By Simran Tandon
It is that time of the year when the world takes on a magic glow. The people are merrier, the days are jollier and the vibe is cosier. For some Christmas might mean baking holiday cookies and decorating the Christmas tree, while for others it might be about cosying up with a cup of hot chocolate and indulging in a festive movie marathon. Whatever it might be, every house and every country has its own Christmas traditions which bring out the true spirit of the season.
Who wants to know what others do for Christmas?
Some wake up to rotten potatoes left by mischievous Father Christmas, while others spend Christmas by the beach eating seafood in New Zealand. Believe it or not, Christmas traditions around the world are incredibly unique and can be funny too. This blog will now embark on a global ride to see how is Christmas unique for all.
1. Germany: The Christmas Pickle
You can’t eat this pickle, but have to hunt for it! You didn’t get it right?
Well, Germans have their own way of celebration and for Christmas, it’s a game. Also known as “Weihnachtsgurke”, this pickle hunting game is played on the Christmas Day mornings by families. At night, when the Christmas tree decorations are finished, the parents hide a pickled-shaped green ornament in the deep-deep branches of the Christmas tree for the kids to find the next morning. The kid who is able to find it in the morning gets rewarded. Be it a special treat or gift or even good fortune, the kid is in for luck for the entire year. Easy and fun, why not include this game to our celebration too!
2. Finland: Holiday Sauna
Considered one of the most tranquil ways of celebrating Christmas, this Finish sauna tradition also known as “Joulusauna”, remains at the heart of the preparation and bathing routine during Christmas. With over 2 million saunas in the country, 80% of Finn families go to the sauna together on Christmas Eve as a way to relax, unwind and clean up before the evening celebrations.
The Christmas sauna experience is elevated using candles, lanterns, essential oils and crisp clean sauna towels. It is also believed that every sauna has its own sauna “elf” known as “saunatonttu” who should be taken care of and respected. The evenings are all about festive meals comprising mince pies, casseroles, baked goods and of course, mulled wine. Maybe next Christmas for me will be Finnish style, slow and blissful!
3. Japan: Fried Chicken
Who shouted Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas? It’s the Japanese!
A country with only 1% Christian population, Japan never had its own Christmas traditions. That’s when in 1974, KFC launched its “Kentucky for Christmas” party buckets with bottles of wine which were served by Santa Claus looking Sanders. Although a marketing campaign, it gave birth to a new Christmas tradition for Japanese families.
Since sharing food is an important social practice in Japan, Christmas meals are all about buckets and buckets of fried chicken, coleslaw, wine and cake that is shared by families.
So, the next time you are in Japan during Christmas, have a “Merry Kentucky Christmas”!
4. Iceland: Christmas Book Flood
An unusual but profound tradition, “Jolabokaflod” or Christmas Book Flood is an Icelandic tradition of giving and unwrapping new books on the Christmas Day. It is followed by a cozy night with family, curdled up together with cups of hot cocoa to indulge in a read-a-ton. This tradition has strong roots in history, dating back to World War II, wherein paper was the only commodity that wasn’t rationed. Hence, books were shared as Christmas presents with outmost abundance and love in heart.
This traditions is considered particularly important for kids as books help them understand the world, build connections, develop perspectives and grow consciousness. Reading together during Christmas in Iceland is considered a common love language.
5. Venezuela: Roller Skate Mass
Just then you thought Christmas was about cakes, course meals or party games, Venezuela folks amped up the game to bring in roller skates to be part of their tradition. As the festive season begins, specifically 9 days before Christmas, the people of Caracas,Venezuela, put their roller skate straps on and skate their way to the Christmas masses at dawn. As an alternative to sledding, skating through the roads while singing and dancing have become an integral part of Venezuelan Christmas. It isn’t dangerous as the government restricts car moments during these days.
While every corner of the world has discovered their own way to celebrate, Christmas will always be about the spirit of togetherness, uniqueness and cheer! Amongst such unique traditions, we at The H Dubai, have found an edgy theme for this Christmas season. You might have guessed it by now. It’s about imaging how a ‘Futuristic Christmas’ might look like. Will it be Santa delivering gifts through drones or robots decorating the Christmas Tree? Whatever it might be, we are still discovering and would like you to be a part of it too!
On that note, Tis the season to be jolly!