The Christmas holiday abounds in interesting customs and traditions. Some of these Christmas customs and traditions are wholeheartedly religious, while others are secular and relaxed. Some countries also have a national flavor in their customs of Christmas. So evidently, the customs and traditions of Christmas are neither singular nor homogenous all over the world. These keep varying from region to region, and from country to country. Popular Christmas traditions such as the exchanging of gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, the Yule log, the holly bough, the kissing under mistletoe etc are more or less common to all places.
In Christian countries, Christmas has become the most significant holiday of the year, economically speaking. Christmas is celebrated for a span of twelve days following December 25 in the United Kingdom. This twelve-day Christmas tradition is marked by huge celebration and feasting and ends on the Twelfth Night or the Feast of the Epiphany. This custom of elongating the Christmas celebrations is gaining popularity by the year. Christmas celebrations begin weeks before the actual day in the United States and the United Kingdom to lengthen the shopping season of Christmas and also to allow more time for meetings and greetings.
But apart from these religious and serious
overtones in the Christmas customs and traditions, there are also
secular and more relaxed observances of the Christmas holiday. For
instance, the tradition of giving Christmas gifts is one of the
commonest traditions of the holiday irrespective of region or country.
Friends and families exchange gifts and greetings, children hang
stockings in the United States or keep empty toy-boxes for Santa Claus
to fill it up with toys, candies or other gifts. In some places, it's a
custom and tradition for children to put up shoes on window sills on the
One of the very popular and inseparable customs
and traditions of Christmas is the Christmas card. Be it your closest
pal, or a distant relative, your teacher or your colleagues, your family
or your neighbor, each one gets a card on Christmas. Even when people
are separated by miles, a 'Miss You' Christmas card is sure to reach
more often than not.
Decorating homes and the Christmas tree are
again well-known Christmas customs and traditions. It's great joy
getting the whole family together decking up the halls and doorways with
streamers, candles, stars or holly boughs or being with the entire
bunch of friends as you decorate the Christmas evergreen. Candy canes
are a very favorite Christmas candy, which are also used as decorations.
Traditionally people also decorate the outside of the house as much as
the insides. Sometimes Christmas decorations are sponsored by the
Christmas parties form the fun part of the
holiday and are more a celebration than a custom and tradition of
Christmas. Special Christmas meals having a special Christmas menu are
customarily served in many countries. While in other places, especially
in Eastern Europe, families fast for a few days before the Christmas
In many countries, Christmas dances and Christmas pageants
(retelling of the story of Christ) are traditionally held every year.
Going caroling in groups is yet another very popular custom and
tradition of Christmas. In this, people go singing carols from door to
door just to keep the spirit of the holidays alive and fresh. Sometimes
people visit the neighborhood houses for a good cause too, like for
raising donations and funds for the downtrodden and destitute.
all the boisterous celebration of Christmas staying fine, Christmas is
still observed as a chiefly religious holiday for many people across the
globe. It is the time for soul-searching, spiritual renewal, silent
prayers, reading out quotes from the Bible, seeking religious blessings
and wishing joys and good tidings to everyone for the days to come. The
ceremonies are much toned down in a religious celebration of Christmas.
Carols and hymns are sung in the churches and in homes, funds are raised
for a good cause, volunteer works are conducted and people visit
friends, neighbors and dear ones' places for get-togethers and
traditional Christmas meals. The air's filled with a sweet peacefulness
and warmth. A sense of joy and well-being reverberates all around.
People wish each other peace, prosperity, happiness and a very 'Merry
The religious customs and traditions of Christmas
begin with Advent (the day when Jesus Christ's birth was anticipated).
This is around early December. Customs and traditions of this religious
celebration include Advent carols and calendars, sometimes also candies
and other goodies for the children. Midnight mass or a Mass of the
Nativity, featuring Christmas carols, prayers and hymns, are usually
held on the Christmas Eve and on the Christmas Day.
religious faiths like Islam or Judaism are also giving way to some
secular traditions of the Christmas holiday into their own winter
celebrations. Islamic countries refer to Jesus as a prophet and the
Judaists celebrate their winter festival and an equivalent of Christmas,
Hanukkah in December. Thus, Christmas customs and traditions are many,
and are modified or incorporated differently by different cultures and
ethnicities across the globe.
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