Christmas Traditions Around The World

Kiera Mason, Staff Writer

As the scent of pine needles fills the air and snow blankets the ground, families around the world prepare for Christmas. Most people know Christmas as a cold chilly holiday with bright lights and hot chocolate, but people celebrate this holiday differently depending on their family backgrounds and geographic location. Here are some of the Christmas traditions from different countries.

In Poland, families share a pre-dinner paper-thin wafer. In Poland and many Polish communities worldwide, Christmas Eve dinner begins with sharing the Oplatek. The paper-thin square wafer is made of flour and water and has an image of the Nativity on it. In Bale, the people pass around a basket with square wafers. They each take one and pray after eating it.

In Slovakia, carp is a classic dinner dish. All over Central Europe, people enjoy carp for Christmas Eve Dinner. Rather than picking it up from the supermarket, traditionalists let the fish live in the bathtub for a couple of days before preparing and eating it. Many people believe that the scales bring luck.

In Germany, customers can shop sipping on a mug of wine. In many German towns, Christmas shoppers soothe their appetites while they shop in outdoor markets with a mug of mulled wine in one hand and a bratwurst in the other. Christkindlmarkt is Germany’s quintessential holiday shopping experience, where festive delicacies, handmade ornaments, and traditional gift items tempt shoppers throughout November and December.

During Advent in Austria and Bavaria, a horned monster named Krampus “hunts children.” The figure, grounded in pagan folklore, is now associated with Christmas. While St. Nicholas gives good kids gifts, Krampus, the half-man, half-goat, comes around and drags the bad ones away for punishment. In some places, men dress up as the scary character for a Krampuslauf. This folk tradition is when the Krampus-costumed men parade through the streets and go around, scaring spectators.

In Australia, Christmas is celebrated on the beach. Christmas in Australia comes around in the summer months, allowing many people to head down to a beach near them and have a barbecue. They bring many different types of games and food. The revelers also sing the song “White Christmas” but will not get the chance to experience the lyricist’s dream. However, many people do really enjoy their Christmas on the beach.