Holiday Traditions Around The World

Rachel Erb, Contributor

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With Christmas less than two weeks away, many people are in the holiday spirit and have begun celebrating with traditions they have carried on their whole lives. In the United States, these include hanging stockings above the fireplace, decorating a tree, and setting up nativity scenes. There are many others which families have created on their own as well. While these are just some of the traditions that take place in America, have you ever wondered what other traditions look like around the world?

In Finland, a tradition that families have is placing a single lit candle in the snow next to graves of their loved ones on Christmas Eve. The candles are a symbol that their ancestors will live again. Christmas in Finland is a very family-centered holiday; a time for remembrance and peace.
In the Philippines, they host a Giant Lantern Festival the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando. Eleven different villages compete in the festival to build the most elaborate lantern. The lanterns are made from a variety of materials and are about 6 meters in size. They are lit up with electric light bulbs that sparkle in a kaleidoscope of patterns and colors.

In Norway, they have a tradition of hiding their brooms on Christmas Eve. Dating back for centuries, people believed that witches and evil spirits would come out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride.

In Toronto, Canada, they have what’s called the Cavalcade of Lights to mark the start of the holiday season. First started in 1967, this tradition consists of the Main Square and the Christmas Tree are illuminated with 300,000 LED lights which shine from dusk to 11 pm until the New Year. In addition, they also put on a fireworks show.

In Australia, Christmas falls in the middle of some of the hottest weather they experience in a year. However, this does not stop them from getting into the Christmas spirit. Many Australians with decorate their houses in Christmas dinner and enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner of roast turkey, gingerbread, and steamed pudding. Beach barbeques and outdoor concerts are popular as well.

Although Christmas is a popular holiday celebrated by many people around the world, it is not celebrated by everyone. Other holidays celebrated around December include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and more. Whether or not you celebrate one of the holidays, I hope that this article educated you and showed you a glimpse into different celebrations that take place around the world. I hope you all stay warm this season and I wish you all a very happy holiday!