Aaron Kim / Los Altos HS 11th
As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, many people are ready to get into the Christmas spirit. For some, it‘s making paper lanterns to light up the holiday sky; for others, it’s eating fuzzy caterpillars right before the big day. These festivities may be quite different, but their love for the holiday is the same. Varying from country to country, these Christmas celebrations reflect local cultures and unique traditions.
Taking a look around the world, a Christmas Eve in China might leave you with a few apples. Wrapped in colored paper, people give apples to each other, as the Chinese translation for apple sounds like the word “peace” and Christmas Eve translates to peaceful evening. In addition, homes are decorated with bright paper chains and evergreens, and the infamous “tree of light” is hung with lanterns and flowers. Symbolizing the happiness of the winter season, red paper chains are also used as decorations for this one of a kind Christmas tree.
In Australia, many of their festivities take place outdoors, with their most famous event being Carols by the Candlelight. This is where people come together at night to light candles, singing their hearts out to famous Christmas carols. Stars are shining above with wonderful sights and sounds create an outdoor aroma of a sweet Christmas concert.
Reflecting on the different places to spend a Christmas, Travis Mewhirter expressed, “I would like to go to a cold place to experience a real Christmas with tons of snow. I‘d go to Canada for a Christmas ski trip, and maybe even get a lodge there.”
Eunice Kim also gave her own insight on her ideal Christmas and said, “I would go to Patagonia, South America. Many parks in the summer are closed so going there during the Christmas season would be ideal. They have milky blue icy skies and I would want to go on a hiking trip there.”
While many people in the U.S. enjoy hot chocolate and warm cookies for their holiday snack, kids in South Africa chow down on deep-fried caterpillars of what is known as, “The Emperor Moth”. This standard “must” in their Christmas tradition serves as a nutritious protein to enjoy on this festive holiday. In Japan, a KFC dinner is extremely popular with more than 240,000 barrels of fried chicken sold Christmas night. Although it became famous from a KFC marketing campaign four decades ago, this is still a tradition passed from parents to child to celebrate the holidays.
Taking a trip to Caracas, Venezuela, you might bump into a few roller skaters on these closed off streets. With no car in sight, hundreds roller skate as kids even tie pieces of rope to one of their toes on Christmas Eve, letting it dangle out the window while they sleep. On Christmas morning, roller skaters on these streets tug on any rope they see, to wake children up for church on the blessed day. Although not confirmed on how or why this tradition started, many people believe that this exciting and active tradition was an alternative to sledding.
Fascinated by the unique Christmas cultures and traditions around the world, Mewhirter conveys, “Everyone in the world celebrates the same event for baby Jesus, in such different ways. The way people all around the world celebrate Christmas is awesome.”
<Aaron Kim / Los Altos HS 11th