How do people celebrate Christmas around the world?
December 25 is just around the corner, and we all look forward to celebrating Christmas. For about two years, the pandemic disrupted the rhythms of Christmas celebrations around the world. Curfews, travel restrictions, and quarantine rules did not allow most of us to see our friends and families. However, we still found ways to make the best of our circumstances. With the pandemic clearing up, we can come together again and celebrate Christmas with gusto.
Usually, how people celebrate Christmas is by exchanging gifts, decorating their homes, celebrating with parades or parties, dedicating prayer, and sharing food and drink. For this special day of sharing, Theobroma offers hampers stuffed with delicious items like ginger cookies, Christmas cake, Christmas tarts, cupcakes decorated with festive motifs, almond rocks, and our delectable Yule log.
Every family may also have treasured traditions and ways to celebrate Christmas – like watching holiday movies, sipping on eggnog, or teaming up to cook an elaborate feast.
Christmas traditions around the world are unique as they come and hold special relevance to elevate the occasion. Some traditions are as old as time, and some are an amalgamation of different cultures coming together. So, how do people celebrate Christmas? Let's take a short tour around the world to learn more:
- Mexico: The Christian Latinx community in Mexico and other Latinx countries observe Noche Buena on Christmas Eve to mark the night before Christ's birth. The celebration typically involves a big midnight feast, singing, and dancing. Part of the tradition also includes smashing pinatas and enjoying festive food.
- Japan: Christmas is not a religious holiday in Japan, but people have been celebrating it for the past few decades. Many Japanese associate romance with Christmas and often go out on cosy dinner dates. Instead of cooking at home, some people choose to go out to eat at or even order fried chicken for dinner. This tradition started in the 1970s, when the fast-food chain launched a countrywide campaign for its infamous fried chicken menu.
- France: Want to know how do people celebrate Christmas in France? Well, celebrations usually kickstart by December 5, but Christmas Eve is the most special. People hold a large feast called Le Réveillon De Noël – with close friends and family, usually after midnight mass.The spread includes seafood, turkey, goose, lobster, and The Yule log or Buche de Noel as the dessert. To bring a piece of France into your home this Christmas, check out Theobroma’s Yule Log – a signature product that we especially created for the festive season. Made with a chocolate berry mousse and layered with mixed berry compote and strawberry jelly, this modern twist on a classic Christmas dessert will leave your tastebuds tingling.
- China: There's a small population of Christians who celebrate Christmas in China. One of the most common traditions there is to gift your loved one’s apples on Christmas. This is probably because the Mandarin word for apple, "píngguǒ", sounds like Chinese Christmas Eve or "Ping'an Ye". Families also put up a plastic Christmas tree, called the "tree of light", and decorate it with lanterns and paper flowers.
- Sweden: Sweden, Finland and Norway begin Christmas festivities early in December with St Lucia’s Day. This holiday remembers St Lucia, one of the earliest Christian martyrs, who died to keep her Christian beliefs. Public processions are a significant part of the celebration, where girls and boys dress in white and sing traditional songs. The eldest daughter of each family also serves coffee and baked goods like saffron bread and ginger biscuits. Theobroma’s Christmas menu also includes ginger cookies, adorned with Christmas-themed decorations.
- India: Want to know how do we celebrate Christmas in India? While the reason for bringing in this festival is the same, the ways to commemorate usually include local customs and foods. Celebrations in Goa, Kerala, Mumbai, and the Northeast amalgamate Western and local traditions. For instance, in Goa, people gather for a traditional meal before attending the Missa de Galo (Midnight Mass), which often goes on till the wee hours of t he morning. Being a former Portuguese colony, Goa has many old churches worth whose services draw locals and tourists.
- Austria: Mixing a little horror into the festival is how people celebrate Christmas in Austria. Here, it’s believed that while St Nicholas rewards good children, Krampus, a half-man, half-goat, will punish children who misbehave. Traditional parades called “Krampus runs”, or Krampuslaufs, also take place in Austria during this time, where people dress up as folk figures and celebrate.
- Australia: Christmas is usually a summery affair Down Under, so barbecue parties at home, in the park, and on the beach are commonplace. It’s also the time when summer vacations begin. Those who are devout visit the church to pay their respects.
- Spain: Even though Santa Claus is most associated with Christmas, the Spaniards believe it’s Reyos Magos or the Three Wise Men who deliver presents to children. Christmas (Navidad in Spanish) begins on December 24 and until January 6. Many families recreate the nativity scene, recalling a tradition that has been around since the 18th century in the country. Desserts are of prime importance as well, each full of sugary, nougaty goodness. Christmas Eve is also one of the only times in the country when the streets, shops, bars, and restaurants are empty, as everything shuts downs. Christmas in Spain is about family, and people strongly believe in spending this time with their loved ones.