Christmas is a magical time of year. It provides us all with the opportunity to unwind with our families, exchange thoughtful gifts, recharge and make memories to last a lifetime. Due to Covid-19, Christmas will certainly be different this year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less special. If you are someone that had planned to spend the festive period in an exotic location, why don’t you celebrate Christmas traditions from around the world in the comfort of your own home instead? From eating KFC on Christmas Day, to hosting a giant lantern festival, different countries across the globe have some fabulous – if not very different – rituals. Here’s how the rest of the world celebrates this season:
Sweden: The Yule Goat
Year after year in Sweden, the start of the Christmas season is celebrated by putting up a giant straw statue of a goat. The Yule Goat, as it’s known, has been a Swedish Christmas symbol dating back many years. It stands at more than 42 feet high and 23 feet wide, and the residents wait and watch to see if the goat will make it until Christmas. The town does all it can to protect the goat – guards, security cameras and fences – but every year people try their hardest to burn it down!
Philippines: Giant Lantern Festival
In San Fernando, ‘the Christmas capital of the Philippines, individuals hold a giant lantern festival every year, which features beautiful lanterns that symbolise the Star of Bethlehem. Light is significant for Filipinos, as it signifies unwavering hope. The designs are all truly innovative, creative and original and help to light up the sky.
In Japan, fried chicken is often eaten on Christmas Day. For fast food restaurants such as KFC, it is often their busiest day! Orders can be placed in advanced, and individuals can queue for hours to get their favourite meals. After a very successful marketing campaign in 1974, fried chicken and wine became a Christmas custom for the Japanese market. Each year, it is estimated that more than 3.5 million Japanese people turn to KFC to fill their stomachs on Christmas Day!
New Zealand: BBQ
In New Zealand at Christmastime, it’s a completely different climate to the one we are used to in the UK. December is the middle of summer, which makes for the perfect time to have a BBQ! Numerous cities and towns in New Zealand will hold a Christmas Parade, too, which can include floats, marching bands and Father Christmas.
Will you be bringing any of these traditions to your home this Christmas?