Holiday Traditions Around the World

From Christmas on the beach in Australia to Christkindlmarkts in Germany, here is how different places around the world celebrate the holiday season.

The Philippines

If one month of holiday celebrations just isn’t enough for you, you’d better travel to the Philippines. The Philippines start holiday traditions in September, including parades and a wonderland of lights and parols that line the streets in many cities. Every year, the city of San Fernando holds Ligligan Parul (Giant Lantern Festival) featuring spectacular ornamental lanterns called parols.




It’s said that in Australia during the holidays, you’re more likely to see Santa surfing than a group of carolers walking around a neighborhood. Christmas is celebrated during what is Australia’s summer season, and many families even go to the beach to enjoy picnics during the holidays. Street parties are popular on Christmas day as many people are visiting their families. Most cities host their own Carols by Candlelight with celebrity guests to sing Christmas carols.




Each night before Christmas, Icelandic children place their shoes by the window before bed. Overnight, they are visited by the 13 Yule Lads, and in the morning, they will have either received goodies such as candy or shoes full of rotten potatoes. ICK! Holiday celebrations for Icelandic people can last from Christmas Eve to the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, which is considered ‘Little Christmas’.




Germany is known for its advent calendars and Christkindlmarkts where all sorts of foods and decorations are sold, the most famous being glass ornaments. The German festive season starts at the end of November with the Advent celebrations and continues through the month of December when many cities and towns hold Christmas markets.



In Norway, the holiday season is called Jul, which begins on December 3rd, filling up many local bars and restaurants throughout the month. Because Norway is located far North, they have shorter days in December and many Norwegians celebrate with their families at their “hytte” in the mountains (mountain cottage). They celebrate Little Christmas Eve on Dec 23rd and each have their own holiday traditions that may include decorating the tree, making a gingerbread house and eating hot rice pudding. Kind of sounds like the U.S.… minus the rice pudding.


We may be celebrating the holidays closer to home this year, but that doesn’t mean holiday traditions can’t continue. What are some traditions you and your family have while celebrating the holidays each year?

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