Christmas is celebrated throughout the world. In almost every house there is a Christmas tree, a Christmas decoration, a meal, something that reminds us that we are in the middle of the Christmas holidays.
The children write their letter to Santa Claus and / or the Three Wise Men to ask for their gifts, and everyone starts talking about feelings of love, brotherhood and solidarity.
But, although with common ingredients, each country has its traditions and, in many cases, the differences are enormous. How is Christmas in the world? our site has selected some countries to tell about their respective Christmas traditions.
Christmas begins in Spain with the traditional Christmas lottery draw on December 22. Two days later, on the night of December 24, Christmas Eve, they dine with the family.
The most common is that stuffed lamb or turkey is cooked and for dessert there is a tray on the table full of all kinds of nougat, marzipan, polvorones, etc.
And if Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are very familiar moments, New Years Eve and New Years are usually spent with friends.
On December 31 at 00:00 hours 12 grapes are eaten to the beat of the 12 bells of the Puerta del Sol clock.
It is said that if you manage to eat all the grapes in time and without choking, you will be lucky for the twelve months of the new year.
Spanish Christmas comes to an end with the arrival of the Three Kings. On the night of January 5, all children with their parents attend the Cabalgatas de Reyes held in all towns and cities.
Already on Three Kings Day, January 6, once the gifts have been opened, the traditional Roscón de Reyes is savored accompanied by a good cup of hot chocolate.
On Christmas night, Peruvian families taste the traditional baked turkey with applesauce or suckling pig; and some Catholic families later attend the Misa del Gallo. And on Christmas morning, the traditional breakfast is made up of a cup of hot chocolate accompanied by shoulder ham.
The atmosphere outside the houses is totally festive. Christmas carols can be heard in the streets and, in some towns, it is difficult to walk through the streets because they are completely full of street vendors; street commerce is huge at this time of year.
Then comes New Year's Eve, a day to toast with cider or champagne and launch rockets. In addition, some superstitious people wear a yellow undergarment to, they say, attract good luck for the coming year.
Others participate in the traditional 'burning of the doll', a doll dressed in old clothes and stuffed with newspapers that represents the figure of some bad politician; thus, this doll represents the old, what is left behind and wants to be eliminated. The great curiosity of Peruvian Christmas is that at Christmas gifts are for children, but at New Years they are for adults.
The cradle of the Mayans and Aztecs begins its Christmas festivities in mid-December with the Posadas, that is, the mariachi walks through the streets, knocking from door to door, asking for posada.
On Christmas night, the gastronomic tradition highlights "the guajalotes" or turkeys, while the music plays. In a house selected by lottery, a piñata filled with almond pieces of cane is usually broken.
Argentina's Christmas festivities focus on children, their letter to Santa Claus and the gifts that the little paunchy old man places for them under the Christmas tree. What is almost forgotten is the tradition of going to the Mass of the Rooster; now most families extend the family celebration late into the night.
Belgians celebrate Christmas dinner with a stuffed turkey and a special dessert: a cake made with cream. They call Santa Claus Saint Nicholas who has his gift-giving day on December 6.
On Christmas Day there are also more gifts that are exchanged between the family. These gifts are found under the tree or in stockings hanging near the fire, after a breakfast in which a sweet bread called "cougnolle" is the protagonist of the Belgian gastronomic tradition.
The turkey is also the central dish of the Guatemalan Christmas dinner. But it is also a custom to eat tamales stuffed with different meats, raisins, almonds and olives. Desserts are usually prepared with tropical fruits. Sweet fritters made with honey are famous. Regarding decoration, in Guatemala it is common to see houses, parks and streets decorated with lanterns, Christmas trees and nativity scenes.
It is said that it is in the north of this country, in a region called Korvatunturi, where Santa Claus lives. There is even a large theme park, "Land of Christmas", where you can see the home of Santa Claus. As in the rest of the world, Finns decorate their houses with trees, lights and garlands, and eat turkey and ham at Christmas dinner with the family.
They usually decorate a fir tree on Christmas Eve, eating oatmeal and prune juice. It is also customary that they put an ornament made with ears of wheat and fruits in the gardens of the houses so that the birds come and eat.
More than Christmas, what the Japanese really celebrate is preparing for the new year. No more starting the month of December, they are dedicated to cleaning everything, their houses, their accounts and, even, to renew the wardrobe, as a symbol of the entrance of the new year.
The final big day of the year is called Omisoka. On this day they usually taste the traditional noodle cups with the whole family, a symbol of longevity. The end of the year Japanese festivities end on January 4.
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