Christmas traditions around the world



Does your family do anything special during the holidays? Each year, many families come together to participate in family traditions that have been carried throughout generations. Traditions bring families together to build a strong bond with each other. They help people to express what is important to them with their loved ones. One tradition can lead to families branching out and getting new ideas for more traditions. There are many different traditions known throughout the world!

In my family, before the Christmas Eve supper, we share wafers which are known in the Polish heritage as Oplatki. We each get our own individual wafer and offer each other a piece as we give each other the best of wishes for the upcoming year. There are two different colored wafers; a pink and a white. The pink wafer is given to the animals at home because they were present during the birth of Jesus. Therefore, they receive their own wafer. The white wafer is for the family to offer up to each other. 

On December 5th in Germany, the children clean out their boots and leave them outside their door for St. Nicholas to fill with goodies. This particular day is called St. Nicholas Day, or better known as “Sankt Nikolaus Tag” in Germany. This is one of the children’s favorite holidays. Following this day, Krampus Night or “Krampus Nacht,” is feared by most children in Germany. Krampus is said to be the devil sidekick of St. Nicholas. He comes to punish and teach naughty children a lesson. On this night, men dress in costumes that look like Krampus to patrol the streets and are sometimes invited by parents into the homes of children who have behaved poorly.

Looking near Eastern Europe and North Asia, the country Russia celebrates “Christmas” on January 7th. Their celebration days are different because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old “Julian” calendar for religious holidays. This church also celebrates Advent. In Russia, some people don’t eat anything on Christmas Eve until the first star in the sky has appeared. They will then go forth to eat a Russian porridge called “sochivo” or “kutia.”

These are just a few examples of different Christmas traditions around the world. All of these have brought millions of families closer together for the holidays. Keep up the traditions it is what makes the holidays so special. 

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