How is the Festive Season Celebrated Across the Globe?
Back by popular demand, our ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ Christmas party theme being celebrated at the fantastic Willows Farm in St Albans, and the theme has us thinking, what is Christmas really like around the world? We hope you’ve packed your case, because we’re about to take you on a trip around the world to discover just what the festivities look like in different countries!
United States of America
Christmas is celebrated in the US in a very similar way to how it is here in England. Americans also have decorated trees in their homes, deck the outside of their houses with lights, sing carols and celebrate Father Christmas but there is one slight difference on Christmas Day in an American household.
The majority of English people will enjoy turkey as the centrepiece of their Christmas dinner but as Thanksgiving is around one month before Christmas Day, Americans will have turkey on Thanksgiving and enjoy different meats on Christmas Day such as ham or beef.
The French take part in a lot of Christmas traditions we also enjoy in England, advent for example being something children in France get particularly excited about, but one significant difference is how the French celebrate Christmas Eve.
For many of us here in the UK, Christmas Eve is a time to wind down and get an early night, but the French do the majority of their celebrating late into Christmas Eve, sometimes into the early hours of Christmas Day, including having their main Christmas meal.
Known as Le Réveillon, the meal is usually enjoyed before or after Midnight Mass at church, something most French families will attend. However, over time, many families have started saving their Christmas meal for Christmas day, much like we do here in England.
Germany is known for being a very festive country but believe it or not, they actually celebrate a different Christmas figure than Santa Claus, known as St Nicholas. Although Santa is often referred to as ‘St Nick’, this German Christmas idol is someone completely separate to Father Christmas and he even has his own day.
December 5th is known as St Nicholas Day and on this day, Children will leave their cleaned and polished shoes outside of their homes at night and in the morning, they’ll be filled with sweets and treats.
Other festive traditions in Germany include the markets, stollen cake and mulled wine, all of which we consider to be Christmas classics here in England but they actually all originate from Germany.
For an English person, Christmas in Australia would feel completely different due to the weather. Australians actually celebrate Christmas very similarly to the English such as having Christmas trees, lights on the front of the houses, singing carols and exchanging gifts but there’s one huge difference… it’s summer in Australia.
The sun is almost guaranteed to be shining on Christmas Day in Australia and it is usually very hot, so hot in fact that bushfires in the country aren’t uncommon around Christmas time. Most Australian Christmas days are celebrated outside, often on the beach with a BBQ or cold lunch, as opposed to a big roast dinner.
Seafood is very commonly eaten as the main course of an Australian Christmas dinner, although some families will incorporate classic English food into their menus.
Despite being the manufacturers of the majority of the world’s faux Christmas trees and decorations, Christmas isn’t hugely celebrated in China, and most Chinese families will not decorate their own homes for the festive period.
As only around 1% of China’s population is Christian, very few people are aware of Christmas traditions, and these festivities are typically only celebrated in major cities. In these cities, there will usually be decorations, lights and grottos but they are usually in public spaces such as shopping centres as opposed to people’s homes.
Many Chinese families will attend church ceremonies such as midnight mass, and it is also becoming somewhat traditional to give apples to loved ones on Christmas Eve but other than this, the Chinese have very little local traditions for Christmas.
Christmas is celebrated more widely across Japan than in China, but is seen as more of a celebration or festival than it is a religious holiday and it isn’t actually a public holiday with a lot of businesses being open on Christmas Day, including KFC who are one of the most popular places for the Japanese to get their festive dinner!
Christmas Eve is celebrated more widely than Christmas Day and as it is deemed a very romantic day and is more commonly spent in couples as opposed to family groups, seems to be a lore more like what you would expect of Valentine’s day.
The Japanese also eat a lot of Christmas cake but it isn’t the same type of cake we know here in England but a plain sponge with fresh cream and strawberries – not too different to a classic Victoria sponge!
How do you celebrate Christmas?
Feel like that’s shown you just how different festive celebrations are across the globe?
If you want to feel like you’ve explored even more of the world, why not book your tickets to our Around the World in 80 Days shared Christmas party?