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Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14

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One of the nicest things about the Christmas season is that everyone has special traditions that they excitedly return to. For many people in the United States, those traditions are probably pretty similar: watching Christmas movies, playing Elf on the Shelf with kids, waiting on line to take photos with Santa Claus at the mall and hanging stockings to be filled with gifts. These seem normal to us, but they aren't quite as typical in other countries.

I have included in the sizable list below Christmas traditions from 88 different locations across the globe.
Argentina where is this?
In Argentina, Christmas begins promptly at midnight. Many families kick off the holiday by hosting festive celebrations in their homes, opening gifts with their loved ones, and lighting fireworks in the early hours of the morning.
Armenia where is this?
Christmas is celebrated on Jan. 6. During the week leading up to Christmas, many Armenian families fast in ways similar to Christians who do so during Lent. Armenia clergy will often fast for 40 days leading up to Christmas. At the beginning of December a large Christmas tree (Tonatsar) is put up in Republic Square in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
Australia where is this?
Australia's Southern Hemisphere location means it's summer time in December. Instead of sleigh bells and cocoa, many Australians head to the beach to celebrate the holidays with a prawn lunch and a few rounds of cricket.
Austria where is this?
In Austria, St Nicholas has an evil counterpart called Krampus. He is polar opposite to St. Nick, a demon-like creature with one task: to punish bad children before Christmas. Men dressed in devil costumes roam the streets, carrying chains and a basket for abducting especially bad children and hauling them to hell. It's certainly one way to keep the kids off the streets.
Bangladesh where is this?
In Bangladesh formerly known as East Pakistan, the Christian village men would cut down scores of banana trees and replant them in pairs along the paths to churches and outside their homes. They would then bend over the huge leaves of the banana trees to form an arch, they would then make small holes in the bamboo poles, fill them with oil and tie them across the arches. When the oil is lit, the way to the church is lit up bright enough for all to see.
Belgium where is this?
Pere Noel visits those who speak the Walloon language, in fact he visits them twice. The first time is on the December 4th he does this so he can find out which children have been good and which children have been bad. If a child is good he returns on December 6th with the presents the good children deserve if they were bad they are left twigs. The good children usually received candy and toys. With the bad children he leaves the twigs inside their shoes or in small baskets that are left just inside the doorway.
Bethlehem where is this?
In Bethlehem the town where Jesus is said to have been born is the site of the Church of the Nativity, which is ablaze with flags and decorations on every Christmas. On Christmas Eve natives and visitors alike crowd the church's doorways and stand on the roof to watch for the dramatic annual procession. Galloping horsemen and police mounted on Arabian horses lead the parade. They are followed by solitary horseman carrying a cross and sitting astride a coal-black steed, then comes the churchmen and government officials. The procession solemnly enters the doors and places an ancient effigy of the Holy Child in the Church.
Bolivia where is this?
Native Bolivians celebrate Christmas more as a harvest festival. Thanks are given for completion of the year's work. They give an account of the work done during the year and propose what is to be done the next year. Christmas tends to become a feast of adoration of the Goddess Mother Earth, who is asked to bring a fruitful harvest, to keep away plagues, and to give a prosperous year.
Brazil where is this?
Christmas celebrations start near midnight, usually with big family dinners, gift opening, and the celebration of the 'Missa do Galo' (the rooster's mass) in churches. Despite the warm tropical summer weather, themes of winter and snow are not uncommon.
Bulgaria where is this?
Christmas Eve is as important as Christmas day in Bulgaria. A special diner, consisting of at least twelve dishes is prepared. All of them are without meat and each of them represents a separate month of the year. The dishes consist of beans, different kinds of nuts, dried plums, cakes, and the traditional Banitza. On this day the whole family gathers, eat on straw and get off the table in the same time.
Canada where is this?
Canadian children usually celebrate a snowy, white Christmas. They bundle up in their scarves and toques, a Canadian woolen hat, to play in the snow, ice-skate, and toboggan! On Christmas Eve, they leave milk and cookies by the fireplace for Santa (and sometimes a carrot for his reindeer).

I bet we’ve all written a letter to Santa at some point – but did you know that he actually has an address? His mailbox is in Canada, and if you write him by December 16 – in over 30 languages, including Braille – he will write back. Just send your letter to:
Santa Claus
North Pole, Canada

H0H 0H0
It’s free and there are no stamps needed, because Santa is awesome. And so is the zip code of the North Pole.
Central America where is this?
A manger scene is the primary decoration in most southern European, Central American and South American nations. St. Francis of Assisi created the first living nativity in 1224 to help explain the birth of Jesus to his followers.
Chile where is this?
In Chile little figures made of clay are placed under the Christmas tree called pesebre. Father Christmas is known as Viejito Pascuero and he would wish everyone a Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Anc Nuevo or Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
China where is this?
While in many countries around the world candies and pastries reign supreme when it comes to a Christmas sweet, in China, apples are the festive treat of choice. It’s believed the tradition comes from the similarity of the Chinese word for apple – ping guo – to the Chinese word for Christmas Eve – ping’an ye. Although Christmas isn’t an official holiday in China, it is becoming more and more celebrated each year. ‘Peace apples’ have become the go-to gift to give – they are regular apples packaged in special boxes or wrapped in colorful paper, sometimes adorned with Christmas messages.
Colombia where is this?
Little Candles’ Day (Día de las Velitas) marks the start of the Christmas season across Colombia. In honour of the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception, people place candles and paper lanterns in their windows, balconies and front yards. The tradition of candles has grown, and now entire towns and cities across the country are lit up with elaborate displays. Some of the best are found in Quimbaya, where neighbourhoods compete to see who can create the most impressive arrangement.
Costa Rica where is this?
Costa Rica is a primarily Catholic nation and Costa Rican citizens observe Christmas with exuberance. Christmas in Costa Rica is a vibrant time: a celebration of the season, of lights and music, and of course, of family togetherness. Costa Rica citizens often decorate Christmas wreaths of cypress trimmed with red coffee berries, ribbons, ornaments and lights. As with many Catholic nations, nativity scenes with figurines of Mary, Joseph, the wise men and the animals of the manger are a standard Christmas decoration, called “Portals.” Offerings such as fruits and little toys are placed in front of the nativity scene.

Croatia where is this?
One of the most original Christmas traditions starts on Saint Lucy’s Day on the 13th of December. Each family grows wheat onto little pots or plates, taking care of it until the 24th of December. On Christmas Eve, the plant, called ‘Christmas wheat’, is put underneath the tree. The tradition says the taller the wheat grows, the more prosperous the year will be.

However, the most important ritual of Christmas celebrations in Croatia is to light a log on Christmas Eve, that ideally will burn until Christmas Day. Croatians have local variations for this tradition, such as drizzling the log with wine before burning it. The Christmas season ends on the 6th of January, on Epiphany Day, the moment to take down the trees and decorations.
The Czech Republic where is this?
On Christmas Eve, unmarried Czech women stand with their back to the door and toss one of their shoes over their shoulder. If it lands with the toe facing the door, it means that they’ll be married within the year. If it lands with the heel facing the door, they’re in for another year of waiting.
Denmark where is this?
Before Christianity came to the Danes, Christmas Day was a celebration of brighter days, jól, as it occurred just before winter solstice. Today, homes are decorated with superstitious characters called nisser who are believed to provide protection. On the evening of December 24, Danish families place their Christmas tree in the middle of the room and dance around it while singing carols.
Egypt where is this?
Very few in Egypt celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Those who do honor the Holy Nativity Feast. During the 43 days leading up to Christmas, known as Coptic Christmas, participants fast from animal products, such as chicken, eggs, and milk. The fast ends with a celebratory feast with friends on the eve of January 7.
Eswatini (aka Swaziland) where is this?
In Swaziland Christmas is on the 25th December. It is a beautiful time of year, where Christians get together, with friends and families to celebrate Christmas. The day starts with a midnight mass in church then is followed by a meal, at home. Children take this opportunity to open presents, and sing Christmas carols.
Ethiopia where is this?
In Ethiopia, people celebrate Christmas, called Ganna or Genna, on January 7 in accordance with the Ethiopian Orthodox Calendar. Mass often begins with a special candelit procession, in which participants wear a thin white shawl called a Netela and process around the church three times before the service begins. They don't typically give gifts during Ganna; it's a time for church, games and of course, food.
Ecuador where is this?
In Ecuador the children write letters to the Christ-child and place shoes in the window in which he may place toys as he passes by on Christmas Eve. Noise-making toys are common and are used with much energy on the streets on Christmas morning.
Finland where is this?
Finnish people believe that Father Christmas, "Joulupukki", lives in the northern part of the country, Korvatunturi, to be exact. If you visit, you might find his secret workshop, where gnomes are hard at work. Or you might find reindeer roaming in pine tree forests.
France where is this?
In France, children traditionally put their shoes out next to the fireplace in anticipation of Père Noël's arrival. If children have been good throughout the year, Père Noël will fill the shoes with gifts.
The Gambia where is this?
Masquerades play an essential role in Gambian culture, and Christmas time is no exception. Muslims and Christians alike join in celebrating the glittering “agugu.” The agugu marches through the town and locals toss money and candy in its way. In response to all the attention, the agugu dances.
Germany where is this?
Not to be confused with Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas), Nikolaus travels by donkey in the middle of the night on December 6 (Nikolaus Tag) and leaves little treats like coins, chocolate, oranges and toys in the shoes of good children all over Germany, and particularly in the Bavarian region. St. Nicholas also visits children in schools or at home and in exchange for sweets or a small present each child must recite a poem, sing a song or draw a picture. In short, he’s a great guy. But it isn’t always fun and games. St. Nick often brings along Knecht Ruprecht (Farmhand Rupert). A devil-like character dressed in dark clothes covered with bells and a dirty beard, Knecht Ruprecht carries a stick or a small whip in hand to punish any children who misbehave.
Ghana where is this?
Christmas in Ghana includes the whole family. Adults dress up in costumes and hand out candy and sweets around the neighborhood. Children decorate their homes with paper ornaments and drawings they make at school.
Great Britain where is this?
In Britain, children write their letters to Father Christmas and then throw them into the fireplace so they will float up the chimney and fly to the North Pole. If the lists catch fire first, they have to rewrite them.

On Christmas Eve youngsters hang up their stockings on the ends of the beds or by the chimney so that when Father Christmas comes he can leave them something.
Greece where is this?
In Greece, friendly but troublesome creatures called 'kallikántzari' live most of the year in the center of the earth. But at Christmas, they love to hide in people's houses, frightening people, playing tricks, or devouring Christmas foods. Greeks perform rituals to keep these hobgoblins away.
Greenland where is this?
Because Greenland sits north of the tree line, residents import evergreens from Denmark or they simply bring in a driftwood tree. In either case, they add holiday decorations to the tree.

Greenland Inuit villagers visit each other where they drink coffee, eat sweets, and exchange brightly wrapped traditional gifts such as miniature sleds, polished walrus tusks, or sealskin mittens. Their children go from house to house singing carols.

Most homes and village centers display a brightly lit star. This is both festive and practical. Greenland is so far north that in winter months the sun doesn’t appear, leaving residents in a perpetual midnight so the stars offer some much welcomed light.
Guatemala where is this?
Guatemalans celebrate Christmas with fun and dancing. They wear hats called Puritina, eat Guatemalan style tamales, light firecrackers at midnight, and dance the night away with various styles of dancing.
Hawaii where is this?
Christmas is very much celebrated in Hawaii but with a few enviable island twists including Santa's sleigh being replaced by an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins, and beachside sand "snowmen." Surf competitions, swimming in crystal clear waters and beach games make up the Christmas Day activities, complete with a whole roast pig to top it off.
Holland where is this?
Dutch children eagerly await the arrival of Sinterklaas on St. Nicholas Day on December 6. Sinterklaas is a kindly bishop. He wears red robes and a tall, pointed mitre on his head. Sinterklaas travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam's harbor every winter. He brings his white horse and a huge sack full of gifts for the children. Families celebrate St. Nicholas Eve at home with lots of good food, hot chocolate and a letterbanket, a "letter cake" made in the shape of the first letter of the family's last name.
The Holy Land where is this?
Christmas in the Holy Land where Christ is believed to have been born is often full of travelers come to celebrate Christmas. Here in a grotto there is a 14-pointed Silver Star on the floor is where the birthplace is supposed to have been. There are three Christmas Eves in the Holy Land. One on the 24th December celebrated by the Protestant and Catholic Churches. The second for the Greek Orthodox, Coptic (Egyptian) and Syrian churches. The third is the Armenian Church.
Hong Kong where is this?
In Hong Kong Christians of most denominations celebrate Christmas with hundreds of church services in Chinese. There are also services held in English for the Europeans. They send Christmas cards. Many of these cards are exquisitely decorated to show the artistic side of the people who might be gifted. These cards consist of the Holy Family in a Chinese setting. Poinsettias and Nativity scenes decorate homes, churches and other public places and ideographs show the Chinese alphabet on streamers and paper chains. Santa Claus also known as Lan Khoong or Dun Che Lao Ren with his reindeer, are a surprising addition to the Far Eastern Scene.
Hungary where is this?
Did you know that Hungarians traditionally don’t put a Christmas tree in their house before Christmas Eve? And sometimes only the adults decorate the tree, so when children get home and discover it, they are told that nice angels brought the tree for them! Like many countries in Eastern Europe, Hungary celebrates St Nicholas (called Mikulás) on the 6th of December. Then Télapó (Old Man Winter – the equivalent of Santa) comes to the scene. But on the big day, it’s not him who sneaks in and gives out gifts, it’s little Jézuska, baby Jesus!
Iceland where is this?
At Christmas time in Iceland, families give gifts of warm clothing to each member of their household. According to legend, there is a frightening Christmas Cat who gobbles up anyone not equipped for the cold and wintery weather. Families work together to ensure nobody will 'go to the Christmas Cat.
India where is this?
In India, Christmas is mainly celebrated in the city of Mumbai and the state of Goa as well as in some areas in the east of the country. While in many places the traditional Christmas tree is a pine tree, in India people decorate mango or banana trees instead, sometimes also using the leaves to decorate their homes! Streets are also adorned with garlands of giant paper lanterns in the shape of stars creating a truly magical atmosphere.
Iran (Persia) where is this?
Christmas in Iran is known as the Little Feast. For the first 25 days of December, a great fast is observed, during which no meat, eggs, milk, or cheese is eaten. It is a time of peace and meditation; a time for attending services at the church.

When the fast is over, the feast is begun, for plenty of meat is prepared for the Christmas dinner. Christmas Eve is the last day of the fast. Almost before dawn on Christmas Day, the people attend Mass to receive Communion and it is not until they have received this Communion that they are permitted to break fast.

The boys and girls of Iran have never heard of Santa Claus, so they do not exchange gifts at Christmas. But they do receive new clothes, which they proudly wear all during the happy Christmas week.
Iraq where is this?
In the Christian homes an unusual ceremony is held in the courtyard of the home on Christmas Eve. One of the children in the family reads the story of the Nativity from an Arabic Bible. The other members of the family hold lighted candles, and as soon as the story has been read a bonfire is lit in one corner of the courtyard. The fire is made of dried thorns and the future of the house for the coming year depends upon the way the fire burns. If the thorns burn to ashes, the family will have good fortune. While the fire is burning, a psalm is sung. When the fire is reduced to ashes, everyone jumps over the ashes three times and makes a wish.
Ireland where is this?
The Irish leave a tall red candle in a front window overnight, a welcoming symbol of warmth and shelter for the holiday season. Traditional Christmas fare in Ireland often includes homemade roast goose, vegetables, cranberries, and potatoes.
Italy where is this?
In Italy, a nativity scene, a ‘presepe’, is usually put up in churches, town squares and often in homes. This is for many the most important part of the Christmas decorations. The nativity scene display with a crib filled with straw, originally stems from Italy and is now common occurrence in many countries around the world. In Italy, ‘Babbo Natale’, that's how Father Christmas is called in Italian, hands out presents to children on Christmas Day. Still in many families, gifts are exchanged only on 6th of January which is the Day of Epiphany. In Italy, the people wish each other ‘Buon Natale’, which means 'Merry Christmas'.
Japan where is this?
Christmas has never been a big deal in Japan. Aside from a few small, secular traditions such as gift-giving and light displays, Christmas remains largely a novelty in the country. However, a new, quirky “tradition” has emerged in recent years – a Christmas Day feast of the Colonel’s very own Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Kyrgyzstan where is this?
In Kyrgyzstan, Ayaz Ata (Grandfather Frost) comes at midnight on New Year's Eve and leaves presents under the New Year tree. When the clock strikes midnight, families throughout the country light fireworks to celebrate this beautiful occasion. The cities become as bright as day.
Latin America where is this?
Christmas is very much a religious holiday centered around the age-old story of the Nacimiento, Christ's Child. It is known as Las Posadas, Navidad and Dia de los Tres Reyes. Throughout the season are a lot of bright flowers and brilliant nights. They celebrate with holiday foods, songs. Those songs and foods eaten are greatly influenced by the different indigenous people of the region but all share the strong Latin influence dating from the arrival of Roman Catholicism hundreds of year’s ago.
Latvia where is this?
Mummers (or street actors, can also be friends and family) who disguise themselves as animals or macabre characters in Latvia. They then go from house to house within their community during the twelve days of Christmas to drive away the evil spirits with music and traditional songs. They even give a variety of informal performances that may include dance, jokes, or recitations. In return, families offer Christmas traditions food and drinks. The mummers are expected to stay disguised, and in addition to the masks, they hide their voices to avoid being recognized. Once the mummers are identified, they remove their disguises and spend some social time with the hosts eating the food offered to them. Then they travel as a group to the next home to continue the process.
Lebanon where is this?
About two weeks before Christmas people in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East plant seeds - chickpeas, wheat grains, beans, lentils - in cotton wool. They water the seeds every day and by Christmas the seeds have shoots about 6 inches in height. People use the shoots to surround the manger in nativity scenes. Figures are made from brown paper, as well a star is placed above the scene.
Lithuania where is this?
In Lithuania, traditional Christmas ornaments are made out of straws or hay. They're woven into geometric shapes, like stars, snowflakes, or bells. Many families also use straw to decorate the dinner table for a big meal called Kūčios.
Malta where is this?
A Maltese Christmas traditionally is centered on the crib or presepju. The child's version of the church crib is called grolta. Everywhere had at least one crib, varying in size and detail. The crib figures are called pasturi and represent Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shepherds, angels, villagers and animals such as cows, donkeys and sheep. The Cribs are surrounded by lights and plants.
Martinique where is this?
In the French Caribbean island of Martinique, la ribote is a longstanding tradition where families visit their neighbors during Advent and on New Year's Day bearing holiday food like yams, boudin créole, pâtés salés, and pork stew. They sing Christmas carols together into the early hours of the morning, adding their own creole verses to traditional lyrics.
Mexico where is this?
In cities and towns across Mexico, the Christmas festival of Las Posadas is celebrated between December 16 and 24. Las Posadas commemorates the long journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of lodging, a safe place where Mary could give birth to baby Jesus. During Las Posadas, which is Spanish for “the inns” or “shelter,” children dress in robes, with an angel, Mary and Joseph represented. Adults and musicians follow the procession, stopping at preselected homes. Each home represents an inn and when the procession requests lodging, they are provided with refreshments, and Christmas songs are sung. The celebration lasts nine nights in honor of Mary’s nine months of pregnancy. On the final night, the children celebrate by breaking open piñatas filled with candy and toys.
Micronesia where is this?
Christmas Day is a church family day for Protestant Christians. Everyone attends the local church and spends most of the day there. The long worship service includes a message from every minister, lay preacher, and missionary in the area. Another hour or two is spent in hymn and carol singing. If gifts are presented, it is considered proper for each recipient to applaud himself as he goes to receive the two bars of soap he is likely to be given.
The Netherlands where is this?
Every year in the days leading up to 25th December, Dutch children eagerly place their shoes by the fire in the hopes that Sinterklaas will fill them with small gifts and treats in the night. Traditionally, carrots are left in the shoes for Sinterklaas' faithful steed, a white horse named Amerigo. In the olden days, naughty children would receive a potato in lieu of gifts, but potato punishment is no longer considered an appropriate scare tactic.

Dutch children eagerly await the arrival of Sinterklaas on St. Nicholas Day on December 6. Sinterklaas is a kindly bishop. He wears red robes and a tall, pointed mitre on his head. Sinterklaas travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam's harbor every winter. He brings his white horse and a huge sack full of gifts for the children. Families celebrate St. Nicholas Eve at home with lots of good food, hot chocolate and a letterbanket, a "letter cake" made in the shape of the first letter of the family's last name.
New York, USA where is this?
Christmas season is a very special time of the year on the other side of the Atlantic! Singing Christmas carols, drinking eggnog or decorating houses are some of the favorite activities of many Americans throughout the month of December. And of all American cities, New York may be the one that embodies the most this Christmas spirit with iconic traditions such as the Christmas tree of the Rockefeller Center, Christmas shows on Broadway, the Wollman skating rink at Central Park or the magical Christmas lights in Dyker Heights.
New Zealand where is this?
Because Christmas is in the summer in New Zealand, friends and family gather round a barbecue. Typical Christmas meals include roast lamb, sometimes cooked in a 'hangi' - an underground pit or earth oven. A favorite dessert is pavlova: meringue covered in fresh fruit like strawberries and kiwifruit.
Nicaragua where is this?
Christmas begins officially on December 6 in Nicaragua, but actual activities begin on December 16 with the performance of the lodging difficulties of Mary and Joseph. The home where lodging is found, supplies wine and food. Every home contains a manger scene. From December 16 until Christmas Eve Mass, prayer is held each evening in the home, followed by refreshments and the singing of carols. After Christmas Eve Mass, the Christmas dinner is consumed with only the adults in attendance. Christmas cards are exchanged which are white and plain.
Norway where is this?
In Norway, Christmas means hiding your mops and brooms – not because people don’t want to clean, but because Norwegians are a little superstitious and want to prevent evil spirits, who return to Earth that night, from stealing the brooms and going on joyrides in the Christmas sky.
Pakistan where is this?
In Pakistan 25 December is a public holiday it is however in memory of Jinnah the founder of Pakistan. In Christian homes they celebrate Christmas with the exchanging of gifts and cards, the wearing of new clothes and the visiting of houses of friends. They have a church service which is packed on Christmas day which is called Bara Din the big day.
Papa New Guinea where is this?
Christmas is celebrated in much the same way as in Australia. However, for many villagers in the more remote areas, Christmas passes as just another day.
Peru where is this?
In Peru nativity scenes with Retablos inside are very popular. When priests were first taken to traveling they would carry small altars around with them for festival days. These gradually developed into portable boxes with saints above the altar and scenes from everyday life below it. Now the retablos depict Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, with local people crowding around.
The Philippines where is this?
The Philippines is known for having the world's longest Christmas season. Four months are considered Christmas months: September, October, November, December. Christmas carols can oftentimes be heard as early as the beginning of September.
Poland where is this?
In some parts of the world, like the Ukraine and Poland, the right time to open the presents is written in the stars: the youngest child has to watch the evening sky and wait for the first star to appear – that’s the signal that the opening of the presents can commence.
Portugal where is this?
The Portuguese celebrate Christmas on 24th of December. Houses are decorated for Christmas and many families put up a nativity scene (presépio), where Baby Jesus is added to the crib after the family attends Midnight mass. Children put out their shoes for Baby Jesus, not Santa, and gifts are exchanged after the family has attended a Christmas service on Christmas eve. In some towns and villages, the community gathers then also around a fire in the church car park that has been lit and wish each other 'Feliz Natal'.
Romania where is this?
Carols form an important part of the Romanian folklore. Romanian carols are not simple songs (a sort of invocation in verse sung by children and lads, on the evening of Winters Holidays) with religions origin, but wide windows through which we are allowed once in a year to go by the immaculate snow-towards the evergreen Heaven and to eye-touch God at least for an instant , in order to give us the power to surpass the life's obstacles. Carols put people in the mood for a perfect communion with the simple and healing greatness of Jesus' Birth. The carol singers walk in the streets of the villages and towns holding in their hands a star made of board and paper with biblical scenes painted in water colors.
Russia where is this?
Russian children decorate a New Year's tree, instead of a Christmas tree. Children wait with longing for Grandfather Frost who travels with his granddaughter Snowmaiden, delivering presents across the land. Grandfather Frost lives deep in the woods in Veliky Ustyug, in northern Russia.
Scandinavia where is this?
In Scandinavia a little gnome called Julenisse puts the presents under the Christmas tree in the night. The children leave a bowl of porridge out for him. The Yule log was originally an entire tree, carefully chosen, and brought into the house with great ceremony. The butt end would be place into the hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room. The tree would be slowly fed into the fire and the entire process was carefully timed to last the entire Yule season.
Scotland where is this?
In Scotland, Christmas had traditionally been celebrated very quietly, because the Church of Scotland - the Presbyterian Church - has never placed any great emphasis on the Christmas festival, However, the Scots who are members of the Church of England or other churches generally celebrate Christmas in the same way as the English people, however because some people who disapproved of Christmas for they believed that there was too much riotous festivity that went on. Nowadays these things are held at Hogmanay, but they do celebrate Christmas with some very interesting customs.

On Christmas day, people sometimes make big bonfires and dance around them to the playing of bagpipes. Bannock cakes made of oatmeal are traditionally eaten at Christmas.
Senegal where is this?
Although a Muslim-majority country, Christmas is celebrated by Christians and Muslims in Senegal. The capital city, Dakar, is decorated with Christmas trees and traditional masks covered in Christmas lights. The Senegalese people celebrate Muslim and Christian holidays together, as holidays are seen as an opportunity to share festivities with a communal spirit. Pères Noel, or Father Christmas as Santa is known in Senegal, is even known to appear at supermarkets in Dakar.
Sicily, Italy where is this?
In Sicily the Sicilians fast from December 23rd at sunset to the December 24th at sunset. They then have a great Yule log which is kindled. After prayers and songs are done around the Presepio or crib the feast begins.

The children are visited by La Befana on January 6. She was said to have been so busy cleaning her house that she missed out on going with the three wise men to Bethlehem. She was also considered to be a witch. Children hang up their stockings so that she will fill them with toys and gifts.
Singapore where is this?
In Singapore, about two in ten people are Christians. Christmas, however, is very commercialised in Singapore and Christmas decorations are abundant in the city with masses of tiny fairy light decorations. Stunning decorations can be seen everywhere in the main shopping district, Orchard Road. Visit the Gardens on the Bay for a truly stunning Christmas Wonderland with light installations and concert.
Slovakia where is this?
Pudding – in all flavors and consistencies – is a popular Christmas delight. In Slovakia and parts of the Ukraine, pudding does not only warm the heart, it can also predict the future: the oldest male member of the family takes a spoonful or of loksa pudding and throws it at the ceiling. The more pudding sticks, the more luck you’ll have. Simple as that.
South Africa where is this?
In South Africa, people celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. On Christmas Day the family gathers at a ‘braai’, which is the South African version of a barbecue. In South Africa it is summer season in December. Many people visit Christmas mass on Christmas day as well. There are few natural Christmas trees, but some people put up decorated artificial trees in their homes.
South Korea where is this?
In South Korea, Christmas is a national holiday. It's also known for being a romantic holiday. Many couples go on dates in the city, where streets and stores are trimmed with dazzling lights.
Spain where is this?
In case you’re not a fan of Christmas trees, can we interest you in a Christmas log? In many parts of Spain, the gifts are brought by Tió de Nadal or Christmas log – a piece of wood that is often decorated with a face and little legs. However, the log doesn’t just bring the presents to the families: Tió de Nadal also gets fed at night, and it can cozy up with its own little blanket. Cute, right? Well, the cuteness stops right there: On Christmas Eve, the log is put in the fireplace where the families beat the poor little log with sticks until it… uhm… it poops presents and candies.
Sweden where is this?
Since 1966, a 13-metre-tall Yule Goat has been built in the center of Gävle’s Castle Square for the Advent, but this Swedish Christmas tradition has unwittingly led to another “tradition” of sorts – people trying to burn it down. Since 1966 the Goat has been successfully burned down 29 times – the most recent destruction was in 2016.
Switzerland where is this?
Although their popularity has spread in recent years, Advent Calendars are especially big in Switzerland. Some parents make them for their children, while others purchase unique ones tailored to their kids' interests. They open a new little treat every day, with the biggest one arriving on Christmas Eve.
Syria where is this?
On Christmas Eve everyone in the family, carries a lit candle, to stand around an unlit bonfire outside their house. The youngest child usually the son of the family reads the Christmas story, after which the bonfire is lit. The way the flames spread shows the luck of the house in the coming year. When the fire burns, psalms are sung, and when it sinks, everyone leaps over the embers making wishes.

Early on Christmas morning everyone goes to Mass. At this Mass another bonfire is lit in the middle of the floor. While the wood is blazing, ancient hymns are sung and the celebrant carries a figure of the Christ Child around the building. After this the celebrant then touches the nearest person in a "touch of peace". This touch is passed from one to another until everyone has received it.
Turkey (Republic of Türkiye) where is this?
Christmas really isn't celebrated in Turkey. December 25th isn't a public holiday - it's just a normal day! Only 0.2% of the Turkish population are Christians, and many of those are migrants/refugees from countries such as Syria and Iran, etc. Many towns and cities have decorations and light displays and more people are having decorations in their homes, such as Christmas Trees. However, they are more used to celebrate New Year's Eve which is a much bigger celebration in Turkey than Christmas.
Uganda where is this?
Christmas is called "Sekukulu" in Uganda and if you wanted to say merry Christmas it would be sekukulu enungi. There are many similarities between an American and a Ugandan Christmas: church bells and carols by candlelight, as well as feasting and dressing up in our best clothes. But Christmas in Uganda is a bit more of a community affair. There are dances and singing performances or competitions, and soccer matches all over the city. The evening is a food lover's dream, with large dinner parties that make sure the poorest members of the community are involved.
Ukraine where is this?
Believe it or not, there such as thing as a Christmas spider. In the Ukraine, the Christmas trees are decorated with spider webs – don’t freak out, they are ornaments that look like spider webs, which are said to bring good luck. The tale goes all the way back to a poor woman who couldn’t afford ornaments to decorate her tree with. The next morning, she woke up and her tree was covered with spider webs that look all sparkly and beautiful in the sunlight. Other countries, like Poland or Germany, consider it good luck if they find a spider or spider web in the Christmas tree.
United Kingdom where is this?
In the United Kingdom, merrymakers of all ages enjoy Christmas crackers on the table at dinner. Crackers are tubes wrapped in colorful paper, with pull tabs on each end. When you pull the tabs, the tube bursts with a loud snap! Inside are paper hats, toys, jokes and prizes to enjoy during Christmas night.
United States of America where is this?
In the United States, stockings are hung on Christmas Eve. The legend goes that St. Nicholas heard of a family in need. To surprise them, he climbed down their chimney and placed precious bags of gold in hanging stockings. From this point, St Nicholas was known as Santa Claus, giver of gifts.
Venezuela where is this?
Every Christmas Eve, the city’s residents head to church in the early morning, but for reasons known only to them, they do so on roller skates. This unique tradition is so popular that roads across the city are closed to cars so that people can skate to church in safety, before heading home for the less-than-traditional Christmas dinner of ‘tamales’ (a wrap made out of cornmeal dough and stuffed with meat, then steamed).
Vietnam where is this?
Christmas is one of the four most important festivals of the Vietnamese year, they being the birthday of Buddha, the New Year and the mid-autumn festival. Although the Christians observed the religious rituals of Christmas. On Christmas Eve the Christians would attend a midnight Mass. After Church people would return to their homes for the most important meal the Christmas supper. The dinner usually consisted of chicken soup, and wealthier people ate turkey and Christmas Pudding.
Wales where is this?
Parading a horse’s skull around town, stuck on a pole like a hobby horse, draped in a sheet, and looking rather creepy? That is Wales for you. In this land steeped in tradition and superstition, the Mari Lwyd (pronounced something like Marie Loyd) tradition is thought to go back to Celtic times and involved a group of wassailing men carrying the hobby horse from house to house, demanding entry through song. The homeowners sang back, denying entry, and after a bit of to-and-fro, the singsong — probably a forerunner of caroling — ended and the horse-carrying party was invited in for some food and drink.
Washington D.C., USA where is this?
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is celebrated with much fanfare across the United States with one of the most elaborate events taking place on a national stage. Since 1979, a giant nine-metre Menorah has been raised on the White House grounds for the eight days and nights of Hanukkah. The ceremony in Washington, D.C. is marked with speeches, music, activities for kids, and, of course, the lighting of the Menorah. The lighting of the first candle at the White House takes place at 4pm, rain or shine, and an additional candle is lit each successive night.
Yugoslavia where is this?
In Yugoslavia, children celebrate the second Sunday before Christmas as Mother's Day. The children creep in and tie her feet to a chair and shout, "Mother's Day, Mother's Day, what will you pay to get away?" She then gives them presents. Children play the same trick on their father the week after.

A blessed and wonderful Christmas to all of you.

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