Hello there! What do you know about Christmas traditions around the world? If you celebrate Christmas, you and your loved ones probably have a lot of your own traditions. However, are you aware of many other festive traditions that exist? Try our quiz to see if you are up to date with your knowledge of Christmas traditions.
Christmas customs around the world are very diverse, but what they all share in common is the theme of togetherness, light, and hope. Let’s learn about the various festive, joyous traditions in different countries.
Every year on December 13, most Scandinavians celebrate St. Lucia (also known as St. Lucy). St. Lucia Day was first observed in Sweden, but by the mid-nineteenth century, it had spread to Denmark and Finland.
The holiday is the start of the Christmas season for the Scandinavians. According to tradition, the oldest daughter in the family rises early and wakes up the rest of the family. While doing that, she’s dressed in a white gown with a red sash and a crown made of twigs with nine lighted candles. That day she is called “Lussi” or “Lussibruden”, which means Lucy bride. The whole family eats breakfast together in a room lighted with candles.
Light is the main theme of St. Lucia Day as her name, which is derived from the Latin word lux, means light. People brightly illuminated their homes on that day and would carry torches in a parade at night. At the end of the night, everyone would throw their torches onto a large pile of straw, creating a huge bonfire. Today, in Finland, one girl is chosen to serve as the national Lucia, and she is honored in a parade surrounded by torchbearers.
On Christmas Eve, many Finns visit the sauna. Families gather to listen to the national radio broadcast “Peace on Earth.” It is a common practice to pay respects to the graves of deceased family members.
Did you know that the tradition of decorating Christmas trees comes from Germany? Decorating evergreen trees had always been a part of the German winter solstice tradition. The first Christmas trees appeared in the 16th century. It is a widely held belief that the Protestant reformer Martin Luther was the first one to add lighted candles to a tree. He was inspired by the beauty of stars glittering amid pine trees as he walked toward his house one winter night while drafting a sermon. He built a tree in the main room and wired lit candles into its branches to recreate the sight for his family.
The well-known custom of sending Christmas cards can be traced back to England. It was popularized by John Calcott Horsley who started producing small cards featuring native scenes and a pre-written holiday greeting. The cards immediately became a hit among customers.
Christmas pudding, or figgy pudding, is an English dish dating back to the Middle Ages. The ingredients—suet, flour, sugar, raisins, almonds, and spices—are loosely bound in fabric and boiled until they are “plum,” or have grown to the point that the cloth can no longer contain them. Then it is opened, cut into slices like cake, and covered in cream.
The tradition of caroling also began in England. Traveling musicians would tour from town to town visiting the castles and homes of the rich people. In return for their performance, the singers hoped for a warm meal and some money.
Christmas is known as Noel in France. The term “the good news” refers to the gospel and is derived from the French word “Les bonnes nouvelles.”
From Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day, some residents of southern France light a log in their homes. This dates back to a long-ago custom in which farmers would use a piece of the log to bring luck to the harvest the following year.
In Australia, Christmas comes in the middle of summer and very high temperatures during the Christmas season are not unusual. Spending time on the beach and outdoor barbecues are common activities. Traditional Christmas day celebrations include family gatherings, exchanging gifts, and either a hot meal with ham, turkey, pork, or seafood or barbeques.
In the country of Ukraine, people prepare a traditional twelve-course meal. The youngest child in the family watches through the window waiting for the evening star to appear. It is a signal for the ceremonial feast to start. Similar customs are observed in Poland, Lithuania, and others countries of Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe. Although the precise dishes may vary from nation to nation, many of them are quite universal. No meat, eggs, or milk (including cheese) is permitted during the supper due to the Nativity Fast. As a result, the main options are fish, mushrooms, and different kinds of grains.
There are so many fascinating Christmas traditions and customs around the world. Do you think you can pass our Christmas traditions trivia quiz? Get down to the questions and find out!
How many questions are in the quiz?
There are 20 questions.
How many points can you get?
Up to 20 points.
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