International Christmas Traditions

Expand your child’s world by learning about Christmas traditions in different cultures. Check out this list of a few of our favorite international traditions you can try with your family this Christmas season.

Make a parol (lighted lantern) like they do in the Philippines. Each year, several cities throughout the Philippines compete in a Christmas parol-making competition. Traditional lanterns were made of bamboo and origami paper, but today’s lanterns are made from just about any material.

If the weather in your area allows it, try out the Venezuelan tradition of rollerblading to a Christmas service! The tradition in Caracas, the capitol of Venezuela, is to rollerblade to a Christmas Eve service. It’s such a big deal in Caracas that roads get closed off so that people can rollerblade safely.

Catalonia, Spain
If you want to get a little silly this Christmas, consider having your kids make the Caga Tió, or pooping log. In Catalonia, the most northeastern region in Spain that’s home to Barcelona, kids decorate small logs by adding legs, a face, clothing, and even a hat. Over the month of December, the log is “fed” small pieces of bread or fruit. Then, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, someone is chosen to hit the Caga Tió with a wet stick to produce some sweets under his blanket. There’s even a song that goes along with the stick hitting!

Oaxaca (pronounced Wah-Haak-Kah), Mexico
If you’re looking for a fun Christmas craft, consider participating in Oaxaca’s “Night of the Radishes.” Every year in Oaxaca, there is a competition to see who can carve the best Nativity scene out of radishes. It many not the most obvious material to carve, but it’s still fun!

To partake in a Japanese tradition, have some Kentucky Fried Chicken! Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, but KFC did such a strong marketing campaign during the Christmas of 1974 that many families still celebrate Christmas Eve with a traditional meal of the Colonel’s drumsticks and biscuits.

This year, instead of stockings, consider leaving shoes by the fireplace like they do in the Netherlands each December 5! Similar to leaving cookies and milk out for Santa, good Dutch boys and girls leave carrots in their shoes for the white horse belonging to Saint Nicolaas. Just like stockings, shoes left by the fire are filled with treats when Christmas arrives.

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