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Christmas Traditions from Around the World

We’ve been investigating how other countries celebrate Christmas, and have discovered lots of fun facts to share. Maybe you’ll be introducing some of these cultural, Christmas traditions to your celebrations this year?!


Christmas in Australia is in the middle of the summer holidays! When he gets to Australia, Santa gives the reindeer a rest and uses kangaroos to deliver the presents… 


On the south shore of Nova Scotia, there’s a tradition called ‘Belsnickeling’, where people dress up in funny Santa costumes and go from house to house until the home owners guess who you are! 


Between 16th December and Christmas Eve, children often perform the ‘Posada’ processions. These celebrate the Christmas story when Joseph and Mary look for somewhere to stay. 


In some parts of France, it’s tradition for 13 different desserts to be eaten on Christmas Day! All the desserts are made from different types of fruit, nuts and pastries. 


During Advent, people in Poland prepare their house for Christmas by doing a big clean! Windows are washed and carpets are cleaned – everything must be ship-shape for Christmas Day. 


On Christmas Eve, children often go out into the streets singing ‘kalanda’ (carols). If the children sing well, they might be given money, nuts and sweets to eat. 


Christmas was not celebrated very much in the days of the Soviet Union. Now it is normally celebrated on 7th January. 


Most people in China don’t know much about the Christmas story and it is only often celebrated in the major cities. Santa is called ‘Shen Dan Lao Ren’. 


Santa is very popular in Indonesia and is called ‘Sinterklass’ (Indonesia used to be ruled by Holland). Exchanging gifts is very common. 


In the villages of Polar Inuits, families like to visit each other and have parties. They drink coffee and eat cakes and exchange brightly wrapped parcels. Traditional presents include model sledges or sealskin mittens. 


In Argentina, the main Christmas meal is eaten during the evening of Christmas Eve. At midnight, people let off fireworks and toast the start of Christmas day. 


Christmas Day isn’t celebrated on 25th December, but on 7th January. For the 43 days before (Advent), many people will have a special fast where they eat a vegan diet. 


As well as Turkey, a traditional Christmas dinner in Nigeria may include beef, goat, sheep, ram or chicken. Other dishes include yam, fried rice and some type of stew. 

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Christmas Eve is very important, with churches hosting musical evenings and a nativity play. These plays last a very long time! 

South Africa

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa enjoys Christmas in the summer – you may be sitting by the pool in the sunshine while ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ plays on the radio! 


The traditional Latvian Christmas Day meal is cooked brown peas with bacon sauce, small pies, cabbage and sausage, bacon rolls and gingerbread. 


In Ho Chi Minh city, people like to go into the city centre on Christmas Eve and crowd the streets. Cars are not allowed for the night. It can get a little warm for Santa in this hot country! 

Do you have any unusual Christmas traditions you’d like to share with us?!