Christmas throughout the world


Jasmin Campoya

The Spirit of Giving event is happening at Cielo Vista Mall, Sunland Park Mall, and the Alamo Drafhouse.

Eduardo Flores, Contributor

Holidays are a great way to introduce ourselves to a foreign cultural experience. Christmas is one of the most popular traditions families across the world celebrate.

Christmas is both a religious and a cultural holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ but also involves nonreligious traditions such as gift-giving.

Many aspects look similar worldwide during the nights of Dec. 24-25. Each country differs when it comes to how families come together and spend time with their loved ones. The differences include time, decoration and activities.

In Germany, the exchange of gifts happens Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. Additionally, the Christmas tree is usually brought into the home Christmas Eve and decorated by the mother after the children fall asleep.

Meanwhile, Christmas Eve in Poland is a day of fasting with a festive meal at the end of the fast. Traditionally, 12 courses are served as meals, representing Jesus’ 12 disciples. Finally, Christmas Eve ends with “Pasterka,” which is a midnight mass at the local church.

In Japan, Christmas is not celebrated as a religious holiday, nor is it recognized as an official holiday. However, many people order Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner or make a reservation because families in Japan view KFC on Christmas as a symbol of a family reunion. They must order weeks in advance or risk standing in line for hours. According to BBC News, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families celebrate Christmas with KFC.

Another example is India, where people choose a mango tree to perfect their holiday, while in Italy, children are given their gifts Jan. 6. Instead of Santa Claus with a big toy, La Befana is an old woman witch who delivers gifts to good kids on the morning of the Epiphany and uses a broomstick rather than a sleigh to move.

In contrast to the cold and snowy weather in most cities of the US, Christmas time in Australia is summer. As a result, families decorate their Christmas trees with summer themes, such as using a lot of seashells and other natural materials.

Furthermore, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated in eight-day rituals in late November and December Jewish Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah celebrations involves the kindling of a nine-branched menorah, known in Hebrew as the hanukkiah. On each of the eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown. The ninth candle, called the shamash “helper,” is used to light the others.

Eduardo A. Flores is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]; @eduardo_aa_flores on Instagram; @floreseduardo on Twitter.