Have you ever thought about spending Christmas in Japan? Or in Australia? While travelling is currently close to impossible, this article will take you on an imagined tour of Christmas celebrations and festivities around the world!
Starting off with the UK, my grandmother bakes a “Christmas pudding” every year which will be served as dessert. Let me tell you, this pudding is something you will want to avoid if you can. She prepares it several weeks in advance and every family member has to stir the dough three times and gets to make a wish for every stir. On Christmas day, the pudding is traditionally soaked in alcohol and lit on fire before everyone starts digging into it, hoping to find the sixpence silver coin which is hidden somewhere in the cake. The lucky finder is said to receive good luck and fortune for the next year.
Arguably my favorite is the tradition of advent calendars in Switzerland. Instead of store-bought calendars, the Swiss tend to create DIY calendars for their children, family or friends. They buy 24 little gifts so the recipient will have one to open every morning from the first day of December until Christmas. Additionally, on the 6th of December the Swiss celebrate “Santa Clause day”, where Santa visits families at home. The Santa however brings along his companion, the so-called Anti-Santa named “Schmutzli”. This Santa is dressed entirely in brown and black, including a black beard. The story goes that the Anti-Santa will take any naughty children along with him.
Christmas is generally not greatly celebrated in Japan, there is however one peculiar tradition: Originally being the result of a clever advertisement campaign by KFC, fried chicken is now seen as the ideal Christmas meal and has become a much-loved tradition. Around 3.4 million people eat Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan every year on Christmas day , and the company has even created a much sought out special Christmas meal to celebrate the occasion.
Being located on the Southern hemisphere, a snowy Christmas is a faraway idea in down under. Instead, you are likely to find surfing Santas, as due to the scorching temperatures, surfing is a popular Christmas day activity. Many will even dress up in Santa costumes for the occasion. Something that you can’t miss from an Australian Christmas is a barbie on the beach or in the backyard. One thing you will traditionally find on the grill are prawns. An astonishing 40% of all Australian prawn consumption occurs over Christmas.
Saunas are already a big part of Finish life all year round (there are around 3 million saunas divided between the 5.5 million inhabitants). But even more so during Christmas: Fins usually spend some time in the Christmas sauna also called “Joulusauna” in order to cleanse themselves. Every Finnish sauna is said to have its own sauna elf for whom treats are being left out.
Last but not least, how about roller skating on Christmas day? This sounds like an extremely fun tradition and is commonly done in Venezuela’s capital Caracas. Until 8am, all the roads remain closed for people to roller-skate to church for the Christmas service.