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TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD

Mara Cobb

How do people celebrate Christmas around the world? Americans may sing carols with friends, wrap gifts in glittery paper, or decorate a Christmas tree with ornaments of silver and gold. Let’s take a look at how Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines, Australia, and England.

 

The Philippines

rice muffin cake with cheese also known as puto in filipinoThe Christmas season starts earlier in the Philippines than almost anywhere else in the world. In September, many Filipinos begin hanging Christmas lights and decorating their Christmas trees. Christmas greetings are extended to friends and family using social media. Gillie Pascua, one of devozine’s Teen Advisory Board members, says that for dinner on Christmas Day, “lechón, or roasted pig, is a traditional dish that never gets old.”* Bibingka, a type of coconut-rice cake, is often eaten for breakfast. Another Christmas treat is puto bumbong—cake made from a sweet purple rice steamed in bamboo tubes. This dessert is typically topped with butter and shredded coconut. In the Philippines, families often gather together to celebrate the day of Jesus’ birth, and many attend church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

 

bondi beach in sydneyAustralia

Many Australians prepare for Christmas by mailing cards to family members, singing Christmas carols, and decorating trees with ornaments. In the Christmas lore of the Land Down Under, Santa’s sleigh is powered by kangaroos instead of Rudolph and the other reindeer. Christmas Day comes at the beginning of summer here, so many Australian celebrations take place outdoors. Families may fire up the barbeque or eat foods such as salads or seafood for dinner. For dessert, many enjoy plum pudding accompanied by ice cream. Camping and going to the beach are two popular ways Australians spend their holiday. Many Australians gather in Sydney at Bondi Beach and spend their Christmas enjoying the sun, sand, and ocean waves.

 

England

Glittery christmas favors on blue backgroundChristmas crackers are a fun tradition enjoyed by those in England. Two people each grab one end of a foil-covered cardboard tube. When they pull, the tube breaks open with a bang, revealing a small gift hidden inside. A traditional Christmas dinner menu features turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, Yorkshire pudding (a pastry made with meat drippings), and mince pie for dessert. Families gather around their TVs each Christmas to hear the Queen’s speech, which commemorates events that happened during the past year and spreads tidings of good cheer for the year to come. Teen Advisory Board member Elizabeth Roberts appreciates the “sense of thankfulness and togetherness in her country at Christmas time.”*

 

DIG DEEPER

Pick a country that you want to learn more about and research its Christmas traditions. Then pray for the people in that country as they prepare their hearts and homes to receive the Christ child this Christmas.

*Special thanks to devozine Teen Advisory Board members Gillie Pascua and Elizabeth Roberts for helping us learn about Christmas in the Philippines and England!

 

Mara Cobb , 21, is a devozine Teen Advisory Board member from Dunmor, Kentucky.

—from devozine (November/December 2018). Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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