While countries all over the world celebrate Christmas differently, one thing’s the same: Christmas is about spreading joy and happiness no matter which language you speak. This Christmas, take the opportunity to learn how other cultures spread happiness across the world– you never know, some of them may become your own favorite traditions!
Roller Skating in Venezuela In this South American country, families roller skate to church together the week before Christmas. They even block the roads off in the early morning for families to safely travel on their skates! While roller skating may not be an option for your family, an active family activity is a fun way to get out of the house and enjoy each other’s company during the holidays. Try ice skating, sledding, or a bike riding (depending on your climate). Christmas Eve morning sledding followed by hot chocolate could be a tradition for years to come.
Straw Ornaments in Lithuania This tradition is said to be inspired by the use of wheat or rye straw decorations in Lithuanian weddings, and now beautiful white ornaments from this Eastern European country are a nation-wide tradition. They are mainly made of paper straws, and they look striking against the dark green of the tree. For the crafty families, this might be a great new way to create your own ornaments, or to create gifts for extended family and friends.
Singing Visits in Mali After the Christmas morning services, groups from the church go around to different homes in the neighborhood and greet their neighbors by singing, dancing, and spreading good cheer. Depending on your singing skills, you might not be greeted with the same cheer if you show up to your neighbors door dancing on Christmas Day. However, you could certainly spread joy in your neighborhood by leaving packages of cookies, candies, or even a card on your neighbors’ doorsteps. Take the kids along for a simple way to teach about giving and spreading cheer.
Empty Shoes in Germany This custom takes place on the night of December 5th, and is said to be the night that St. Nicholas visits to give small treats to the children who have been good all year. The children leave their empty shoes outside their door, and if they have been good they will wake up to sweets in their shoes, but if they have been bad, they will find only a stick. For parents who find the recent, nightly “Elf on the Shelf” trend a little overwhelming, this tradition is much less of a time commitment and a fun warm-up to Christmas.
Radish Art in Mexico In Oaxaca, Mexico, December 23rd is the “Night of the Radishes,” an art festival in which artists compete by creating sculptures out of large radishes. There are now over 100 annual competitors, and people travel for miles to attend what may be the only art festival centered around a root vegetable. Unleash your own creativity with a trip to paint your own pottery, or paint canvases together at the dining room table. Your family will undoubtedly produce works of art that will be treasured in years to come, and create fun memories as well.
Image Credit: www.the-north-pole.com/