Christmas Celebrations in Other Countries
It is not always easy moving away from the people that you love, especially if you are moving internationally. This is even truer during the holiday season. Holidays such as Christmas promote togetherness and family time, and you might be worried that your new country does not even celebrate it. What you may not know is that Christmas is celebrated in many countries around the world, so research how your local area celebrates the holidays. Here are three examples of how some foreign countries like to celebrate Christmas.
Just like in the United States, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th in Japan, but it is seen much more as a commercial event, rather than a religious holiday, because the Christian population is quite small. However, people still decorate trees with lights. The same is also true for their homes. Also, just like in the US, people buy each other gifts. There is even a Japanese equivalent of Santa Claus, although he is slightly different than the one seen in United States malls, movies, and commercials. There is also a traditional meal that is eaten on Christmas Day, but in Japan it consists of fried chicken and sponge cake with strawberries and whipped cream usually. It is still a time that people come together and love one another, so the spirit of the holiday is very close to the United States.
Christmas in Europe
In Germany, they celebrate Christmas as well, although there are many differences to the way the holiday is celebrated in the US. Many people might not know that the Christmas tree was actually started in Germany. However, there they usually purchase the tree on Christmas Eve. When trimming the tree, children are not allowed to participate, due to an old folktale of the tree casting a spell on the child before they are supposed to, which has become tradition. The Germans also celebrate St Nicholas Day on the 5th of December. This is the time for children to get presents. Normally, they put their boots outside their door, and if they were good, they get filled with presents. This is similar to the tradition of the Christmas stocking in the United States.
Similar to how things are done in Germany, the children of France also lay their shoes out before bed, hoping they are filled with treats when they wake up. However, the children will lay them next to their hearth as opposed to outside their door. Also, there is a much larger Christian population here than there is in Japan, so it is not uncommon to see nativity scenes or be reminded of the story of Jesus while you are there. In fact, many people will attend midnight mass at their church on Christmas, followed by a large dinner, the menu of which varies from region to region.
While you might feel that you are alone during the holidays, as you can see, many places have celebrations that are very similar to what you might be used to in the United States. Do not be afraid to celebrate with your new family and friends and learn about how Christmas is celebrated in your new land. Who knows, you may even start a couple new traditions for your own family.