How Christmas and December is Celebrated Around The World
Imagine December is not on the calendar and we don’t get to celebrate Christmas? The horror!!! Kindly stop imagining. Bells are ringing, it’s Christmas time this season and the countdown to the New Year begins.
Most often than not, we tend to think of December as a period of rest, hibernation and quiet. I mean, school, work and other strenuous activities end for the year. However, in our bid to celebrate Christmas in our own unique way, the preparation, planning and celebration end up taking up all the time and rest we look forward to having.
Christmas is pretty much celebrated the same way around the world as cities sparkle in all their glory as thousands of lights illuminate buildings, bridges, churches, monuments and the interior of homes. However, while some are filled with solemn tradition, others focus on fun and frolic.
During this period of celebrating the birth of Christ and Christmas you might be surprised that some other countries around the world celebrate entirely different traditions. Some of these range from Hanukkah, Three kings day, Winter solstice, St. Lucia day, St. Nicholas day and Kwanzaa.
How December is Celebrated in Ukraine
The Christmas Eve festivities in the Ukraine are known as Sviata Vechera, which means “Holy Supper.” The celebration begins when the first evening star is sighted in the night sky. In farming communities, the household head brings in a sheaf of wheat, which symbolises the wheat crops of Ukraine. It is called “didukh,” which translates to “grandfather spirit.” In homes within the city, a few stalks of wheat may be used to decorate the table.
There is a large Ukrainian community in Canada (the third largest in the world following
Ukraine and Russia). Canadian Ukrainian families will have a traditional 12 meal dish for
How December is Celebrated in USA
The United States of America has many different traditions and ways that people celebrate Christmas, because of its multi-cultural nature. The traditional meal for Western European families is turkey or ham with cranberry sauce.
Families from Eastern European origins favour turkey with trimmings, keilbasi (a Polish
sausage), cabbage dishes, and soups; and some Italian families prefer lasagne!
In New England, there are shops called ‘Christmas Shops’ that sell only Christmas decorations and toys all the year round.
People in America like to decorate their houses with lights and sometimes even statues of Santa Claus, Snowmen and Reindeer. Some cookies and glass of milk are often left out as a snack for Santa on Christmas Eve. Perhaps the most famous Christmas street lights in the USA are at the Rockefeller Center in New York where there is a huge Christmas Tree with a public ice skating rink in front of it over Christmas and the New Year.
How December is Celebrated in Paris
Christmas is definitely the most beautiful time of year to be in Paris! The City of Light dazzles with festive holiday illuminations, choirs, concerts, and events to delight everyone, young and old alike.
Wooden chalets line the streets with festive holiday markets, or Marché de Noel. Vendors set up a beautiful array of festive goods to tempt you with unique gift items and handcrafted specialties. You’ll find artwork, jewelry, toys and delicious sweets. Réveillon is the term for the traditional holiday family dinner on Christmas Eve or New Year’s.
Christmas in France is all about eating “en famille”, enjoying the best France has to offer. Fresh oysters from the Brittany coast and fois gras from the Dordogne, along with champagne, are served as appetizers, often followed by beef or duck. Families enjoy daube de boeuf, which is a slow-simmered beef stew, marinated in wine and herbs. For dessert, the tradition cake is the Buche de Noel, or Yule Log.
How December is Celebrated in India
Christmas is quite a small festival in India, due to the low percentage of Christians compared to other religions. Midnight mass is a very important service for Christians in India, especially Catholics. The whole family will walk to the mass and this will be followed by a massive feast of different delicacies and the giving and receiving of presents.
Churches in India are decorated with Poinsettia flowers and candles for the
Christmas Eve Midnight Mass service. Instead of having traditional Christmas trees, a banana or mango tree is decorated (or whatever tree people can find to decorate).
In India, Father Christmas or Santa Claus delivers presents to children from a horse and cart. He’s known as ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi, ‘Baba Christmas’ in Urdu (both of those mean Father Christmas); ‘Christmas Thaathaa’ in Tamil and ‘Christmas Thatha’ in Telugu (both of those mean Christmas old man); and ‘Natal Bua’ (Christmas Elder Man) in Marathi. In Kerala state, he’s known as ‘Christmas Papa’.
How December is Celebrated in Nigeria
Christmas in Nigeria is a family event, a time when family members come together to celebrate and have fun. Many families that live in cities travel to their hometowns and villages where their grandparents and older relatives live.
Many different languages are spoken in Nigeria and as such there are many different greetings over the Christmas period. In Hausa Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘barka dà Kirsìmatì’; in Yoruba it’s ‘E ku odun, e ku iye’dun’; in Fulani it’s ‘Jabbama be salla Kirismati’; in Igbo (Ibo) ‘E keresimesi Oma’; in Ibibio ‘Idara ukapade isua’ andin Edo it’s ‘Iselogbe’.
Many families will throw Christmas parties that will last all night long. Most homes will have an artificial Christmas tree with the inside and outside decorated. Children love to play with firecrackers at Christmas. Many churches and schools will organise Christmas carols for the whole family. Did we mention the shopping? There are many shopping fairs and pop ups holding everyday.
Christmas meals are usually feasts! Traditional Christmas meals in Nigeria may include beef, goat, sheep, ram or chicken.
Perhaps the most famous Christmas street lights in Nigeria is by Zenith Bank at the Ajose Adeogun roundabout in Lagos. In addition to helping create the mood for the season, the annual Christmas package is a beautiful at night when the lights are all on. You tend to see many families taking pictures.
Christmas tends to bring out the children in all of us, so whether you’re traveling with children or simply staying at home, It’s essential to take a moment to enjoy all this period has to offer while trying not to forget there is a reason for the season.
Personally, how do you celebrate Christmas? Feel free to share any peculiar Christmas traditions you have.