Christmas Traditions Around the WorldNo matter where you go in the world, there are Christmas traditions that people follow. One of the best things about learning about Christmas traditions around the world is you can find out how other people celebrate Christmas, but you can also find out more about your heritage. Christmas traditions around the world vary based on what religion is practiced in the country and what stories the people of the country believe.

 

Germany

One of the most interesting Christmas traditions around the world comes from Germany. This Christmas tradition started in Laschau, Germany, it is about hiding pickles or pickle shaped ornaments inside of a tree. As families are putting up their Christmas trees they use a pickle or a pickle ornament and hide it deep within the tree, the kids are supposed to find the hidden pickle. Whatever child finds the hidden pickle in the tree gets an extra gift at Christmas or they get to be the first person to open a present on Christmas morning. How the end is played out depends on the family, and what they can afford. Learn more about German Christmas Traditions.

 

Australia

The most popular Christmas tradition in Australia is the Carols by Candlelight. How this tradition works is people gather together at night and light candles while singing Christmas carols outside. Decorations for Christmas include ferns, palm leaves, and evergreens. Australians also use colorful flowers called Christmas bush and Christmas bellflower. If the family chooses to observe Irish traditions then the father will set a large candle in a front window so they can welcome Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. The youngest child in the family lights the candle. On Christmas Eve, the family attends midnight mass and then attends church on Christmas Day as well. Once church is over on Christmas Day, there are parties and festive visits.

 

Ethiopia

In Ethiopia since the follow the ancient Julian calendar, they do not celebrate Christmas until January 7. Ethiopians refer to Christmas as Ganna, as long as they are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. They celebrate Ganna by fasting all day the day before and dressing in white at dawn of the next day. Once everybody is dressed in white, they attend early mass, which usually begins at 4:00 am. Ethiopians continue the celebration for several days, during the celebration priests dress in turbans and red and white robes while they carry embroidered umbrellas.

 

France

If you live in France, one of the traditions that you take part in is celebrating St. Nicholas Eve, which is on December 5. On December 5 family and friends exchange gifts with each other. At night, children will leave their empty shoes in front of the fireplace so that Father Christmas can fill them with gifts. A few days before Christmas families will use a little platform to set up a nativity scene in a corner of the living room. The nativity scene is the most important decoration in France. On Christmas Eve families fast all day, at midnight everyone in the family but the youngest children attend mass. Once midnight mass is over everybody returns home to enjoy a feast called le reveillon.

 

Other

With so many traditions around the world, we couldn't have just one article. Check out these Italian Christmas Traditions and Mexican Christmas Traditions as well.

 


Return from Christmas Traditions Around the World to all Traditions

Photo Credit: Paul Watson

Go back