Christmas Traditions from Around the World
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, many are looking forward to their favorite Christmas traditions. Every family has its own traditions this time of year, especially since there are so many different cultures throughout America. Many families have had the same traditions for generations, some of which were likely brought over from other countries. The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins bring in talent from all over the world and some of our players come from countries with their own special Christmas traditions.
During this time of year, it’s nice to look at the many ways that people from all over celebrate with loved ones. Here are some of the beloved holiday traditions that come from countries where our players hail from.
Despite its close proximity to the U.S., Canada has Christmas traditions that many in the States might not be familiar with, while many aspects are the same. Canada is also one of the largest countries size-wise and has many different cultures, so there’s a wide range of holiday traditions. You can find different traditions depending on where you are in the country. For example, in Toronto, you can watch one of the oldest Santa parades in the world, while in Quebec, you can enjoy browsing the German Christmas Market. In Nova Scotia, you can find people “mummering” and “Belsnickeling,” depending on where you are in the province, going from house to house.
Canada is known for growing beautiful fir and pine trees, which you can find in many homes. Traditional Canadian Christmas meals include turkey, roast beef, mince pies, Stollen, plum pudding, and of course, cookies. Many families attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and you’ll find many who open their gifts on Christmas Eve as well.
Many Christmas traditions from the Czech Republic take place on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day. There are many traditional Christmas superstitions in the Czech Republic, such as slicing apples and using the inside to predict your health for the coming year or placing small candles inside of nutshells and floating them on the water to see what the future holds for you.
Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve in the Czech Republic often consists of carp, potato salad, sauerkraut, and fish soup. You can also find cookies, apple strudel, fruit cake, and a Czech Christmas bread called vánočka. Ježíšek, the Baby Jesus, is the Czech version of Christkind that leaves presents under the tree for children during Christmas Eve dinner. Many families attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
While celebrating Christmas in Slovenia is still relatively new compared to many other countries, Slovenians have many cherished Christmas traditions. The Christmas season in Slovenia typically begins at the beginning of Advent. During this time, cities decorate with lights and Nativity scenes, while many decorate their homes with classic decorations like trees and wreaths.
Children in Slovenia may get gifts from Saint Nicholas on December 6th, which is Saint Nicholas Day, Santa Claus or Baby Jesus on Christmas Day, or Grandfather or Father Frost at New Year’s events. Planting wheat grains is also popular during the holiday season for Slovenian families. Like many other countries, it’s common for Christmas activities to take place on Christmas Eve. Many families attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Common Christmas foods include many types of meat, fish, sauerkraut, potatoes, a pastry called potica, and mulled wine to drink.
According to many, Santa Claus comes from Finland. For many Finnish families, the holiday season begins on Saint Lucia Day on December 13th. Many people in Finland visit their loved ones who have passed away in cemeteries on Christmas Eve, where they leave lanterns to light the cemetery behind. Another common way to spend Christmas Eve in Finland is relaxing in a sauna.
While many Finnish Christmas decorations are the same as in other countries, you can often find ice lanterns outside. Classic Finnish Christmas dishes include pork roast, fish, and various vegetables, but rice pudding for Christmas Eve breakfast is especially popular. Decorating gingerbread, cooking, and drinking mulled wine are also popular on Christmas Eve. After Christmas dinner, gifts are typically exchanged. At the end of the night, many attend midnight mass.
At the start of Advent, many Swedish households place Advent candles or Advent stars in their windows. Like Finland, Saint Lucia Day is widely celebrated in Sweden. Many Christmas activities in Sweden occur on Christmas Eve. Swedish families often begin decorating with classic Christmas decorations a few days before Christmas Eve. One popular Swedish Christmas decoration is the straw Yule Goat.
Christmas gifts are often opened on Christmas Eve and are delivered by Jultomten, the Swedish Santa Claus, or Tomte, the Christmas gnomes. The Christmas smörgåsbord includes many different foods, such as ham, herring prepared in various ways, potatoes, and pâté. Rice pudding is a popular Christmas dessert and many enjoy drinking mulled wine. Midnight mass and early Christmas morning mass are both common.
Have a Happy Holiday!
There are countless Christmas traditions around the world, and while many are shared by large populations, others may be unique to individual families. We all have holiday traditions we love and look forward to celebrating each year.
Whatever your holiday traditions may be, we hope you enjoy them with family and friends this year!
The holidays may be a busy time of year, but there’s always time to come watch the Penguins play. Order tickets for yourself or to give as a gift today!