Report: Christmas around the world

The city’s and villages are decorated with lights, stars, pine trees and fake snow. It is (almost) Christmas. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ generally it is celebrated on the 25th of December. But now a days it’s also very normal to eat large meals with family or have gifts.

America and Britain

The most famous way to celebrate Christmas is the English or American way. In their homes they have a big Christmas three that is decorated and sometimes people hang lights on their homes. The Americans and Britain celebrate Christmas with the family and some people go to church on Christmas Eve. They often celebrate Christmas Eve also with a special Christmas dinner “turkey and Christmas pudding”, a Christmas pudding is a pudding in large part from raisins is further plays Santa a big role.


Someone who plays a big role in celebrating Christmas in English and American country’s is Santa Claus. He bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours on December 24: Christmas Eve. Santa was founded from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which may have part of its personality in tales about the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas.

Dutch Sinterklaas

In Holland Christmas isn’t celebrated that big. On the 5th of December the Dutch people celebrate Sinterklaas, the figure who is the founder of Santa. On the night of December people are together with family, drink hot chocolate milk and sing special Sinterklaas songs. Then with a lot of pounding on the door Sinterklaas and het Zwarte Pieten (Black Pete’s) are coming. Sometimes they just leave presents in a big bag in front of the door or in the house, but they can come and visit you. The ask you if you are nice and they will check it in the big book of Sinterklaas.

Christmas in Holland is eating with the family or going to church. But a lot of family’s have a Christmas three in their homes and it becomes more usual to also have gifts. The Dutch celebrate two days of Christmas, witch are also free days for the hole country, on the 24th and 25th of December.

Basque Olentzero

In the Basque Country they don’t have Santa but Olentzero. According to Basque traditions Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children.

One story’s about Olentzero is being one of the jentillak, a mythological race of Basque giants living in the Pyrenees. Legend has it that they observed a glowing cloud in the sky one day. None of them could look at this bright cloud except for a very old, nearly blind man. When asked to examine it, he confirmed their fears and told them that it was a sign that Jesus will be born soon. According to some stories, the old man asked the giants to throw him off a cliff to avoid having to live through Christianisation. Having obliged him, the giants tripped on the way down and died themselves except Olentzero.

Olentzero doesn’t look like Sinterklaas or Santa Clause (who both have red clothes, a white beard, red hat and helpers). Olentzero weirs a txapela ( a typical Basque hat), has a scarf, a black shirt and blue pants and he doesn’t have helpers.

But there is one thing that Sinterklaas, Santa Claus and Olentzero all have in common: they are old men with white beards who give good children presents.

Funny facts

  • The colors red and green are used a lot at Christmas but have a relation with Jesus Christ. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter.

  • Jews don’t celebrate Christmas but have Hanukkah. It is also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

  • In Mexico, Christmas begins on December 16th. Until December 24 there are the “posadas”. These are processions of children and adults, with statues of Mary and Joseph are carried. It is acted out how Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay. On the last day carried the baby Jesus, at the end of the evening is laid in a manger.

  • In Italy, the Christmas witch “La Befana” presents around on Epiphany. She is looking for Jesus Christ and brings good children candy, naughty children get coal or dark candy.

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