At Christmas we find very different customs all over the world. It is a time when all the people are smiling, a time to celebrate and party with our loved ones. In this article, we show you the main Christmas celebrations on our planet by continents.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Article Index

Christmas in the world: main customs and traditions

Southern europe

En Spain the starting gun takes place on December 22, when the Christmas Lottery takes place, in which the majority of the population participates. Christmas Eve and Christmas are celebrated with the family, and for a few decades Santa Claus has been received, who brings gifts to the children.

December 28 is the Day of the Holy Innocents, in which people play pranks on their friends, family and colleagues. On the night of January 5, there is a parade to receive the Three Wise Men, who also bring gifts to children who have behaved well, as tradition dictates.

Depending on the area, in Spain we find other customs. In Catalonia, Caga Tió is made, a log that children beat while singing so that sweets fall. On the other hand, one of the most outstanding Galician traditions is that of the Apalpador, a coal man from the mountains who brings gifts on December 24 and 31.

Santa Claus also visits the children of Francia. In addition, in this country two of the star dishes are the foie gras, made with duck liver, and the Christmas log, a cake in the shape of a log coated in chocolate.

In Provence, a region in the southeast of the country, it is a tradition that a total of thirteen desserts are cooked to celebrate Christmas. Champagne is served in meals throughout France.

On the Christmas Eve of Greece the children sing kalandas, that is, typical Greek Christmas carols. There is no Christmas tree, but models of sailboats made with wood. The one who brings the gifts is Saint Basil, on January 1. On January 6 the Baptism of Jesus is celebrated.

En Italy It is December 8, the Day of the Immaculate Conception, when the nativity scene is prepared, a representation of the birth of Jesus made with miniatures. On January 5, Befana arrives on a broom, an old woman who brings sweets to good children and coal to bad ones.

Northern europe

Advent represents the countdown to the birth of Jesus and is very important in Germany. That is why Advent calendars are typical, in which a small door opens every day behind which there is a chocolate bar. Here the children can write the letter to Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas or Baby Jesus.

There are also seven official Christmas post offices, to which children send their letters. If they send them before December 15th, they will receive a reply.

En Austria They celebrate Advent with a crown of four candles, which they light one by one every Sunday. On December 4, Santa Barbara is celebrated, and the next day is the Day of Krampus, Saint Nicholas' helper who visits bad children.

It is December 6 when Saint Nicholas arrives with sweets for children who have behaved well. On Christmas Eve, the Christmas Tree is placed and the popular Christmas carol "Silent Night" is sung.

En Bulgaria Christmas is celebrated both on December 25 and 26, since in communist times religious celebrations were prohibited. On Christmas Eve 7, 9 or 11 vegetarian dishes must be prepared, and the one who brings the gifts on the 25th is the so-called "winter grandfather."

However, whoever brings gifts to Belgium It is Saint Nicholas, who arrives on December 4 from Spain with "Pedro el Negro." They both give gifts on the night of the 5th to children who have been good, while those who have been bad have branches in their shoes.

En Denmark the candle-calendar is typical. This candle has 24 marks and is lit every day to burn to the next mark. From here are the oldest Christmas stamps in the world, whose proceeds go to charity. In addition, the night of December 12 they celebrate Santa Lucia.

The world's first Christmas tree was put on England, also the origin of Christmas cards. A typical object is crackers, twisted tubes that two people pull and that keep gifts inside. On December 26, San Esteban is celebrated o Boxing Day, day of making donations to the most disadvantaged.

Santa Claus lives in Rovaniemi, Finland. Here you can send him letters and even see him on webcam. In this country they decorate the trees with flags of different countries or with himmeli, some geometric mobiles. On December 13, Santa Lucia is celebrated.

Although it is very cold, in Ireland they celebrate these festivals by bathing in the sea, a tradition of the pagan world. To warm up, they drink hot Irish whiskey punch. January 6 is Little Christmas or Women's Christmas, a day in which they go out to have fun while the men take care of the housework.

South America

En ColombiaOn December 7, the night of the candles is celebrated, in which many candles are lit in front of the houses. In addition, for nine days they pray and sing Christmas carols around the tree. This act is called Las Novenas.

When Christmas comes to Argentina it's summer, that's why cold dishes are usually cooked like Vitel Tone, a potato salad, hard-boiled egg and mayonnaise. Many European and North American traditions are followed in this country.

It is also summer in Chile. Here Santa Claus is known as Viejito Pascuero, and he arrives on Christmas Eve, when the whole family gathers. The most typical dish is roast turkey or chicken accompanied by Easter bread.

Santa Claus is known in Brazil and Santa Claus. In this country it is customary to attend the Misa del Gallo, as in many Latin American countries. On the other hand, on New Years Eve fireworks and the Fiesta de Iemanja, an offering to attract good luck in honor of the queen of the waters and mermaid of the sea.

Music is very important in VenezuelaFor this reason, Christmas bonuses and parties do not stop sounding. A typical festival is the Paradura del Niño, in which a child representing Jesus is stopped and carried in a procession. In the city of Barinas the Christmas lights stand out.

En Cuba Christmas was interrupted until 1998, but some traditions have persisted, such as eating roast pork and cooking many desserts. They also attend the Mass of the Rooster on Christmas Eve and they follow some North American traditions.

North and Central America

The first party that opens the way to Christmas in United States It is Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November. Another very curious tradition is that of The elf on the shelf (the elf on the shelf), in which an elf is placed in the houses to watch over the children.

In the big cities of this country, like NY, stores strive to decorate their windows or windows with Christmas themes. Some are impressive.

En Canada have a very picturesque custom: that of the mummers, mimes that go through the streets making noise with bells. If someone guesses who it is, the mime stops ringing the bell and they are given candy as a reward.

There are many habits around this holiday in Mexico. Las Posadas are very important, in which the guests must ask the hosts to enter their house singing verses. They have a children's story with the same name, so that the children know this story. There are also Las Pastorelas, which are theatrical performances.

Clay piñatas are made in the shape of a seven-pointed star and inside there are sweets. In the houses the Nativity is placed, a representation with ceramic figures of the birth of Jesus. The New Year's dinner is made on December 31, in which, as in Spain, twelve grapes are eaten.

En Costa Rica most families attend the Misa del Gallo on Christmas Eve. In San José, the Fiesta del Zapote stands out, where dances, food stalls and "Corridas a la tica" are organized, similar to the heifers in Spain. A typical dish of this time is the tamale (pork meat wrapped in a banana leaf).


South Africa receives Christmas in summer, so families tend to go to the beach and make barbecue there. Apart from the common Christmas tree, in this country they make the South African Christmas tree, made of wires and decorated with African symbols.

En Nigeria Different types of meats are usually prepared in large quantities accompanied with typical drinks such as palm wine. It is a date when family members usually get together and give each other gifts.

Ethiopians have a different calendar than most of the world. Therefore, in Ethiopia They celebrate Christmas on their December 25, which for the rest is January 7. The next day, they celebrate a mass at four in the morning where everyone is dressed in white.


The population of Thailand It is mostly Buddhist, so there is no Christmas tradition, and all you can see are lights and decorations in the shopping centers. They do celebrate New Years Eve, where they usually drink and sing karaoke.

Despite the fact that Christmas is a festival of Christian origin in which the birth of Jesus is celebrated, in many Arab countries they celebrate it, either out of custom or out of respect for the Christian inhabitants. An example of this is Pakistan.

Another example is Jerusalem, where large migrations of Christians take place because it is a very important area in the history of religion. Even the streets are decorated with lights and a Christmas tree.

Philippines It is the country that most enthusiastically receives this holiday and in September they begin to decorate the streets. One of its traditions is the Panunuluyan, which represents María and José's search for accommodation: a family calls house to house asking for shelter until they reach the church.

The parol is also typical, a decoration in the shape of a torch that is placed on the windows of the houses and symbolizes the star that guided the Three Wise Men to the portal of Bethlehem.

En ChinaAlthough it is not a traditional festival, the shop windows are decorated, as well as the large shopping centers where Christmas carols are also played. This is especially the case in Hong Kong. On Christmas Eve, the Christian community tends to dine outside the home.

Christmas is not considered a holiday in Japan, since only 1% of the population is Christian. However, people do usually celebrate it. Since 1974, after the success of an advertising campaign, families have adopted a strange custom, which is to go to dinner on Christmas Eve at one of the restaurants in the KFC chain.


En Australia It is also summer at Christmas, so it is typical to eat on the beach and do activities outdoors. An increasingly widespread custom in some cities is to sing Christmas carols by candlelight on Christmas Eve.

In some neighborhoods, neighbors compete with each other to see who decorates their home in the most original way, using lights, home decorations, etc. They usually start to place the decoration early, at the beginning of December.

On December 26, as in England, they celebrate the Boxing Day, the day they tip the merchants they deal with during the rest of the year, in order to thank them for the work they do.

Pine is not used in NZ as a Christmas tree, but the typical pohutukawa, a tree of Maori origin from which beautiful red flowers grow. A typical dish for this season is roast turkey with vegetables and sauce.

On these dates, desserts are also abundant, both hot and cold. One of the most typical is pavlova, a cake made with meringue that is crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

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