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Christmas around the world

By HarryFriday 25th December 2015

A typical Australian Christmas involves the beach and a barbecue. A typical Australian Christmas involves the beach and a barbecue.


It’s that time of year again – Christmas! It’s a time for unwrapping presents, tucking into turkey and singing Christmas carols well into the night… or is it? Christmas traditions differ all over the world, from the weird to the wonderful and the downright bizarre. If you want to know exactly what we mean, read on to find out more, as we take a look at Christmas around the world.


BBQs in Australia

As you’re probably aware, Christmastime in Australia is a far cry from the dark nights and snowy weather we’re used to here in the UK. In fact, it’s the very opposite. Temperatures soar and the sun shines all day long, creating a vibrant, joyful atmosphere, so it’s little wonder that a traditional Christmas dinner isn’t on the menu. In Australia, turkeys and stuffing are replaced with a barbecue. Bonza!
Christmas in Bergen, Norway, is beautiful – just remember to look out for Nisse! Christmas in Bergen, Norway, is beautiful – just remember to look out for Nisse!

Nisse in Norway

If you’re spending Christmas in Norway you’ll notice a small gnome-like creature popping up on Christmas cards, decorations and elsewhere. This small creature is called Nisse. In Norwegian folklore, Nisse is a small, bearded sprite dressed in a knitted red cap who brings Christmas gifts for good children. On Christmas Eve, children leave out a bowl of rice pudding or porridge for him to enjoy on his travels.

Spring cleaning in Jamaica

Spring cleaning at Christmas, you must be kidding? Not if you’re in Jamaica! Cleaning the house from top to bottom, sorting through old belongings and making sure the house looks its best is a common tradition amongst many Jamaican families. Often, people will paint their home, both inside and out, purchase new curtains, bed linen and other household items, all in preparation for the New Year.
Tapas - an important part of any Spanish Christmas meal. Tapas - an important part of any Spanish Christmas meal.

Mummering in Canada

Mummering is a bizarre tradition which takes place in parts of Canada during the 12 days of Christmas. Groups of friends and family – known as mummers – disguise themselves in costumes and go from house to house, asking people to guess who they are behind their costumes. Usually, the mummers will be invited inside for food and drinks, and will play music, dance or perform. Once they’ve been identified they’ll move on to the next house.

Día de los Santos Inocentes in Spain

As if Christmas and New Year’s Eve aren’t enough, in Spain they’ve managed to fit an extra holiday in between the two, on December 28th. While traditionally a religious day, Día de los Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents’ Day) has become the Spanish equivalent of April Fool’s Day. The day is spent playing jokes and pranks on as many people as possible, making it particularly popular with children.
Chateau Frontenac overlooks a snow-covered street in Québec City, Canada.  Chateau Frontenac overlooks a snow-covered street in Québec City, Canada.

Socks in Brazil

While many children have a Christmas stocking to hang at the end of their bed, expecting it to be filled with small gifts by morning, in Brazil it’s a different story. Rather than hang stockings, children place a sock near a window for Papai Noel (Father Christmas) to find, in the hope that he’ll exchange it for a present. It’s also common to take part in Brazil’s month-long version of Secret Santa, Amigo Secreto.

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