A worldwide Christmas – how much do you know about it?     

Everyone loves celebrating Christmas – the presents, the food, family are all what makes it special. With less than a month to go, our high streets are full of decorations, gifts and festive food. Famous streets and landmarks in London are already glistening with festive lights and astonishing Christmas trees. But Christmas is a worldwide festival – how much do you know about how it’s celebrated across the globe?

In South America Christmas is very family based with Peruvians celebrating by eating large feasts and toasting family members at midnight; however, the most well-known decoration is called ‘pesebre’ (nativity scenes). Presents are placed around a manger than a tree and it’s thought to be lucky to be the person chosen to put the figure of baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve. Similarly, in Argentina large feasts are held and white cotton is used as snow on trees with red and white flowers and Father Christmas boots being common decorations too. 

However, in Asia Christmas celebrations start early, for example in the Philippines the festive season starts in September and ends around early January. During this time there are nine-night Masses and it is believed that if you attend all of them you will get one of your wishes granted in the next year. Also, on Christmas eve families spend time with each other by enjoying local delicacies like spring rolls and ‘morcon’ which is a meat roll stuffed with various other foods, for example egg and pickles. Another interesting way of celebrating Christmas is in Japan where it’s not seen as a religious holiday, like in the UK, but of more of a romantic day for couples. In Japan couples usually exchange gifts and go for a romantic dinner – which is traditionally Kentucky Fried Chicken!

Fruit cake is very popular in Egypt during the Christmas period while in Greenland Christmas dinner is served from a seal and takes seven months to prepare! 

Festivals have become a big part of our lives with Christmas being a huge festival worldwide. Many countries have their own unique ways of celebrating from fancy dress festivals in Ghana to relaxing with family on beaches in Australia. But remember Christmas is a time of giving whilst also a time to enjoy the company of family and friends who we may not see often. 

By Rhyen Patel, Whitgift School