Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World

People across the globe have different faiths and holiday traditions, each meaningful and special in its own way. As we head into winter, some of the diverse celebrations around the world include: Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Mawlid an Nabi, Kwanzaa, and more. Global Gifts Short North intern, Vera Gan, researched and wrote this blog post about some of the unique Christmas traditions that are found in specific countries.

When talking about German Christmas traditions, the Christmas Markets, where people sell food, ornaments, and other decorations, are perhaps the most famous. Every December, the Christmas Markets are held in several cities, such as Frankfurt and Nurnberg, attracting thousands of visitors.

The Lubeck Christmas Market is a must-go place for those visiting Germany. It first opened in 1648, as a place where people could buy things and prepare for the winter and now it has become a festival. The market is decorated with trees, toys, and lights. Beautiful glass ornaments, gingerbread, and other adorable decorations are also sold. Christmas glass ornaments were originally created in Germany and later spread to other countries. German craftspeople handmake these ornaments by blowing glass.

After shopping, people can warm up with a mug of mulled wine. Mulled wine is a European hot beverage made with red wine and mulling spices (a blend of cinnamon, cloves, orange zest, and other spices). Isn’t it so romantic to imagine drinking a warm red wine and talking with people on a snowy Christmas evening?

One more interesting fact: Krampus, known as an “evil Santa,” is popular in Germany and other European countries like Northern Italy, Austria, and Hungary. Contrary to the jolly and generous Santa you might be more familiar with, Krampus shows up around Christmas time and takes the naughty children away with him.

In many Asian countries, Christmas is not seen as a religious event, but more like a modern secular holiday representing happiness and romance. In Japan, Christmas is not a national holiday, but many celebrations and special events are held.

Every December in Yokohama, Japan, Christmas events are held in the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. The Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse was a historical building and now is used for restaurants, shopping mall, and stores. During the Christmas holiday, the warehouse is decorated with fir trees and colorful lights and filled with stalls selling Christmas decorations and gifts. It is similar to the German Christmas Market. People come and enjoy the holiday, though they do not treat Christmas as a religious event. It is a day to relax and enjoy.

Christmas in Egypt is quite different. It is celebrated on January 7th since most Egyptian Christians are Orthodox Christian. People start a vegan diet 43 days before Christmas Day and they then have a big Christmas feast on Christmas Eve on January 6th. Bread, meat, rice and other foods are often served for the Christmas meal.

On Christmas Day, Egyptians visit friends’ homes for parties, bringing with them as a gift a local sweet dessert, called kahk.

Global Gifts wishes everyone a Happy Holiday spent with loved ones!  

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