5 Christmas traditions around the world

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Blog > Travels > December

5 Christmas traditions around the world

Christmas and the arrival of the New Year are celebrated in different ways around the world and in each country there are own traditions or that have been extended to other countries by the expansion of religions, migration and globalization.

Five Christmas traditions

Today we tell you 5 traditions from different countries related to the celebration of the Christmas holidays.


  1. United States: Thanksgiving

Although it does not officially belong to the Christmas celebrations, we have included Thanksgiving among the Christmas celebrations because it supposes the beginning of the Christmas season. And although it is not a party held exclusively in the United States, it is the best known.

The origin of this celebration is reason for discussion. Some people say that their roots are in the celebrations of appreciation for good harvests, but the most widespread belief is that it recalls a time when a group of settlers did not have enough food for all and a Native American tribe offered them food.

Whatever the origin, today the celebration always takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. It starts in the morning with the Thanksgiving Parade that Macy's celebrates in New York. This parade gathers 3 million people who watch it live and 44 million watch it on television.

And the final culmination comes with a great family dinner (the more family better) in which you can not miss the roast turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie.

The next day is Black Friday, where shops offer great discounts to start the holiday shopping season.


  1. Denmark: the J-Dag and the Christmas beer

In the year 1990, the Danish beer brand Tuborg began the tradition by announcing the J-Dag (J of julebryg which is Christmas beer in Danish and Dag that means day) for the launching of its Christmas beer. The Christmas version of his beer was born a few years ago and it is a beer with a little more alcohol and more spicy.

This marketing action generated great expectation and since then it has continued to be celebrated, although with small changes. The current date on which it is celebrated is the first Friday of November. On this day, the Tuborg delivery people go out on horse-drawn carriages wearing blue Santa hats. They distribute this limited version of beer and the bars are filled with people celebrating this day as the beginning of Danish Christmas.

Currently there are other brands that also produce their versions of Christmas beer, but undoubtedly, the most demanded is that of Tuborg, which can be found in bars and shops only during the 6-7 weeks between the J-Dag and the end of the Christmas.


  1. Mexico: Las Posadas

With almost half of its population of Catholic religion, Mexico is the second country in the world with more inhabitants belonging to this religion. It is not surprising that one of its Christmas traditions pays homage to the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph before the Birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

The origin of this celebration is in the sixteenth century, when Catholic priests in an attempt to evangelize the population, began to celebrate nine Masses before Christmas, one per day, until December 25. Slowly, this tradition passed from the churches to the streets until it became the popular celebration that is celebrated today.

Las Posadas is celebrated between the 16th and the 24th of December. During these 9 days in the neighborhoods or communities simulates the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Each year people choose which houses will be the posadas for each day and the participants arrive to request hospice in each one. Sometimes there are even those who play the roles of Mary and Joseph and carols and popular songs are sung. Once inside "la posada" the participants enjoy punch and typical Christmas sweets.


  1. Japan: ōsōji, the tradition of cleaning the whole house

The Japanese prepare for a couple of weeks before New Year's Eve with a general cleaning of the whole house. In fact, not only the house, offices, shops, schools,...

This tradition is derived from other ancient traditions in which the house was cleaned to welcome the Shinto deities in the New Year with a clean house, a clean body and a clean spirit. Nowadays the Japanese usually start with the big cleaning in the last week of December, but in the old days it started around the middle of the month.

And don’t think it's just about doing a general cleaning of the house. It's about cleaning in depth in a Zen way, stopping in places that don’t pay much attention during the rest of the year, to take advantage of the cleanliness and order to cleanse and also order the mind. They are based on the premise that in clean, orderly and clear spaces we are happier and suffer less stress. It is a good way to prepare to receive the New Year with energy.


  1. Spain: The Magi

The celebration and tradition of the day of the Magi is not exclusive to Spain. There are other countries such as Portugal or Italy where it is also celebrated.

Tradition says that after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem, the three Kings (or wise men) traveled from the East guided by a star to give him three gifts: gold, incense and myrrh.

Since the end of the 19th century, the celebration of the Three Kings Day takes place in Spain with a Three Kings Parade that takes place on January 5, where their Majesties go through the streets of towns and cities distributing candy and gifts. That same night, the children have to go to bed early for the kings to make their deliveries during the night: children who have been good will have gifts and children who have been bad will have coal. It is common for children to leave a snack to be taken by the Kings and their camels when they pass through their homes.

Something that can not be missing is the roscón de Reyes, a sweet and shaped bun that is taken for breakfast or snack on the day of Kings. Hidden inside the bun is a figurine and a bean. Whoever finds the figure will be the King and will be able to wear the crown (which usually comes with the roscón) and whoever finds the bean will have to pay for the roscón.


What do you think of these Christmas traditions? Do you dare to celebrate some?