Holidays around the world

See how other cultures celebrate Christmas and other holidays in December


Christmas around the world

All across the world, there are numerous holidays celebrated during December. Three essential holidays during December are Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Christmas is the most celebrated and often most enjoyable holiday. According to 20th-century study of comparative religion, thirty-two percent of the world celebrates Christmas. Dia Tardino, 22’ cares very much about Christmas. She says, “Christmas is a phenomenal way to celebrate and includes much needed time with one’s family. The traditions such as putting up the tree and putting up decorations are extremely important.” Without the decorations and holiday spirit, Christmas would not have an effect across the world.

Although Christmas is celebrated throughout the whole world, traditions range. For example, in Germany Christmas trees are decorated with real burning candles instead of lights and ornaments. Adventskranz are wreaths with four candles where one candle is lit every Sunday. In addition, instead of opening gifts on Christmas day, Germans tend to open gifts on Christmas eve and spend the following two days with family and friends. 

Though Hanukkah is less celebrated, it is still a delightful holiday celebration. Hanukkah is an exciting holiday that lasts eight nights and is celebrated by Jewish people. Though Hannakah is celebrated throughout the world, the ratio that people celebrate Hannakah is only 1 to 14 compared to Christmas. Spencer Cooney ‘22 believes that “Hannakah is usually overshadowed by Christmas but is still a fun holiday. Due to Hannakah having eight nights, that means there are eight days of gift-giving and receiving. The traditions also cause competition and enjoyment.” Hanukkah brings lots of joy to people across the world due to cultural integrity, exciting games such as dradling, and real family traditions.

Kwanzaa is the least celebrated holiday during December but has lots of fun traditions. Kwanzaa is a word that derives from the term “Matunda ya Kwanza” which means First fruits in Swahili. Some traditions that happen during Kwanzaa are story telling, poetry reading, and a thanksgiving Esque feast. Kwanzaa is a holiday intended for families to sing, dance, and most of all have fun with one another. 

December is a month of exciting holidays with interesting and consistent traditions. What are your family and cultural traditions?

Menorah used during Hanukkah to signify the eight nights.
“Parol” Filipino decorations made to represent the star that
guided the wise men.