Regardless of where you are celebrating Christmas, you can incorporate culture, God’s creation and Christmas traditions around the world into your holiday festivities.
Christians, how inspiring is it to see people across the globe -- even in countries where Christianity isn't the predominant religion -- celebrating the birth of Jesus?
For even more Christmas traditions around the world, check out the original article here:28 Christmas Traditions Around The World You Can Do At Home.
Now, let’s dive in.
1. Peru: A Manger In Place Of A Tree
Instead of placing gifts under the tree, Peruvians place gifts around the manger of their central Christmas decoration, the "pesebre."
Basically, the "pesebre" is a nativity scene that is typically carved from wood or stone.
Each year, families chose one member to place the figurine of Jesus into his manger. This person is considered lucky.
2. Spain: Roscon De Reyes
Speaking of figurines, every year, the Spanish hide a figurine of baby Jesus inside their "roscon de reyes," commonly known in English as a king cake, to celebrate Three Kings Day, an honorary day for the three wise men of the Bible.
Whoever gets the lucky slice with the Jesus figurine is given the task to buy next year's cake.
3. Brazil: Gifts From The Magi On Three Kings Day
Also on Three Kings Day, kids in Brazil receive presents from the magi, or the three wise men, just as Jesus did on the night of his birth.
4. Austria: Marking The Three Wise Men's Initials
Furthermore, yet another tradition involving the three wise men takes place over in Austria.
There, farmers write in the initials of the three wise men – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – on top of their stable doors.
5. Poland: Waiting To Eat Dinner
Nearby, in Poland on Christmas Eve, families wait to have dinner until the first star comes out at night. This waiting period is meant to symbolize the appearance of the star of Bethlehem.
Moreover, before dinner, the Polish eat a flavorless Christmas wafer named the “oplatek,” which usually comes in the shape of a star or the nativity scene, as they wish each other a Merry Christmas.
Lastly, another unique Polish Christmas tradition you can easily implement at home is to purposely set an extra place out on the table, just in case a guest should show up unannounced.
6. Ukraine: 12 Courses For 12 Apostles
As for Ukrainian Christmas dinners, families in Ukraine traditionally serve a whopping 12 full courses on Christmas. Each of the courses represents one of the 12 apostles.
7. Germany: Advent Wreath
Although door hanging wreaths are popular here in the US, advent wreaths, such as the wreaths used in Germany, are a less common and easy way to incorporate cultural experiences into your Christmas this year.
The traditional German advent wreath has four taper candle holders on the wreath to be lit on the four weeks before Christmas, as well as an open center for a larger, often white, candle to be lit on Christmas.
Whenever the family members light a candle, they usually celebrate with good food, good beverages, prayer and Christmas songs.
8. Philippines: Christmas Lanterns
On the contrary, in the Philippines, celebrators adorn their homes and cities with elaborate parols, colorful Christmas lanterns traditionally built from bamboo and paper.
Normally, the lanterns depict a star to resemble the star of Bethlehem.
These lanterns light up the entirety of the Philippines, especially in the city of San Fernando where the Giant Lantern Festival takes place.
9. Portugal: Midnight Mass
Next, in the Portuguese speaking countries of Portugal and Brazil, Christmas festivities begin late at night, usually around 10:00 p.m., with dinner and a gift exchange followed by midnight mass.
Midnight mass, also known as Missa Do Galo, or Rooster Mass, is essentially the Portuguese equivalent of a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service, but, as the name suggests, it's held at midnight. Furthermore, after mass, neighbors often light up the night sky with fireworks to further celebrate.
Although your church may not offer midnight mass on Christmas, you could replicate this Portuguese tradition at home by streaming a Christmas sermon on YouTube at midnight.
10. Switzerland: DIY Advent Calendars
Moreover, as opposed to buying a cheap-chocolate advent calendar every year, families in Switzerland make their own advent calendars.
Just like store-bought advent calendars, Swiss DIY advent calendars hold fun gifts to open each day of December leading up to Christmas Eve, which is when the biggest gift is revealed.
Which of these Christmas traditions around the world are you going to try this year? For more Christmas traditions around the world, click here!