The most commonly known Christmas character is Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Clause. The story goes that Santa visits every home around the world, giving presents to nice children and coal to naughty kids. This is the version that most of America goes by, but what does the rest of the world experience during Christmas time?
In Siberia, Christmas is conducted in the course of two weeks. Two Sundays before the 25th, the children, tie up the mother, and to regain her freedom, she pays them with gifts. On the next Sunday, the same is done with the dad, according to Huffington Post.
Iceland Magazine describes the unique way that Iceland celebrates, which is by going through their many “mischievous Yule lads” and “evil Christmas Cat.” In older versions of Iceland’s Christmas holiday tales, there are 13 trolls, a child-eating ogress, as well as a monster cat. These trolls would behave in their troll-like manner, with the ogress and monster cat accompanying them. In more popular versions, 13 lads come one at a time to everybody’s house, bringing presents from the 13th of Dec. to the 24th. Children who have been good will receive small goodies, and those who have been naughty will receive old potatoes.
In Italy, the festivities do not begin until Jan. 6th, which is when they celebrate Epiphany. Many Italians observe this date to commemorate when Jesus was baptized when he was 30, and to remember when the Three Wise Men visited Jesus, states Why Christmas. The online Christmas blog also mentions that on Epiphany night, the children wait for a good witch, named Befana, to fill their stockings with presents, or if they were bad they will receive lumps of coal. Some people celebrate small gift giving on Christmas day, but the main celebration is on Epiphany night.
Brazilian Christmas is very similar to Western Europe and America’s Christmas times, according to Little Passports, an online travel blog. Brazil’s Christmas is celebrated in the summertime, and Papai Noel visits everyone’s homes to deliver presents. Children leave a sock near their window, and Papai Noel exchanges it with gifts. Many places in Brazil light up Christmas trees with bright neon lights to guide the way for Papai Noel, as well as occasionally setting off fireworks for the occasion.
According to Why Christmas, Christmas is not as big of a deal in certain parts of the world, such as Japan. Christmas has just recently started being celebrated in Japan as there are not many Christians who live there. Some traditions that have made their way over to Japan have been the acts sending and receiving Christmas cards and exchanging presents. Japan sees Christmas more as a time to spread happiness and is seen as more of a romantic day for couples; couples get together to celebrate and exchange presents. The online Christmas blog also mentions that during this time, fried chicken is very popular in Japan. Fried chicken is eaten on Christmas day, making this KFC’s busiest time of the year in the country, and some restaurants allow customers to make their orders in advance for Christmas day.
Christmas is celebrated in so many ways around the world, each one being very unique. No matter where in the world, the holidays are about spreading love and spending quality time with friends and family.