More than two billion people celebrate Christmas globally. However, the way that we all mark the occasion varies. As we celebrate the holidays with our family, friends and clients from around the globe, here are some of the traditions you may encounter.
Tradition: Santa’s spooky helper
As a part of celebrations in Germany as well as Austria and some parts of Switzerland, St Nikolaus is accompanied by a scary devil-like character as a warning to children no to be bad. In France there’s a similar figure called La Pere Fouettard.
Tradition: Presents on a broomstick
A good witch called La Befana delivers children’s presents on January 6th using a broomstick rather than a sleigh. But if you’ve been bad – expect lumps of coal.
Tradition: The smallest camel
Christmas in Syria is celebrated on December 6th and the churches of Syria hold special masses in honor of Saint Nicholas Thaumaturgus whose legend is similar to those of St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. The tradition of exchanging gifts also exists. Here, of course, in line with the local traditions and the importance that camels hold in them, it is the Smallest Camel of the Wise Men who brings gifts for the kids on the Eve of Christmas.
Tradition: Sinterklaas and Black Peter
In Holland Santa Claus is called Sinterklaas. He doesn’t live at the North Pole, but in sunny Spain and arrives by steamboat with a helper called Black Peter rather than an elf.
Tradition: Decorating mango trees
For Christians on the sub-continent fir trees aren’t common. Instead mango trees are often decorated instead and mango leaves used to brighten up homes.
Tradition: Basil and burning shoes
Basil is wrapped around a cross and used to sprinkle holy water around the house to ward off mischief making goblins called killantzaroi. It’s also traditional to burn old shoes for good luck in the following year.
These are just a few of the traditions from around the globe. Looking up different Christmas traditions is also a fun activity to do with your children during the holiday season!
French: Joyeux Noël
German: Frohe Weihnachten
Italian: Buon Natale
Greek: Kala Christouyenna or Καλά Χριστούγεννα
Hindi: Śubh krisamas (शुभ क्रिसमस)