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Christmas in other countries

by Athena Yap

HOLIDAYS are full of traditions. Each culture has its own way of making every moment of the yuletide season count.

Christmas traditions in other countries include decorating homes with vibrant lanterns, lights, and Christmas trees, hanging advent wreaths, displaying nativity scenes outside their houses, giving out candy canes, hanging mistletoe, and so much more.

In some countries, their governments declare Christmas an official public holiday. But there are also nations that recognize it symbolically but not as an official legal observance.

Many know how family oriented and religious Filipinos are when it comes to celebrating Christmas. Many also wonder what it is like to celebrate the occasion abroad.

Mexico

There is a large popularity of Catholics in Mexico, so Christmas is also observed as a holiday in this country.

Just like in the Philippines, Mexico also celebrates Noche Buena.

One of the essential parts of Christmas in Mexico is the piñata, a figure made of cardboard or clay filled with candies or treats. Children take turns trying to break it open to release the treats inside.

Poland

Every Christmas eve, Polish people begin their dinner by sharing oplatek. It is a paper-thin, flat wafer that is made of flour and water with an image of the Nativity embossed on it. People around the table break off a piece of the oplatek one by one. But before passing the wafer off to the next person, they first share their good wishes for the others.

France

Every Christmas, French families usually share a Bûche de Noël, also known as a yule log, after the abundant holiday feast. This is a sponge cake rolled like a log and filled with chocolate or coffee buttercream. 

Also among the highlights of their celebration is the display of a creche, or a representation of the Nativity, in every house or in public places. 

While other countries hang socks by the fireplace or windows, in France, children leave a shoe in front of their fireplace hoping to receive a gift from Santa.

Korea

There are no grand celebrations for Koreans during the Christmas season.

Just like in many countries, Christmas is recognized as a national holiday by their government. However, the occasion is not much of a big deal for Koreans unlike their traditional holidays like Seollal and Chuseok. 

United Arab Emirates

Although the UAE is an islamic country and does not count Christmas as an official holiday, the festivity can still be felt in its surroundings.

In fact, it’s a good time to visit the UAE, especially since the cold weather adds to the festive feeling. 

Tourists usually flock to the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi to see the world’s most expensive Christmas tree that is worth millions of dollars. This has become popular in the UAE every Christmas season.

Vietnam

Majority in this country are Buddhist, but this has not stopped the Vietnamese from enjoying the festive season. There are still Christians in Vietnam, which is why mass is still being observed on Christmas Eve.

However, Christmas is not considered an official holiday in the country. 

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