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Christmas traditions from around the world

Christmas traditions from around the world

“Driving Home for Christmas” can mean very different things to different people. This article tells you about some of the most interesting Christmas traditions from around the globe.


Let’s start with Santa Clause’s “official” home.
You can mail your wish list to him directly at:
Santa’s Main Post Office, FIN-96930 Napapiiri.
Santa lives on Korvatunturi, which literally means “Ear Mountain” in Finnish. That’s why he’s so good at hearing all about how children have been behaving themselves.

He lives in the Christmas village with his wife and works together with his elves to make presents before making his way all around the world with his reindeer to deliver them to children.
rendeers and santa (christmas traditions)
Oatmeal (puuro) is served in Finland on the day be
fore Christmas. According to tradition, whoever finds the almond hidden in the porridge will have a lucky next year. The Christmas tree is brought into the house and decorated only the night before Christmas.

Proclamation of peace at midnight on Christmas Eve is an old Finnish Christmas tradition. It lasts 3 days and is taken very seriously by Finns.

Christmas Eve is dedicated to spending time with family. Only after Kris Kringle (Joulupukki) has stopped by, can the traditional meal begin, which varies only slightly from region to region. The Christmas ham is the culinary jewel of the season, and in Finland it stays on the table until the official end of Christmas, on January 6th.


While some Icelandic traditions are similar to those of other countries, we want to tell you about two that are especially typical for the volcanic island:

“Jólasveinar” are the 13 sons of a giant who have names like Þvörusleikir (Spoon-Licker) and Gáttaþefur (Door-Sniffer).
Earlier responsible for playing pranks on people according to their names, now they’ve been tasked with delivering presents.
Yule Lads, as they’re known, start coming one by one down from their home mountain after December 12. Children who didn’t forget to place their shoes on the window, get presents. Bad children have to make do with potatoes and carrots.

christmas traditions, presents at christmas evening

Another tradition based on Nordic myths is the Christmas cat.
It devours anyone who hasn’t dressed warm enough.
Since Christmas is the festival of love, families give each other warm clothing to make sure the Christmas cat stays away.


Down under, the temperatures at Christmas time stay around 30-35°C, so this means a change of program.
For lack of “real” Christmas trees, artificial ones are decorated.
Decking the house is surely made easier with no snow around.

In Australia, you’ll find “Carols by Candlelight”. The continent’s Christmas season conditions allow for evening open air concerts, so choirs, soloists and orchestras create Christmas atmosphere by candle light.

On the evening of December 24, children place a carrot, a bowl of milk and a cookie by the door to give Santa energy on his travels. On the morning of December 25, they’ll find a sack with presents hung on the side of their beds.


France is famous for its delicacies, so it’s no surprise that only the best is served at Réveillon on Christmas Eve.

After the church bells ring on December 24, Christmas dinner is on everyone’s mind, and it can take up several hours of the evening.
In Provence, 7 meals and 13 desserts are served according to the religious tradition as a symbol of the 12 Apostles’ Last Supper.
Favorite dishes include pumpkin pie, dried fruit and nougat with honey and pistachios. You can find out more in this article.

Children may open their presents only on the 1st day of Christmas.


Starting from December 24, a Christmas bonfire is lit to start the festivities that last 12 days. The fires keep away the Kobolde (Kalkanzari). It is believed that on Christmas, Kalkanzari leave the underworld in order to bring humans misery.
kalkanzari christmas traditions at the fire
In the evening, children walk the streets with drums, bells and triangles and sing lucky hymns, for which they get small presents.

On December 25, people visit each other for Christmas dinner. Rich food and sweets are served all around. Presents from St. Vassilius don’t appear by children’s beds until January 1st.


Russian Christmas is somewhat delayed. Until circa 90 years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church followed the Julian calendar, which lags behind the Gregorian calendar by thirteen days.
After the switch, church holidays stayed behind in time.

Following a 40-day fast, the Christmas tree is set up on January 6th.
A traditional meal of Kutya precedes the Christmas church service.

Presents from Ded Moroz (Father Frost) are opened on January 7th.
This figure is similar to Santa Claus as we know him.

Although the rituals of Christmas are different from country to country, they all have this in common: The holiday is about spending time with family.
And this always means lots of family photos. These can be easily edited with Photo & Graphic Designer. Try out the free trial version.

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