Diversity

Holiday traditions around the world.

Written by Helen Thias

Over 70 Holidays are celebrated worldwide between Mid-November and Early February. Among the popular holidays, there is often variance of the way they are celebrated, making the holiday season one of the most culturally rich and diverse times of the year.  Holidays can be rooted in religious ceremonies, a new year, or even just out of traditions. Holidays are a great way to explore and get to know someone else’s cultural identity. Let’s take a look at some holiday traditions around the world.

Costa Rica

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The majority of people in Costa Rica identify as Roman Catholic, which means that they celebrate Christmas. Their Christmas celebrations kick off the first week of December with Festival De Las Luces, which consists of fireworks, concerts, and parades. Food is a big part of their Christmas celebrations, specifically tamales, every family has their own special recipe. On December 12th they have a parade to honor Virgin of Guadalupe. On Christmas Eve many families attend midnight mass and when they get home the open presents.

Norway

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Throughout the month of December in Norway, you can enjoy Christmas markets and holiday concerts, but the big celebrations happen on Christmas Eve. Christmas eve is spent with family and consists of a big meal of ribbe and Christmas cookies, which is always fun for the adults, but the children can often get impatient for the part of the night the most look forwards to-presents! Presents are delivered by Julenisse (Santa Clause) and are opened by the Christmas tree.

China

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Christmas is only celebrated by about 1% of the population in china and is celebrated fairly similar to how people in the United States. The bigger celebration is Chinese New Year, which will be on January 28th this year. This year is going to be the year of the rooster. People in China believe that a good start to the year, will lead to a lucky year, so they put a lot of effort into celebrating the New Year. They celebrate with food, parades, fireworks, and other traditions. One tradition that is popular among children is receiving red envelopes with money in it that symbolize good luck for the year.

 

Italy

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In Italy, most people are Catholic and celebrate Christmas with a strong tie to their religion. The traditional celebration goes from December 17th to January 6th. Children go house to house caroling, in fact, some even claim that caroling originated in Italy. Many people attend a midnight mass on Christmas eve, and then spend the rest of the night with family. Some people open presents on Christmas eve, while others wait until January 6th. A special treat that many Italians enjoy around this time Panettone, which is a sweet bread filled with candied fruit.

Israel  

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Since Israel has one of the biggest Jewish populations in the world Hanukkah is primarily celebrated among people. There are 8 days of Hanukkah, this year the first day starts on the 25th of December. Each day of Hanukkah a new candle is lit on the menorah, and typically children receive a present each day. There are special food and games played around this time. 

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