Christmas Traditions Around the World
The wonder and magic of Christmas will soon be here and as our customers book their holiday airport parking for the festive season we thought we would look at whether Christmas traditions around the world are like the treasured ones we have here in the UK, such as leaving a mince pie out for Santa or sitting down and watching the Queen’s speech together.
Christmas in France
Christmas in France is a family holiday and the celebrations start on 05 December which is St. Nicolas Eve. This is a day for gift bearing between family and friends. On this night, children leave their polished shoes by the chimney so Pere Noel, Father Christmas can fill them with presents. Christmas Day, 25 December is a public holiday and families get together for a big feast. Gifts are also exchanged.
A Christmas Pickle in Germany
In Germany, families prepare for Christmas throughout December and many Christmas markets are set up on main squares in many cities. It’s a very old Christmas Eve tradition to hide a pickle ornament in the branches of the Christmas tree. In the morning, the child who finds it first receives a special present from Santa and the first adult traditionally gets good luck for the forthcoming year.
Christmas in Russia is celebrated on 07 January as the Orthodox church uses the old ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days. Special prayers are said and people fast, sometimes for the 39 days before January 06, the Russian Christmas Eve. When the first evening star appears in the sky a twelve-course supper, in honour of each of the twelve apostles, begins.
Christmas in Holland
In Holland, children look forward to St Nicholas Day on 06 December where they eagerly await the arrival of Sinterklaas, a bishop who wears red robes and a tall, pointed mitre on his head. He travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam’s Harbour every winter bringing his white horse and a huge sack of gifts for the children.
In Australia, the seasons are apposite to ours in the UK so December 25 is at the beginning of the summer holidays and with temperatures between 68 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, the Christmas celebrations usually involve barbeques and picnics at the beach. Australians hang wreaths on their doors and decorate their homes and gardens with Christmas trees and lights. Christmas pageants take place in each state capital city and most towns and cities have festivals and parades.
KFC in Japan
Christmas in Japan isn’t a national holiday and remains largely a novelty in the country. When a group of foreigners tried, and failed to find a turkey in the country for Christmas Day, they opted for chicken instead, KFC saw a gap in the market and produced a Christmas themed bargain bucket. KFC is now a popular choice for Christmas lunch in Japan.
Christmas in Norway
Christmas Eve is the time when presents are exchanged and gifts are brought by Santa Claus known as Julenissen in Norway. Presents are also brought by small gnomes called Nisse. in Norway on Christmas Eve It is renowned as a prime time for witches and mischievous spirits to fly the skies so families hide all their cleaning equipment attached to sticks to stop the witches from stealing them!
In Mexico, the festive season starts in early December and lasts until 06 January. The start of the season is commemorated with a tribute to the patroness of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe and is followed by a tradition known as Las Posadas, a religious march which re-enacts the journey of Mary and Joseph as they searched for shelter in Bethlehem. The march goes from door to door with images of Mary and Joseph and begins on 16 December and runs until Christmas Eve.
So, there are Christmas traditions around the world as old and honoured as ours and if you are planning to sample some of these seasonal delights, you can tick off one more task on your list by booking your airport parking with I Love meet and greet.
By Sarah Anglim at 17 Nov 2016