Christmas Around World
Posted on 22 Dec 2023
"Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand." - Dr. Suess
This is the time of year when bells start to jingle, tinsel start to sparkle and Santa dusts down his sledge (or surfboard) for another hectic night of deliveries. For many of us, as the weather becomes colder, we start to wonder if we will see a festive dusting of snow.
Christmas time is often celebrated in a wide variety of ways by the people around the world. Some traditions can follow their roots back hundreds of years, while others are a result of our modern age, many being a result of the local climate and weather.
In this festive blog post, we will take a journey around the world, and peek into some of the more interesting Christmas traditions.
Japan's Fried Chicken Extravaganza
It is said that this tradition began when a group of foreigners complained to a well known take-away fried chicken restaurant company about the lack of traditional Christmas food in Japan. This gave Takeshi Okawara, the manager of the first of these restaurants in Japan the idea of marketing fried chicken as a Christmas meal. The idea quickly spread, helped by the relatively low cost of the cuisine, along with the notion that this particular brand represented western modernity.
Today, take-away fried chicken is a major part of the Japanese Christmas. It is estimated that more than 3.5 million families order the meal for their Christmas Eve dinner. Pre-orders for Christmas meals are even taken months in advance.
Rollerblading to Mass in Venezuela
This tradition, known as "Patinatas Navideñas" (Christmas Rollerblading) started in the 1960s and has become an integral part of the Christmas festivities for many Venezuelans.
On Christmas Eve, as midnight approaches, the streets are closed to traffic. Thousands of people, decorated with colorful clothes and even lights, start to rollerblade and skateboard towards their local church for the Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass). The spectacle is said to be incredible, with the streets full of rollerblading locals, with the sound of music and their ‘swishing’ rollerblades filling the warm air.
The tradition of rollerblading to Mass is said to have originated from a combination of factors, including the warm climate in Venezuela (average high daytime temperatures in Caracas are 25C), the popularity of rollerblading among young people, and the desire to create a unique and festive way to celebrate Christmas. As the tradition grew in popularity, it became a symbol of unity and joy, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to share in the spirit of the season.
Norway's Christmas Eve Mystery
Norway's unique event has origins that date back to the story-telling traditions of the 18th century. On December 24th, families across Norway gather around the radio to listen to a mysterious broadcast that has been aired every year since 1940. The broadcast is known as "Kveldens Eventyr" (The Fairy Tale of the Evening), and features a different folktale each year.
The broadcast always contains a thrilling and heartwarming story, often about the importance of family, friendship, and kindness. The tales are narrated by some of Norway's most famous actors, and are often accompanied by traditional Norwegian music. Norway’s cold December climate, where temperatures often fall to -7C during the night is also said to help bring people together into a warm and cozy atmosphere to enjoy a familiar, yet fascinating tradition.
Santa's Surfboard in Australia
In stark contrast to Norway, Christmas in Australia is a summer holiday. Temperatures ranging from 24°C to 33°C. in places like Cairns, Port Douglas, and the Great Barrier Reef make them popular get-away destinations.
With this warm climate, the image of Santa Claus surfing the waves is now as familiar as his more traditional sleigh ride.
It is thought that the abundance of ‘surfing Santas’ is due to a combination of the popularity of surfing in Australia, their wonderful beaches, and simply the sheer fun and enjoyment that a surfing Santa brings.
Tower of Pancakes, San Marino
The Tower of Pancakes is a traditional San Marino Christmas dessert that is made from a variety of different ingredients, including flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. The pancakes are then stacked on top of each other to form a tower, which is decorated with frosting, fruit, and other festive toppings.
The Tower of Pancakes is a symbol of abundance and prosperity, and it is said to bring good luck to the family that eats it. The tradition of making the Tower of Pancakes dates back to the Middle Ages, and it is still a popular part of the Christmas celebration in San Marino today.
We can see that people find some wonderful ways to celebrate Christmas, and some perhaps take inspiration from a quote in Dr. Seuss’ book ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!’ ”
A Happy Christmas from OpenWeather
Wherever you may be in the world, and however you choose to celebrate the days ahead, we wish you, your family and friends a wonderfully joyful and peaceful Christmas, full of your favorite weather.
May 2024 bring you sunshine, health, happiness, and dreams that come true.