Holiday Traditions Around the World

By Lindsey Johnson

While each family has their own special holiday traditions (check out some in the #momhacks section!), many customs are cultural and specific to the region. When planning your next holiday celebration, consider adding some new cultural flair!


The South American city of Caracas, Venezuela celebrates Christmas by going to church on Christmas Eve – on roller skates! According to, Caracas closes down roads to vehicular traffic so people can skate safely to their early morning services before returning home to a Christmas meal of tamales.


Mexico (and many other Latin American countries) celebrate Christmas over the course of nine nights, from December 16 – 24 with a tradition called “Las Posadas” (the inn). According to Journey Mexico, each night during this celebration, the crowd goes to different homes looking for lodging, as a reenactment of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay. They are turned away from many homes and finally let in at the home hosting that night’s party.


This Caribbean country celebrates Christmas in a big way! According to, each town has its own Grand Market starting on Christmas Eve and running throughout the night. The Grand Market is a combination of a festival and a market and is a huge community event. During the day, families buy toys, Christmas foods and often new clothes. Evening festivities start around 6:00 p.m. and everyone dresses up in their new or nicest clothes to attend the market. The market goes all night and while some people party all night, some attend a Midnight Mass. The food, vendors and guests make this a celebration not to miss!


A tradition dating back to 1938, Carols by Candlelight is a famous Australian Christmas tradition. Christmas falls during the Australian summer so the lyrics to some traditional songs have been changed to remove references to snow and winter. According to Australian Geographic, the event takes place in cities all around the country. The larger cities host events that draw in famous Australian singers such as Kylie Minogue, The Wiggles, John Farnham and more. Events are broadcast on radio and television.


Greece has a very old tradition intended to keep kallikantzaroi, or bad spirits, away at the holidays. According to, it is believed that bad spirits appear only during a 12-day window (Christmas to Epiphany on January 6th) and this method will keep families safe. They place water in a shallow wooden bowl with a piece of wire across the top and have basil wrapped around a wooden cross suspended over the water. Once a day, someone will dip the basil in water to keep it fresh. Most typically, this is done by the mother of the family. The kallikantzaroi are rumored to enter people’s houses through the chimney and do such things as putting out fires. Greek citizens also keep fires burning throughout the twelve days to keep the spirits away and even burn old shoes for extra protection!


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