Christmas celebrations around the world
As we celebrate Christmas this season, we have so many traditions that make the holiday season special for us. Around the world there are many unique traditions that are interesting to learn about.
Every December, the Giant Lantern Festival is held in San Fernando in the Philippines. Light is very symbolic for Filipinos. The star is a sign of hope and the most important symbol of the Christmas season. Giant lights are formed into kaleidoscopic images for everyone to see. It's a beautiful festival that symbolizes love and hope through the holiday season.
Christmas in Ireland is very similar to the U.S., but they do have one tradition that we do not. In Ireland, an old tradition says to leave a tall candle on the sill of the largest window of the house. The candle is lit after sunset on Christmas Eve and is supposed to burn all night long. It represents a welcoming light for Mary and Joseph.
Christmas is very popular in Germany, and there are many traditions throughout the country. One of the most popular is St. Nicholas Day. Every year on the evening of Dec. 5, children prepare for the arrival of St. Nicholas by cleaning their boots and leaving them outside their bedroom door. In the morning, they find they have been filled with nuts, candy and small gifts.
Instead of Santa, Icelandic children are visited by the Yule Lads. The Yule Lads are 13 men who visit children on the 13 nights that lead up to Christmas. Each night, kids leave their shoes on their windowsill. If they were good, the Yule Lads will leave candy, but if they were bad, the Yule Lads will leave rotting potatoes. Each Yule Lad has their own unique personality.
One popular tradition in France is to burn a Yule log made of cherry wood in your home. The log is carried inside on Christmas Eve, then sprinkled with red wine so that it smells good. Celebrants leave out food and drinks, and the log and candles are meant to burn all night as a welcoming sign for Mary and baby Jesus.