Special International Christmas Traditions

Special International Christmas Traditions

While it’s certain that countries around the world have unique and cherished traditions in their homes during the Christmas season, it’s curious to wonder if any of them actually take place in our own backyard. 

Los Angeles is a proverbial Melting Pot, and where you live may be as well. Even though some of the following rituals, foods, and celebrations appear to only be happening way over there, maybe in fact some of our own neighbors are enjoying this kind of time together with the people they love. Wouldn’t it be fun to imagine that?

We think it would. Here are a few stories we found and really liked, about international Christmas traditions.

A special Portuguese King Cake Bolo Rei is a very popular Christmas tradition in Portuguese homes. This candied fruit-studded dessert is enjoyed from Christmas (Dec 25) through Kings’ Day (Jan 6) to celebrate the Three Wise Men visiting the Christ Child. We trust that those in Portugal, Angola, and Brazil have fun with this.

In Kenya for many families, Christmas is the only time of year when everyone can travel to be together. Decorations include colorful balloons, ribbons, paper, flowers, and green leaves. Santa is said to arrive by LandRover, Camel, or even a bike! Midnight Mass is very popular, after which families go caroling or go home and start their Christmas parties, which means no one gets much sleep.

Greenland has some nice stuff going on ;).  It is traditional that on Christmas night the men look after the women, serving their food and coffee and “stirring the meal” for them. Like in Finland and other Nordic countries, it is common to light candles in cemeteries on Christmas Eve to remember loved ones. Greenland also claims to be the place where Santa Claus really lives or, at least where he spends his summer holidays!

Christmas Day is not a national holiday in Japan, but it has been widely celebrated for about the last 40-50 years. It is regarded as more of a day to celebrate joy and happiness, more than gift-giving in fact, some of the most popular Christmas music is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and its final Ode to Joy.  Fried chicken is the traditional dish 😉 which makes KFC’s day and season very, very busy. A popular way to celebrate is to visit Tokyo Disneyland and enjoy the lights, parades, and festivities.

So there you are –  a little preview of what our international neighbors and friends will be doing to celebrate the spirit of the season.

We wish you and yours a glorious and peaceful one.


Until next time, I remain ~
Your Chef and Tour Maestra

Diana Scalia