Andere Länder, andere Sitten: Weihnachtsbräuche der Welt - NIKIN EU

Other countries, other customs: Christmas customs around the world

When the days get shorter, the Christmas decorations are brought out in this country. Advent wreaths and Christmas trees, presents and Christmas carols are typical parts of the festival. In fact, what we perceive as a Christmas tradition is of pagan origin - and elsewhere people celebrate the festival very differently.

If you think twice when you look at the calendar, you will immediately notice that something is wrong - because the Three Wise Men, who venerate the baby Jesus after his birth, will hardly have been stuck in the time loop until the beginning of January. In fact, Epiphany is the “real” Christmas – the day on which the Eastern Churches still celebrate the birth of Christ.

What does Christmas do in December?

Moving the festival to the three days of December 24th to 26th was not least a clever marketing strategy of early Christianity, because at that time pagan Rome was celebrating Sol Invictus, the undefeated sun god was literally on the rise again after the shortest day of the year. North of Rome, Germanic and Celtic peoples celebrated this very occasion with very similar reasons. The early church took advantage of this popularity.

However, it would take much longer for a decorated Christmas tree or the “typical” Santa Claus to be added – and these components are not considered indispensable everywhere. The idea of ​​Christmas as a family celebration has only been around for a little longer than a hundred years. How have Christmas traditions developed among our nearer and farther neighbors?

  • Bulgaria and Poland: The neighbors to the east celebrate meat-free, with a lavish selection of vegetarian dishes that are considered typical Christmas treats and are eaten with the family.

  • Ukraine: In Ukraine, decorations in the form of cobwebs replace the ornaments that are designed like stars or snowflakes in this country. The basis of the custom is the legend of a poor woman who could not afford the tree decorations and was able to enjoy the frost-covered cobwebs.

  • Japan: Christmas dinner at Kentucky Fried Chicken is the long-lasting success of an advertising campaign that helped the US fast food chain position itself as THE place to be during the holidays to establish.

  • Spain: The event of the year in Spain is the now well-known Christmas lottery El Gordo. The enormous jackpot makes a select few very happy every year, and the drawing is eagerly awaited.

  • England: In some places, the Yule Log is still lit in the fireplace - a solid, large log, the burning of which probably has pagan origins.

  • USA: Cucumbers as a good luck charm are hidden somewhere on the Christmas tree as an ornament. Whoever finds the unusual decoration is supposedly lucky or gets an additional gift.

Christmas brings light into the darkest season

No matter how people all over the world celebrate Christmas or the winter solstice - behind it is always the desire to breathe light and warmth into the year that is coming to an end and the now very short days. This is achieved with lighting and decorations in which colors such as red and green make our hearts warm - and of course also through hearty meals and shared enjoyment with friends and family.

How and when do you celebrate “Christmas”? Write to us!

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