Navidad, Christmas, Weihnachten… Although we use different names to refer to the festive season, the truth is that we all experience it with the same enthusiasm, wherever we are in the world. Depending on the country you are in, you will celebrate it in one way or another. In today’s post, we want to reveal what Christmas is like in different countries. Some have similar traditions to Spanish ones, but others will surprise you a great deal.
Finland is one of the countries that celebrates Christmas the earliest. One of the biggest days is Saint Lucia day, on December 13th. This day is celebrated with family and, as tradition dictates, older girls dress in white tunics with crowns of candles on their heads, and they serve coffee, mulled wine, buns and biscuits to all their relatives.
Another special day during their Christmas is Christmas Eve. Finns usually spend the day as a family at a sauna and also visit the cemetery to remember those who have no longer with them.
Belgium and the Netherlands
Belgium and the Netherlands celebrate Christmas in style. Lights and decorations flood the main cities of both of these countries. They also have their own Father Christmas! His name is Sinterklaas, a friendly man dressed like a bishop who comes from Spain to bring gifts for the children.
Central European Countries
It is quite normal for countries that share a border to share traditions in common. This is what happens in Germany, Austria, France, Italy and other nearby countries with the folkloric night of Krampus or “Krampusnach”. Legend has it that, on the night of December 5th, a creature with a goat’s body and large horns roams the streets looking for children that have behaved badly, beating them with birch twigs and taking them to the underworld.
The festive calendar of the Greeks is similar to the Spanish one; celebrations start on December 25th and end on January 6th.
On Christmas Eve, it is very common for children to go from house to house singing “kálanda”, songs that are similar to carols. And, both on this night and the following night, people get together with family to enjoy the celebrations.
The most characteristic decoration in Greek homes at Christmas is a sailing boat adorned with lights called “karaváki”. Greece is a country made up of several islands, which is why it is so common for fathers to work at sea. That’s why it became tradition, especially on the islands, to have a model of a sailing boat with lights to remind them during this time of year.
In Australia, summer takes place in the months of December, January and February. Hence, Australian Christmas is takes place in the summer. Taking advantage of the heat and good weather, Australians celebrate the festive season on the beach with family and friends enjoying a delicious barbecue.
Although it’s summer, Santa Claus also visits this enormous island. The difference is that, in Australia, this character replaces his typical sleigh for a modern surf board, and travels by sea in shorts!
But Australia isn’t the only country that dresses in summer clothing at this time of year. In some parts of the American continent, Christmas or New Year are also held on the beach, as it is also summer there and people are able to enjoy extraordinary temperatures.
It is highly likely that the Philippines is the country with the longest Christmas in the world, given that they start celebrations in the month of September. From September 1st, the streets of the cities fill with festive decorations and lights, and you can even hear Christmas carols everywhere.
Did you know that around 1% of the Japanese population is Christian? That’s why Christmas is not widely celebrated in the country. However, in some cities, you will see Christmas decorations in the streets, shops and hospitality venues, largely as a result of the Western commercial influence. And the few people that do celebrate Christmas, mainly do so as a couple.
All these countries celebrate Christmas differently, with their own traditions, but with the same enthusiasm as in Spain. In our country, we all get together with family and friends to celebrate this special time of year. One of the most fun family activities, both for children and adults, is strolling through the streets, looking at all the lights and enjoying the Christmas markets. This is what happens in the city of Vigo, where you can find various attractions to enjoy during the festive season. One of them is O Barco do Nadal de Vigo with the Mar de Ons ferry company, which takes a wonderful trip along the Vigo estuary, to the sound of festive music and spectacular lights.