Traditionally, Christmas is a Christian holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th of December. However, it has become quite commercialised amongst people who are not Christian, but celebrate the holiday by buying gifts, organising family gatherings and setting up a Christmas tree. The origin of the decorated Christmas tree dates back to as far as the 15th and 16th centuries in Germany where decorations were initially fruit such as apples. Did you know that the Santa Claus we know today is in fact a character created by Coca Cola? This image of a big, jolly man who wears red was a marketing strategy. Places around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways. Here are five of them:
When American composer Irving Berlin wrote the song “White Christmas,” he was dreaming of snow during the festive season. This is impossible in the southern hemisphere as Christmas falls during the summer time there. Australia celebrates Christmas with pool parties, barbeques, and ice-cold beers. If you want to spend the day on the beach, Brisbane has stunning beaches and some of the neighbourhoods compete by decorating and adorning their homes with lights. Hearing Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ here would surely just be a dream. Funny enough, this song was banned in some African countries where it does not snow because it seemed to refer to race as opposed to a weather-related phenomenon.
New York in the winter is a site to behold. Although it does not always snow on Christmas day, there are many sites and activities that make up for it; from ice skating to performances by the Rockettes, from giant Christmas decorations to the Empire State Building sporting red and green. The legendary toy store, FAO Shwarz, offers something for the whole family: sweets, remote controlled cars, Lego, Barbie, Beatles merchandise, and more. Be sure to pack extra warm clothes, as the winter air is bone-chillingly cold!
Santa Claus Village, Finland
Would you believe me if I told you Santa Claus is real? Well, he was at some point anyway. Apparently, he comes from Santa Claus Village in Finland. There are many theories of who Saint Nicolas was; some say he was a Christian bishop, others say he was just an ordinary man who would give children coal if they had been naughty. You can go and check it out for yourself; Santa Claus Village has Santa Claus’ office, a Santa Claus post office, and shops selling Santa Claus souvenirs.
In Britain and many English-speaking countries outside of the United States, Santa Claus is called Father Christmas. The bleak streets of London come alive around Christmas time with carollers, pudding races, decorated Christmas trees and shopping madness. The way that Christmas is celebrated in London is very different to what it is in the States, mostly when it comes to traditional Christmas dishes that come from places like Scotland and Ireland.
Hong Kong, China
Even though only an estimated 1% of China’s population is Christian, Christmas is still a time of festivities. Hong Kong offers the ultimate shopping experience around Christmas time. Thousands of visitors flock to Hong Kong to see its spectacular Christmas light display on some of its buildings. You do not need to be Christian or to celebrate Christmas in order to appreciate the sheer beauty of it all.
Whether you consider yourself Christian or not, Christmas is celebrated worldwide in different ways. We found five places that enjoy the festivities in unique ways.