Christmas is one of the most popular holidays on the calendar celebrated by millions of people all over the world. Whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Agnostic, Christmas means something special to everyone who celebrates it. But you may be surprised to find out that Christmas is celebrated on many different dates, with different Christmas customs in various parts of the world. For instance, Christmas in Africa is a summer holiday. There is no snow, but instead celebrated with tons of beautiful flowers where singing Christmas carols is the most important activity. Christmas in South America is celebrated in a very deeply religious way, while Christmas in India is influenced more by their local traditions involving elephants, umbrellas and traditional music into their Christmas festivities.
Christmas Around the World
In China, Santa is known as “Sheng dan lao ren”, meaning Old Christmas Man. Because only a small fraction of the Chinese population are Christian, only a small percentage of the population celebrates Christmas. These celebrations only take place in major cities in China such as Beijing and Shanghai , and Christmas is celebrated with Christmas trees, lights and other holiday decorations just like in the U.S.
In Brazil, Christmas is one of the most important days in the whole year, known as “Dia De Festas, and is celebrated on December 25th. In Brazil, Santa Claus is know as Papai Noel where many Christmas customs are similar to those in the U.S and U.K. Everyone in Brazil has a Christmas tree, rich or poor, and favorite Christmas foods include turkey, chicken, ham, rice, beans and beer. Caroling is also quite popular in Brazil, and Papai Noel is also a gift-giver depicted wearing boots and a red fur coat.
In Denmark, the main Christmas celebration is on December 24th, Christmas Eve. In Denmark, the day before Christmas eve, December 23rd is also celebrated and is affectionately known as “Lille Juleaften” or Little Christmas Eve. This is a time for family get-togethers and spending time with friends and loved ones. One of the main attractions of Christmas eve in Denmark is the lighting of the Christmas tree followed by huge feasts including roast pork, roast duck, roast goose served with potatoes, gravy and red cabbage.
In Japan celebrations also take place on Christmas Eve and is less of a religious celebration and more of a commercial event. In Russia, Christmas is actually celebrated on January 7th. In Italy the Christmas season goes on for three weeks, starting 8 days before Christmas and going well into January. Italian Christmas traditions are based heavily on the Christian tradition, while in India Christmas is based more off local customs and religions.
The Significance of Christmas
Christmas is a happy, hopeful time filled with warmth, caring, and for some, great spiritual significance. While most Christmas customs differ around the world, most Christmas festivities center around the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Thus, most countries around the world have taken the celebration of the birth of Christ and developed their own style of Christmas that fits their own culture and country. However, Christmas is still celebrated by millions of people all around the world with no religious affiliation, who love Christmas for the gift giving, togetherness, and the high spirits that are universal when it comes to the Christmas holiday.