Christmas Around the World


Christmas Around the World


Old School Christmas Crackers Here at AllFreeChristmasCrafts, we love to celebrate Christmas and everything surrounding it. We have homemade Christmas ornaments for your Christmas Trees and snowman crafts for kids, amongst many other Christmas crafts our readers love for this popular holiday. Everyone has their own cultural or family traditions that take place every year, and that's what makes Christmas Around the World such an exciting read. Learn about Christmas traditions around the world, from the holiday traditions in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe to North and South America. Though each country, even town, has their own Christmas customs, these are some of the more interesting and unusual Christmas traditions that take place in different parts of the world. 


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Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World

Table of Contents

Christmas Traditions in Africa

Christmas Traditions in Asia

Christmas Traditions in Australia

Christmas Traditions in Europe

Christmas Traditions in North America

Christmas Traditions in South America


Christmas Traditions in Africa


Christmas is not in December, but rather it is celebrated on January 7th. It is known as Ganna. Everyone dons white clothes and fasts the night before. A popular game, also called "ganna," is played using sticks and round wooden balls.


Unlike most Christmas traditions around the world, most traditional Christmas feasts in Nigeria do not involve many sweets, but instead, they are full of savory foods, and a lot of meat!

South Africa

Locals eat deep-fried Emperor Moth caterpillars as a traditional Christmastime meal. Otherwise, traditional Christmas dinners are similar to the United States.


Christmas Traditions in Asia


In North and Northwest India, Christmas is called Badaa Din which translates to “Big Day.” On this day, one of the holiday traditions is to plant trees.


Japanese-Style DIY Christmas Ornaments









Though we associate red with Christmas in the United States, that color is associated with death in Japan. Therefore, white store-bought or DIY Christmas cards are sent instead. Also, Kentucky Fried Chicken is a popular Christmas food and has been since a successful 1974 campaign.


On January 6th, Lebanese families celebrate Christmas by butchering a sheep for their feasts. This is to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, the Shepard.


A very popular holiday in the Philippines, Christmas celebrations are started as early as September! The Christmas season officially ends on the first Sunday of the New Year, after the Feast of the Three Kings.


Christmas Traditions in Australia


As mentioned in What is Christmas in July?, in 1980, a group of Irish tourists visited Australia in July to find that it was winter, thus reminding them of Christmas. So, in summer, there is an annual Yulefest to celebrate Christmas while it’s cold. Otherwise, Christmas in December is celebrated similarly to the rest of the world. Church, parties, gifts, and food.  Many families make food outside on the “barbie.”

New Zealand

Part of New Zealand’s Christmas traditions is that New Zealanders decorate the already red and green pohutukawa tree, a coastal evergreen, for the season.


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Christmas Traditions in Europe


Children fear Krampus, a beast who punishes children who have been naughty. This devil-like creature is also recognized in Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, and other Central European countries.


Scrumptious Figgy Pudding Ornament










You may be familiar with figgy or Christmas pudding, which is a traditional dessert served during the holiday. It is also a Christmas tradition that each member of the family takes a turn stirring the batter in a clockwise direction while making a wish. Christmas crackers are also opened (see the Old School Christmas Crackers above). Inside there may be toys, sweets, paper crowns, and jokes.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, there are many superstitions associated with Christmas. One such superstition is “the throwing of the shoe” for unmarried women. The woman stands near a door and throws a shoe over her shoulder, toward the door. If the toe of the shoe is pointing toward the door, it is thought that she will then marry within a year.


The Christmas Pickle















The Christmas Pickle is an ornament that is hung on the tree on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, the first child to find it receives a special gift. Another Christmas tradition is that each child leaves one shoe outside their home on December 5th. When they check the shoe in the morning they will find either sweets (if they have been nice) or a tree branch (if they have been naughty).


Iceland has one of the most unusual Christmas traditions. This country home to a mythical beast known as The Yule Cat. Though it sounds cute, this large monster will devour anyone who has not received any new clothes before Christmas Eve.


A depiction of Befana, the friendly Italian witch

















Instead of Santa Claus, Italy receives visits from a friendly witch named Befana. She delivers gifts to children on January 5th.


An example of mummers

















Musicians and other costumed folks known as mummers travel from home to home during the holiday season. In exchange for a blessing, the homeowners must provide the mummers with a treat. This is popular in other countries, such as Bulgaria and Germany, as well.


Norwegians hide all their brooms to prevent them being taken by witches.


When setting up for Consoda, the Christmas breakfast feast, place settings for loved ones who have passed on are included at the table.


Simple Scandinavian DIY Christmas Ornaments













If you find the peeled almond that is hidden in the Christmas rice pudding, it is said that you will be married within a year. Sweden is also known for their clean and minimalist decorations.


Ukrainian Spider Web Ornament












Ukrainians decorate their Christmas trees with decorative spiders and spider webs, often with homemade Christmas ornaments. This idea comes from a folk tale which says that tinsel was formed by spider webs.


In South Wales, there are many Christmas customs, with the most well-known being Mari Lwyd. Each Christmas season, one person hides their body under a sheet and carries around a mare’s skull that is decorated with ribbons and bells, and set on a pole. 


Christmas Traditions in North America


In the French-speaking areas of Canada, people celebrate with a Réveillon, which translates to “waking.” It is a long, extravagant dinner, and everyone stays awake until after midnight.


Christmas Eve dinner is known as Noche Buena with a roasted pig as the main course. Translating to “good night,” this feast focuses on all the good in life with family and friends.


Before Christmas, everyone in a neighborhood sweeps out their house to create a large pile of dirt. On top of the pile, an effigy of the devil is placed. The dirt pile and effigy are then burned.

United States

Since 1933, the Christmas tree set up at Rockefeller Center has been a huge draw for locals and tourists throughout the holiday season. This very large tree (usually 75-100 feet tall) is set up in November and there is a lighting ceremony that is broadcast live on TV.


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Christmas Traditions in South America


Because it is summer during this holiday season, Christmas Eve dinner is often served outside and involves a barbecue. At midnight, fireworks are set off and the celebrating continues. Along with fireworks, paper lanterns called “globos” are released after midnight, filling the sky with beautiful lights.


One of the unusual Christmas traditions in Brazil is that the parents of a household decorate the Christmas tree without the help of their children. In fact, they even lock the children out of the room until the tree decoration is complete.


An example of Colombian Christmas decorations










December 7th is Dia de las Velitas which translates to “Day of the Candles.” Many Colombians would consider this the start of the Christmas season. On this day, people decorate porches, driveways, sidewalks, streets, and more in candles and various other lights so that, once the sun goes down, there are gorgeous tunnels of light.


In Caracas, Venezuela, church-goers travel to Mass on roller skates. A "patinatas" festival is also popular, and during the celebrations, children play on roller blades, bikes, and skateboards.


What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Let us know in the comments below!




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Not sure about the accuracy of some of this information. I've never heard that Japan ties the color red to death, Red is considered an auspicious color in Japan.

I think my favorite tradition has to be watching Christmas movies like the Grinch and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with my family on Christmas Eve. We would spend the afternoon baking Christmas cookies and drink eggnog and snack on our creations all evening. When it was time for bed we were all happy and thinking of the excitement of the next day.

I learned so much with this page. There are some hilarious and intriguing traditions around the world. I may adopt some of them!

Thanks for your sharing. Hope you can contribute more quality posts to this page. Thank you!

Thank you for your sharing. Thanks to this article I can learn more things. Expand your knowledge and abilities. Actually the article is very practical. Thank you!

Wow, I never would have guessed about some of these fun and unusual traditions! I especially love the scary "Yule Cat," the "throwing of the shoe," and roller skating to mass traditions. I'd love to try some of these with my family this year!


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