Christmas around the world

When the first Christmas carols ring out in the radio, everything is decorated with trees, candles and strings of lights illuminate windows – then you know Christmas is not far away. At least that applies to FrankfurtRheinMain. We love the last days before Christmas in the region with its gingerbread, Christmas markets and mulled wine. Read here how Christmas is celebrated all over the world.

 

Christmas in FrankfurtRheinMain

Christmas season in Germany has already started with the beginning of December, with the first Advent. Since then most of the Christmas markets have opened their doors and it is time to decorate for Christmas. The focus is on the Advent wreath with its four candles, of which one more is lit every Advent Sunday from then on, so that by Christmas Eve all the candles on the wreath are lit. During the Advent season, you will often get together with friends and family to bake cookies, nibble on stollen and gingerbread and drink punch. Before we start to unpack the presents under the Christmas tree, many families still read Christmas stories or sing together.

 

Christmas in Finland

Just like in the Frankfurt region in Finland the 24th December is one of the most important feast days in the year. In the morning, the Finns start the day with a traditional dish: rice pudding. The special feature is an almond, which is hidden inside. Those who get the almonds are particularly lucky the following year. After breakfast, the families traditionally decorate the Christmas tree before going to the sauna. For the children Santa Claus is the one coming to their houses and bringing presents on his reindeer sled in the early evening. However, before they receive their presents, Santa reads from his golden book, in which all the little and big naughtinesses of the children are written down.

 

Christmas in Belgium & the Netherlands

While in many countries the presents do not get unwrapped until Christmas, people in Belgium and the Netherlands did not have to wait that long. The big festival already took place on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 5th, while their Santa Claus called “Sinterklaas” brought them little (or big) surprises. Of course only if they have been good and diligent throughout the year. Even though there may have been some to blame, there is always at least one present: Speculoos, which the children love to eat. In order for Sinterklaas to come to the next children strengthened, it is tradition to provide a sip of liquor for him, as well as a bowl of water and a carrot for his donkey. As they already get gifted by Sinterklaas, Christmas presents for the children are rather small.

 

Christmas in China

Christmas is not a traditional holiday in China, nor a special day because the vast majority of Chinese are Buddhist and the number of Catholics and other Christians is low. Santa Claus (Chinese: 圣诞老人 Shengdan Laoren) is probably the most visible symbol of Christmas in China, as many shops and restaurants decorate their windows with pictures of Santa Claus and other Christmas figures. Meanwhile celebrating Christmas is becoming trendy and many Chinese give themselves small presents in red socks on December 25th. In general, it is more like a cultural event where you meet friends, eat, give and have fun.

In contrast, a very traditional festival is the Chinese New Year. On this occasion it is customary to give money in red envelopes, because in China red is the colour of wealth and happiness which one wishes to the recipient.

 

Christmas in the United States

In the United States, many people celebrate Christmas Day on December 25th. Presents are delivered by Santa Claus and his flying reindeer on the single night of Christmas Eve, therefore the children get them usually in the morning. Often, Santa is provided with a little snack consisting of a plate with biscuits and a glass of milk. Even more than the Germans, the Americans like to decorate their houses with lights and Christmas decorations, sometimes even statues of Santa Claus, snowmen and reindeer. By the way, many Americans put up the Christmas tree shortly after Thanksgiving (at the end of November), so that they can enjoy it a bit longer.

 

Christmas in India

India is also one of the countries in the world where Christmas is celebrated by very few people, as most of them have a different religion: Hinduism. Instead of Christmas, the people in India celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. During the festivities, temples, homes, shops and office buildings are brightly illuminated. The preparations, and rituals, for the festival typically last five days and it usually falls between mid-October and mid-November in the Gregorian calendar.

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