Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Fröhe Weihnachten: Celebrations Around the World

Audrey Cromett, Staff Writer

Christmas trees, Santa and presents are staples of Christmas celebrations seen all around the world. However, different countries have their own unique holiday traditions as well.

In Spain, like many other countries, there is a large emphasis placed on spending time with family. Receiving presents does occur, however, a larger emphasis is placed on being with loved ones over the holiday. The commercial aspect of Christmas that is ever present in the United States is not seen in Spain. Instead of spending the majority of money on toys or clothes, it is saved for expensive and special foods. Mealtime is when families grow closer together during the holiday and by using money on ingredients, Spaniards enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner such as baked lamb. Spanish teacher Senora Navarro has spent over 25 Christmases in Spain and described a favorite memory from her childhood: “Growing up my father always told us to get our shoes and put them on the patio with wheat for the camels to come eat.” She explained that this was because the three wise kings would come visit her house on camel back, and similar to how carrots are placed outside for Santa’s reindeer, they would need something to eat for the rest of their journey.

Germany has many similarities to Spain however, they also have many unique traditions such as the Krampus, Christmas markets, and naughty children receiving tree branches in their shoes. When asked to describe the most memorable part of Christmas in Germany, Frau Khouri immediately thought of the Krampus. Many people dress up in masks and parade through the streets at night waving tree branches and acting like a big evil monster. Santa then appears in the middle of the parade and saves the children. These processions Khouri said, “brought joy and fun to the community.” Another thing that children look forward to is Christmas Eve. Instead of opening presents in the morning, Germans open gifts at night. This allows for Christmas day to be spent eating big, filling meals with loved ones. Most of the time, the big meal is followed by a dessert called “Stollen” that is shaped and has the appearance of Baby Jesus. Not only is it delicious, but it also shows how religion plays a big role in the holiday in Germany as well.

In Mexico, religion plays a large role as well. Las Posadas are a “unique and beautiful tradition” as Spanish teacher Profe Nemeth described them. These events take place from December 16th to the 24th and are a reenactment of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay. Christmas carols are sung, piñatas are hit, and tamales are enjoyed in this Navidad celebration. Nemeth was able to spend Christmas in Mexico in 2003 when she was teaching there and loved seeing and taking part in all the festivities.  In Mexico, Santa does bring gifts however, children also receive gifts on January 6th from the three kings. These traditions can be seen in many Latin countries as Senora Navarro took part in this tradition when she was younger.

Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated worldwide and allows each country to show off their traditions and experiences. Though it may look different depending on where it is being celebrated, the same values are always present; love, kindness, and generosity.