It was just now that we had the summer of the century followed by only a few unpleasant rainy days and before you realize it Christmas is just around the corner. We know time is an ephemeral phenomenon but its speed becomes even more vivid these days. To be honest: we are sitting in our editorial office working diligently, but we have no real clue what to write about Christmas already. Of course, we are looking forward to it, looking forward to eating tangerines and gingerbread all day. But Christmas right now already? Really?
The Holidays: a beloved tradition
Actually, Christmas can never come early enough, and we are all looking forward to spending time with the whole family at home on the couch and enjoy long-lasting walks out there in the snow just to come back home and have a good time with our beloved ones on the dining room table. Even when we are not ready. At some point, the celebrations of Christmas get to all of us. It shines, and it has that particular sense of smell that makes us feel cozy. Of course, there is the „Grinch-fraction“ being a little negative towards the holidays. Maybe we can bring a little joy to them by looking at some lovely holiday traditions of other countries.
Our neighbors: How they celebrate
In Poland, there is one ritual that really took our hearts by storm. It is traditional to celebrate with every family member you can find – the more, the merrier. On top of that, the Poles always set the table for one more person than required in case someone stops by unexpectedly. It’s a gesture of hospitality and charity.
In Estonia, there is a tradition about food that is a little more bizarre but not less beautiful. The leftovers are not thrown away, but the table will stay decorated overnight. The Estonians believe that the spirits of passed relatives and friends pay the house a visit in the night of Christmas to dine as well and by that take part at the Christmas festivities.
A few Nordic countries generate some Christmas surprises. For example, in Finland, we find the predecessor of „Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer“ named „Petteri Punakuono.“ The special thing about him is for sure his wife who has the beautiful name „Joulumouri“ and makes an excellent Christmas porridge.
In Sweden, the television plays a significant role during the holidays. On the day before Christmas Eve the whole family sits down to watch the „Bingo Lotto“ lottery and on Christmas Day Donald Duck takes over in the afternoon. You heard right – the Swedes celebrate Christmas with the world’s favorite Duck.
And a little further away…
In Mexico, people have to be patient before they can open presents. The nine-day lasting „Posadas,“ starting on December 15th, symbolize the Marias and Josef search for a harbourage. It, of course, ends with the of Jesus on Christmas Eve at midnight. It is until then the Mexicans wait with opening the presents.
El Salvador’s streets are enlightened by fireworks celebrated by children and grown-ups alike. It has a tradition to serve turkey sandwiches together with salat and radish. The accompanying beverages are hot chocolate, pineapple juice, Salvadorian Horchata (tiger nut milk) and coffee. Other countries, other customs, we might say. But wouldn’t it be nice to actually attend some different holiday traditions?
The charisma of Christmas is second to none. Its unbelievable power becomes visual in China and Taiwan where it does not even exist. Yet some people celebrate the holidays in small circles. In China, the 25th of December marks the constitution day, but some just made their personal Christmas out of it. By the way: South Korea is the only East Asian country to approve Christmas as an official holiday.
Are you in the mood now?
We could continue this list forever as these days bring out beautiful Facette of the earth cultures. They are filled with curiosities. We hope we made you a bit curious and got you into a pre-holiday mood. If you like it more traditional, we have created a Lightbox that features all of our German holiday traditions, and of course, we would not miss it to wish you a beautiful Christmas time already.