubbo Natale’ (the Italian Santa Claus), brings presents for children on Christmas Eve. Although children do receive their presents from Santa on Christmas Eve, gifts are only exchanged on January 6th, the day of Epiphany. Italy Celebrates Christmas with countless traditions that Italians of all ages seem to enjoy during the holiday. 



Christmas market in Romania selected among the most beautiful in Europe | Romania Insider

           In Romania, Christmas lasts from Dec. 20th to Jan. 7th, and on the 20th,  Romania holds a tradition that if the family keeps pigs, one is killed on this day by the head of the household and used in Christmas meals, this tradition is called ‘Ziua de Ignat’. Now not all of Romania’s holiday traditions are as brutal as killing pigs, such as St. Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas Day starts on the evening of Dec. 5th, where children clean their shoes or boots and leave them by the door, in hopes that St. Nick will leave them presents in exchange. And it is said that if it’s snowing on Dec. 6th, it means that St. Nick has shaken his beard so that winter can begin. Romanians usually start decorating their households with Christmas trees and other decorations on ‘Ajunul Craciunului (Christmas Eve). Another popular part of Christmas in Romania is carol singing, where children go out singing from home to home performing for families. Romania also has its own version of Santa Claus, known as ‘Mos Craciun’ (old man Christmas) who brings gifts to put under Christmas trees on Christmas Eve, so children can find joy in opening them on Christmas morning. All in all, Christmas in Romania is full of fun activities celebrated each and every year. 


             Christmas is a worldwide celebration that every country celebrates in their own way. While some people might think that Christmas is an excuse to profit off of the holiday, others take it as a serious cultural holiday to honor the birth of Jesus. Either way Christmas is a holiday that most countries have grown to love in their own countless traditions around the world.