Christmas Around the World – Part 2


Bradley Akin, Journalist

How holidays are celebrated varies around the world but since it’s getting about time I think it is important to highlight different Christmas traditions. Something interesting is that 2.2 billion, which is a third of the world’s population, are Christians, and all of them celebrate Christmas. The flip side of that is, a total of fourteen countries do not participate in celebrating the holiday at all. Christmas began in Rome when they established the winter solstice, then on December 25, 336 AD held the first-ever Christmas celebration. Besides that, previously in part one, we introduced Mexican and Australian Christmas but here we will talk about 2 other countries that memorialize the holiday differently.

China like most celebrates Christmas on December 25th, though it’s unusual because Christianity has long been banned but they continue to support and honor the holiday. Christmas is not a public holiday in mainland China, it’s more of a novelty day like Valentine’s, but you’re still going to see cities filled with Christmas decorations and carolers. Rather than gathering with family, you’ll usually go out with friends because they don’t consider it a religious celebration. Locals like to go shopping, ice skating, karaoke bars, or cinemas during this time of celebration. An interesting tradition held on Christmas Eve is eating a “Peace Apple” which you will receive as a gift. Where you begin to see the big changes is with Santa Clause because instead of elves they’re known as Santa’s sisters who live at China’s North Pole. When you see Santa in the malls he will have dressed up women (Santa’s sisters) and more than likely be playing the saxophone. During the holidays it would be nothing to see Santa rolling down the streets playing the saxophone or even a trumpet or french horn. China is home to the Christmas capital of the world with the city of Yiwu housing 600 factories that specialize in making lights and decorations that you see all over the world.

Most unique in my opinion is India, even though only about 2.3% of the population in India are Christian they still find the good in celebrating Christmas. Midnight Mass is an extremely important service for Christians in India and it’s where families walk to the mass for a huge feast as well as giving and receiving presents. Candles and Poinsettia flowers are the base for decorations, but they also set up banana or mango trees to decorate instead of traditional Christmas trees. On roofs, they place oil-burning clay lamps to show that Jesus is the light of the world with small clay nativity scenes arranged in their houses. Between homes, people hang paper lanterns shaped like stars that float above you as you walk down the street while remembering how the Wise Men Visited Jesus. In India Santa is known in seven different languages, most commonly known as Father Christmas, he delivers presents to children from a horse and cart on Christmas Eve. It’s crazy how different the holiday is celebrated around the world as well as traditions that have been passed down for generations, so how do you celebrate Christmas?