Interesting Christmas Traditions from Around the World
One of the most beautiful things about Canada is its cultural diversity. Canada is home to people from all corners of the world, walks of life, religions and cultures. With Christmas just around the corner, we thought we’d take a break from preaching the importance of strong, healthy teeth and beautiful smiles to recognize how some other cultures celebrate Christmas.
Celebrating Nikolaus in Germany
Nikolaus visits the children of Germany on the night of December 5 each year. On the evening of December 5, children leave a shoe or boot outside their doors. Nikolaus, riding on a donkey or horse, comes in the middle of the night and leaves coins, chocolates and small toys in the shoes of good children. Naughty children get a birch stick, a symbol for spanking.
While they dress and look similar, Nikolaus is not the same as Santa Claus. Santa still visits on December 25.
Celebrating Szent-este in Hungary
Many Hungarians also start their Christmas celebrations in early December, with Mikulás visiting children on the night of December 5 and leaving small treats for the good children just like Nikolaus does in Germany.
The main Christmas day in the Hungarian culture is Christmas Eve, December 24. Hungarians put up and decorate their Christmas tree. The main Christmas meal is also prepared and eaten on Christmas Eve, with fish and stuffed cabbage being staples of Christmas Eve dinner and poppy bread dessert called “Beigli” being served afterward.
Many religious Hungarians celebrate Midnight Mass on the night of December 24, and Hungarian children go to bed hopeful that Jesus will leave them presents under their tree before morning.
Boxing Day in the United Kingdom
While we observe Boxing Day in Canada, for most Canadians it is simply a day off work after Christmas to get over a huge turkey dinner and go bargain hunting at Boxing Day sales!
However, there’s more to Boxing Day than an extra day off work. Historically, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas when mailmen, errand boys and servants would expect to receive a “Christmas Box” filled with money and presents as a show of gratitude for good service throughout the year.
A Month-Long Celebration in Mexico
Mexicans celebrate Christmas from December 12th through January 6th.
From December 16th through 24th, Mexican children perform “Posada” processions, celebrating the part of the Christmas story where Mary and Joseph are looking for a place to stay. They walk through the streets visiting the houses of family and friends, singing a song about Joseph and Mary asking for a room in the house. At the first homes they visit they are told that there is no room for them to stay in, until they arrive at a house where they are told there is a room and they are welcomed in. There is a party at that house with food, games and fireworks.
No matter if or how you and your family choose to celebrate Christmas this year, we wish you a very safe and Merry Christmas!
We look forward to being a big part of your family’s health and wellness in 2017 and beyond!