Different Christmas Traditions Around the Globe

Since Christmas is just around the corner, here are some examples of Christmas different traditions and stories from countries around the world.

Serbia – Two Sundays before December 25th, children tie up their mother. To get “free”, she has to give presents to the children. Exactly one Sunday after mother is tied up, this happens to the father of the family and again he has to give presents to his children to become “free.”

Netherlands – In Holland the Santa Claus is named Sinterklaas and surprisingly enough, Dutch Santa does not live in the North Pole, but in southern Spain. Also, Sinterklaas does not have elves as his helpers, but Sinterklaas has a helper named Black Peter.

India – In India Christmas fir trees are not the norm. People are decorating mango trees and also Mango leaves are used for home decoration.

Christmas Mango tree in India.
Christmas Mango tree in India.

Greenland – There are some strange traditions in this country. In Greenland people feast on mattak (meal of frozen whale skin and blubber), slices of raw whale skin. Also, they eat kaviak (decomposed bird), which was wrapped in sealskin and buried under a stone for several months.

Ukraine – People in Ukraine decorate Christmas tree with spiderwebs. It is because of a legend, which says that there is a magic spider who visits poor families and turns spider webs which are put on the Christmas tree into a Gold and Silver.

Spider webs are common Christmas decoration in Ukraine.
Spider webs are common Christmas decoration in Ukraine.

Greece – In Greece, people wrap basil around a cross and sprinkle holy water around the house to ward of mischief making goblins named Kallikantzaros. Also for a good luck, people burn old shoes.

Jamaica – Number one event during the Christmas in Jamaica is the John Canoe parade. This parade dates back to the slavery times and during the John Canoe parade people wear wacky masks and costumes. As a traditional meal, people eat curried goat for a Christmas dinner.

This is how John Canoe parade looks like during Christmas in Jamaica.
This is how John Canoe parade looks like during Christmas in Jamaica.

Brazil – People of a country who hosted latest World Cup believe that on Christmas night, animals are able to speak. The children in Brazil receive presents from Papa Noel, not Santa Claus, and Papa Noel does not give the presents in the stockings but in the shoes.

Iceland – Believe or not, but apparently there is 13 Santas in Iceland. Parents are giving out presents or rotten potatoes according to children’s behavior. Santas have names like Door Sniffer or Meat Hook.

Poland – In Poland, the main meal on Christmas Eve contains 12 courses. As a tradition, Poles put iron under the plate of each family member, to make sure that she or he has strong legs in the following year

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