Blogmas 2020,  Travel

5 Interesting Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Many of the Christmas traditions we know and love differ quite significantly in other countries. I find it fascinating to look up different Christmas traditions from around the world; as each country has it’s own unique take on the holiday. Today we’ll be looking at five of these Christmas traditions, and then I’ll upload part 2 in a few days.

1) Celebrating on December 24th

Quite a few different countries in Europe actually celebrate Christmas and exchange presents on the 24th December rather than the 25th. I’d first heard of this tradition in Sweden because one of my boyfriend’s friends live in Stockholm. This is because the 24th December is the evening that Sinterklaas (Santa Claus/Saint Nicholas) flies over the earth. Some of the countries that celebrate Christmas on the 24th include the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Austria, among others.

2) Sinterklaas in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas is known for having a long white beard, and wearing a red cape and mitre. Very similar to how we know Father Christmas to look. However, the most exciting day in December for Dutch children is December 5th; the day before Saint Nicholas Day (also known as Saint Nicholas’ Eve). On the second Saturday in November, they believed that Sinterklaas chooses a Dutch city/town to visit. This changes each year to give all the children a chance to see him.

Saint Nicholas’ Eve is the day that Sinterklaas brings presents for the children. Children will leave a shoe by the fireplace or outside the back door, and when they wake on December 6th, they’ll find sweet treats like gingerbread men and chocolate inside.

3) Porridge in Finland

The next on my list of Christmas traditions from around the world is from Finland. On Christmas morning, Finnish families traditionally sit down together and eat porridge made from rice and milk. They then use cinnamon, butter or milk as toppings for the porridge. A piece of almond is hidden inside the porridge and whoever finds the almond in their bowl is the ‘winner’. To make things a bit more child-friendly, adults will now often out multiple almonds in the dish so that everybody finds one. I think this tradition is so cute because it’s quite unique and just a bit of fun.

4) Misa de Gallo in South America

Misa de Gallo, Spanish for ‘Rooster’s Mass’, is a Catholic tradition celebrated in many Spanish-speaking and Latin American countries. Families and neighbours come together to eat a late dinner (sometimes not until 10pm). Then at exactly midnight they exchange gifts and Christmas wishes. This tradition allows people a chance to gather together to celebrate Christmas; and following Misa de Gallo (midnight mass) is usually fireworks and toasts in the town square.

5) Barbeques on the beach in Australia and New Zealand

A ‘White Christmas’ is practically impossible for Australia and New Zealand, due to December being the middle of their summer! I’m bound to experience this one day for myself seeing as my boyfriend is an Aussie. It is usually a very relaxing day spend outside by the swimming pool with the BBQ going. You might play games with friends and family, most definitely will have a drink or two, and enjoy the sunshine. My boyfriend’s family never really opt for the beach on Christmas day though because apparently it gets ridiculously crowded.


I hope you enjoyed today’s Blogmas post, and learnt a bit more about the different Christmas traditions from around the world. In a couple of days I’ll be back with part 2! I think my favourite tradition from this post would have to be the porridge in Finland, because I think that’s such a fun little way to start Christmas day. Which was your favourite?

Click here to see our Christmas decoration collection from around the world: https://www.emgoingplaces.com/2020/12/christmas-tree-ornaments-from-around-the-world/

2 Comments

  • Fritzie | Life Travel Soul

    I enjoyed this post so much! It brings back memories of Christmas in the Philippines. We also have a fascinating Christmas tradition, which is quite similar to a few places you’ve mentioned. The celebration starts on Christmas Eve. We go to “Simbang Gabi” (Night Mass) first, then we gather for Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) Feast, and we open our gifts at midnight!

    • Emma

      That sounds so sweet, my family also go to Midnight Mass every year, and I love staying up late on Christmas Eve and then being able to wish everyone a merry Christmas when the clock strikes midnight!

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