There are many traditions we tend to do here in the United States around Christmas time. A few of those traditions include baking cookies, trimming your Christmas tree, and caroling. Have you ever wondered how countries around the world celebrate the Christmas season? The holiday looks different depending on where you reside and/or celebrate at this time of year.

I think you will be surprised by some of the traditions around the world and how much they vary from what you may do to celebrate. From spending Christmas at the beach to leaving a tall red candle in the front window overnight. Let us dive in and discover some of the traditions that are celebrated around the globe during the Christmas season.

Sweden

Each year, a very large goat is constructed in the same spot. This goat, today, is referred to as the Gavle Goat. What began as a Christmas symbol that dated back to pagan festivals, The Yule Goat changed to the Gavle Goat in 1966 when someone came up with the idea to make a giant straw goat. Standing at more than 42 feet high and 23 feet wide, the Goat weighs 3.6 tons and is known as the world’s largest straw goat. You can watch a livestream from the first Sunday of Advent until it is taken down after the New Year.

Barbados

As far as tradition goes, Barbados celebrates the holiday with a feast. No Christmas dinner is complete without a baked ham with a pineapple glaze, a rum cake, and a Scottish dish called Jug Jug.

Denmark

Homes are decorated with nisser’s in Denmark during the Christmas season. They are superstitious characters that are believed to provide protection. Then on Christmas Eve, families place their tree in the middle of the room and they proceed to dance around it and sing carols!

Finland

Finish families begin Christmas morning with a traditional bowl of porridge. An almond is also in the porridge and whomever finds the almond in their bowl ‘wins!” After the day is over, it is customary to warm up by enjoying the sauna together.

Ireland

Folks in Ireland leave a tall red candle in their front window overnight. They see it as a symbol of shelter and warmth. Traditionally, you can find a roasted goose, cranberries, and vegetables on the dinner table for the holiday.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Christmas tree is the Pohutukawa, which is a coastal tree that blooms bright red in December. Most use it as shade as they sing carols in English and Maori. Families and friends gather together for a cookout that consists of seafood and seasonal veggies.

Philippines

Now the Philippines go all out for Christmas! They may honestly do more than the United States do to be honest. They hold a Giant Lantern Festival that features parols (lanterns) that symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. Each parol consists of thousands of spinning lights. These parols light up the night sky! The festival takes place in San Fernando, the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”

No matter where you are spending your Christmas, we do hope you have a wonderful time with loved ones! Merry Christmas from all of us at Bear Crossing/Resort Properties Vacations in Pigeon Forge!