St. Peter's Basilica at Christmastime
A Nativity scene at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Yule Love These 11 Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Christmas in Italy

Like many countries, Christmas in Italy is celebrated over several weeks from early December until the day of Epiphany (January 6th). Christmas trees are put up in homes and a massive one is erected in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Festive markets sell various sweets, gifts and other foods.

Many Italians will attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve; the service led by the Pope at the Vatican is a ticketed event that is sure to sell out. Many children write letters to St. Nicholas early in the season and if they have been good they will be rewarded with fruits, sweets or nuts.

Christmas lights in the Plaza Mayor of the city of MadridChristmas lights and kiosks in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Christmas in Spain

As Spain is a mostly Catholic country, most people will go to Midnight Mass, or “La Misa Del Gallo,” on Christmas Eve. Most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before the service. Historically, the Christmas dinner was turkey stuffed with truffles or a roasted young hen. However, now traditions vary widely depending on the family and region.

December 28th is the Day of the Innocent Saints, which is comparable to April Fool’s Day in the US and the UK. Children open some presents on Christmas, but most are saved to be opened at Epiphany, which is a day to celebrate when the Kings or Wise Men brought gifts to the baby Jesus.

Children believe that the Kings bring presents to them at Epiphany, so they write letters to the Kings asking for toys or presents. In the nights before Christmas Eve, children may go and sing carols around their neighbors hoping to get some money.

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Christmas lights on a house in AustraliaIt's common for people to drive around neighborhoods to view the different Christmas light displays.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Christmas in Australia

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia celebrates Christmas near the beginning of the summer holidays. The weather is quite hot and some people may even be camping during the holiday. Australians adorn their front doors with wreaths and decorate Christmas trees.

Houses are also decorated with lights; taking a drive around to look at the light displays is a popular activity during this season. Some go out caroling on Christmas Eve.

Many fun, festive activities are scheduled around Christmas. For instance, each state capital city hosts a Carols by Candlelight service as well as many festivals, Christmas pageants and parades. When Santa gets to Australia, he parks his reindeer and uses kangaroos to get around and also trades his thick, fuzzy coat for less hot clothing.

Most families try to be home together for Christmas and the main meal is normally eaten at lunch time. Boxing Day is another popular holiday that’s held near Christmas and most people go to visit friends and often have barbecues at the beach. Some may go watch the famous yacht race held each year from Sydney to Hobart in Tasmania.

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