Christmas is celebrated all over the world. Each country has its own customs and traditions; the tree finds a place in most homes and children write hopeful letters requesting their gifts. People around the world talk about unity, fraternity, solidarity and feelings of love, but the way Christmas is celebrated differs from country to country.
In Spain, children write to the three Wise Men (or Three Kings), who arrive with the presents on the eve of 5th January. On Christmas Eve the Spanish celebrate with all sorts of delicious dishes and seafood is really popular throughout the festive season. On New Year’s Eve, the Spanish eat twelve grapes just before midnight, one on each chime of the clock. Christmas celebrations start on 22nd December.
In Peru, Catholic families often attend midnight mass. On Christmas Eve, the Peruvian families tend to enjoy their traditional roast turkey with apple sauce or pork. Early morning Christmas Day, they enjoy delicious hot chocolate with “panetón”. The New Year sees the fireworks display and people toast with champagne or cider. Christmas gifts are just for children while New Year’s gifts are just for adults.
In Mexico, cradle of the Maya and the Aztecs, the holiday season begins around mid-December. The mariachi roam the streets from door to door asking for lodging. On Christmas Eve, the tradition is to eat “guajalotes” (turkey) while the festive music plays.
In Argentina, children celebrate a great Christmas as the festive season is mainly centered around the young ones. They write their letters to Santa and the gifts are placed under the Christmas tree. The religious tradition of the midnight mass is still followed by some families to celebrate the birth of Christ, and, in most homes, families celebrate around the dinner table until late.
It is said that in the north of Finland, in a region called Korvatunturi, is where Santa lives. There is even a major theme park “Land of Christmas” where you can see Santa’s home. As in the rest of the world, the Finns decorate their homes with trees, lights and garlands, and eat turkey and ham for dinner with the family. They usually decorate a fir on Christmas Eve, eating oatmeal and drinking prune juice. It is also tradition to place in the garden an arrangement made with wheat stalks and fruits to feed the birds.