When we think of Christmas here in America, we all think of what we do to celebrate. What do people in other countries do when the holiday season comes around? With lots of research I learned plenty of fascinating things, which I’ll now be passing onto you.
Along with Norway, Denmark, and Finland, Sweden celebrates St. Lucia’s Day. St. Lucia’s Day is a day in which a young girl who helped persecuted Christians in Rome is celebrated. She would put a candle on her head to free her hands, making it easier to carry food to these people. Nowadays, the eldest daughter in each family dresses in white, she serves her family Lussekatts, which are s-shaped buns flavored with saffron and decorated with raisins. As a drink, she offers coffee and mulled wine. Not only do Swedish people celebrate St. Lucia’s Day, but they cherish the Gӓvle Goat. The original Gӓvle Goat dates back to ancient Pagan festivals. Today, individuals make a giant straw goat, at a height of 42ft! Gӓvle Goat has gone through attempted kidnappings, crashes and has been burned. You can find Gӓvle Goat on Instagram @gavelbocken.
Moving on to the Philippines, the city of San Fernando holds a Ligligan Parul, which is a giant lantern festival. The Parul consists of thousands of spinning lights made of bamboo, paper and are shaped as stars. These lanterns symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. Masses start December 16 and end on Christmas Eve. Celebrations on the other hand last until Three Kings is celebrated. On Christmas evening, people go to church and come back for dinner. This dinner consists of roasted pig (lechon), fruit salad, ham, rice cakes, steamed rice and bibingkas.
In Jamaica, a lot happens during the holiday season. Jonkanoo is a street parade where people dress in scary costumes. Some of these scary characters include: Pitchy Patchy, The Horse Head, Belly Woman and the Devil. After Christmas the Grand Market comes around. It is a large part of the Jamaican tradition. At 6 p.m. the evening part of the Grand Market starts. Vendors sell jerk chicken, candy canes, sugarcane, toys, sweets, clothes, etc. Also, Jamaicans clean their houses from top to bottom. They replace curtains and repaint their whole house! Come dinner, they feast on turkey, curry goat, stewed oxtail, red wine and rum fruitcakes, and pigeon pea rice, which is a very important dish.
Last but not least, Mexico. Las Posadas is very important to the Hispanic community. Members of the church present shepherd plays; these plays retell stories of the true meaning of Christmas. Houses are decorated with evergreens, moss, poinsettia flowers and paper lanterns. At some point, kids go around singing to neighbors and friends, they sing about Joseph and Mary looking for a room to stay in. They ask around until someone accepts their plea and welcomes them in. For dinner, pozole, tamales, bacalao, romeritos and salads are served.
Happy holidays everybody, stay safe out there; thank you for reading!