How the Holidays Are Celebrated Worldwide
by Chloe Hu
As the holiday season approaches, Sweden celebrates a special occasion in honor of Saint Lucia or Sankta Lucia. On December 13 (the winter solstice), schools and churches alike put on a performance. Children wear a white gown and a red sash, which symbolizes a Christian white baptismal robe and the blood of her martyrdom, respectively, and hold a candle in their hands. One “Lucia” is chosen to wear a crown of candles around their head and together they perform Christmas carols and traditional songs.
In Russia, Christmas is rather private because the of prior influence by the Soviet Union. The main religion in Russia is Orthodox and Christmas is normally celebrated on January 7. Many fast on Christmas eve and some don’t touch meat and fish at all during the holidays. Russia places more emphasis around the holiday season on New Year’s, and people are free to drink and have a good time with friends and family.
People in the Philippines love the holiday season so much that they start preparing in September, when Christmas carols start to play in shops! However, the formal celebration begins mid-December. On Christmas Eve, Filipinos stay up all night and celebrate until Christmas day while enjoying a midnight feast with family members, called “Noche Buena.”
In Mexico, Christmas is a huge deal. Children perform “Posadas” which are performances that celebrate the progression of the biblical story of the journey Mary and Joseph took to find a manger for baby Jesus. In these performances, the children go door to door and sing songs about the progression. The homeowners would reject them as many of the innkeepers in the biblical reference once rejected Mary and Joseph. The children would keep performing until one homeowner would decide to let them in to play games and enjoy food.
Instead of having boxing day on the 25th, Italy holds their own set of rituals as boxing day, which takes place on January 6. This particular day is called “Day of Epiphany.” Exactly one month prior to the exciting day, children often write down their wishes for St. Nicholas, as Italians call it. Because Catholicism is the reigning religion for Italy, Christmas eve is a fasting day, so no food is consumed until the real celebration begins: after mass at midnight.
Picture of Italy’s Christmas Witch