Christmas is celebrated throughout the world in many forms of tradition — Americans know what that looks like for the states. The typical western tradition of Christmas is celebrated with a Christmas tree, stringed lights decorating the tree and home, and with as many or few embellishments one can tolerate. Shopping for gifts and listening to all the Christmas music one can handle during the holidays. Turkey and ham dinners, spending time with family and friends, the ones you hold near and dear to your heart. Santa Claus delivers presents to all the little good girl and boys on Christmas Eve while they sleep and dream of sugar plum fairies, or so I’m told, waiting for Christmas morning where they can wake and tear into their gifts. Some picture a cozy winter wonderland and others spend time on a beach barbecuing some prawns. Whether is a tradition KFC dinner or a giant goat, citizens of the world have fun celebrating the holidays with their loved ones.
Many people in Argentina are Catholic, which means a lot of the festivities take place on Christmas Eve. Many Catholics will go to Mass in the late afternoon and have Christmas dinner right before midnight. At midnight fireworks are sent off into the air, toast are made, and gifts are opened. They also participate in “globos,” a paper decoration with light inside that float into the sky, similar to Chinese Lanterns.
Some countries where the main Church is the Orthodox Church, which uses the old Julian calendar, Christmas takes place on January 6. The same day that they celebrate Epiphany, the Apostolic designation of the revelation that Jesus was God’s son. At the beginning of December, a Christmas Tree is place in Republic Square in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. Their Christmas celebrations include a fast a week before Christmas, which leads to khetum — a Christmas Eve meal of rice, fish, nevik, and wheat soup. Santa Claus is known as Gaghant Baba and traditionally stops by on New Year’s Eve.
In Australia Christmas festivities happen during the summer! Its common for Australians to decorate their homes with ‘Christmas Bush,’ a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream-colored flowers. Christmas pageants in each state capital city are also broadcast across the country along with the traditional caroling and gift exchanging.
In the Philippines, a Giant Lantern Festival is held every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve. Eleven villages participate in the festival which includes building the most elaborate lantern, lights, and fireworks. Along with common western Christmas traditions, “parol,” a bamboo pole with a lighted star lantern on it representing the star that guided the Wise Men, is a traditional Christmas decoration in many Philippine homes.
A 42-foot-tall straw Yule Goat is built at Gävle’s Castle Square for Advent — it’s a tradition for the town since 1966. From this this tradition, another has grown alongside it, the tradition of burning it down. Townsfolk often bet whether the goat will make it to Christmas. The goat has been burnt down 35 times in the past 50 years of its existence. The Yule Goat is meant to help Santa deliver presents.
Japan celebrate the holiday more for its romance and happiness and not the religious aspect it represents. KFC is a large part of the holiday tradition dating back to 1974 when Kentucky Fried Chicken started advertising its “Christmas Chicken.” It’s common to see lines forming and reservations made for a $40 KFC Christmas dinner.