Christmas Around the World

Brian Dreifke, Reporter

As we dive into the holiday season, Americans pull out timeless holiday traditions. We blast Christmas music, hang up bright lights, and get together with family to give ,and to receive gifts. Most of us love Christmas due to the holiday spirit, but have you ever asked yourself, what is the rest of the world doing on December 24th and 25th? How are they celebrating the holidays we hold dear?

The origin of Christmas  revolves around the birth of Jesus Christ. The holiday was officially labeled by Pope Julius I, Bishop of Rome in 350 AD, as a time to celebrate his birth. Over time, the celebration has evolved away from the religious aspect, and has become more of a time for family and friends to join together and give gifts. Now, while most Americans follow these traditions, what happens around the world when we are celebrating?

I interviewed Marilou Francois, a foreign exchange student from Belgium, who is currently attending MHS. I asked her how she celebrates the holidays in Belgium, and if she celebrates Christmas back home.  She answered that she does celebrate Christmas, and that she has “family meetings on the 24th and 25th.” On both days they do a Secret Santa, and at midnight they go to church.

One very interesting tradition in Belgium, according to Francois, is “[eating] a Raclette on the 24th and a meat fondue on the 25th.” She further explained this to me as “a machine on the table with heat. You put some cheese on a kind of large spoon to make it melt, and on top you put the meat to cook. With that we eat some potatoes and vegetables, but cheese is the main ingredient.”

I also interviewed foreign exchange student Miu Sasaki, from Japan. She told me that they don’t traditionally celebrate Christmas and they tend to focus on holidays like New Years, Boys’ Day,  and Girls’ Day in Japan.

Some of the other traditions around the world are similar, but also unique in their own way. Latvia was the first country to decorate a tree and coin the term “Christmas tree!” In Argentina, most of the celebrations take place on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. For more interesting Christmas traditions, visit greenglobaltravel!

Overall, the spirit of the holidays are plentiful in these different countries, and include some of the most unique traditions from all around the world. This holiday season, take the time to learn about foreign holiday traditions, and celebrate to see what the holidays are like beyond your home.