It’s Christmas Eve There are unexpected knock on the door. If you are in the United States, a group of singers can surprise you with Christmas carols. If you’re in Argentina, the neighbors might be an evening full of parcels and fireworks. If you’re in Newfoundland, they can be dress up friends and do a play until you guess who they are.
Christmas, the annual feast in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated in its own way in many countries, including those where few Christians live. Non-Christians celebrations of Christmas can be found all over the world: less than three percent of the Indian population is Christian, but Christmas is a national holiday. Only one percent of Japanese are Christians, but Santa Claus and Christmas carols abound in supermarkets. In the United States, more than $ 1,000 per person is spent on holidays, according to the National Retail Federation. (Check out these adorable and adorable American Christmas decorations.)
The celebration of Christmas often has a local flavor, influenced by cultural norms and values. In Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, Christians set up Nativity scenes and painted a cross on their door. On Christmas Eve they go to church and watch a parade. In Syria, children receive not gifts from Santa like in the United States, but from the smallest and smallest sentences of the Three Wise Men. Italy has its own version of the cheerful fat man. Legend has it that the Italian witch Befana gives gifts to good children, but takes troubled children to her hungry husband. (Read more about Santa’s amazing origins.)
Food plays a leading role everywhere. In Ukraine, party-goers who really want to do well eat 12 courses – one per messenger. In Japan, it is customary for families to go to the American fast food chain KFC. In Poland, carp often swim in the pool at home for a few days before serving it for dinner. After that, her scales are often kept, to bring good luck.
This article was originally published in English on NationalGeographic.com