Interesting Holiday Traditions Around the World
As 2023 draws to a close, we are wishing you the brightest of holiday seasons and the happiest New Year. For a bit of fun, we have compiled some interesting holiday traditions around the world for you to learn about:
While Christmas in the United States is illustrated by ugly sweaters and elves on shelves, Sweden created its own holiday symbol of the Yule goat. The Yule goat is said to be adopted from the ancient Pagan festivals and some even say the goat was used to worship the Norse god Thor. The modern day tradition dates back to 1966 when the first giant straw goat was built in a town center for all to see. The most famous Yule goat is the Gävle Goat, being over 40 feet tall, bringing visitors to see the construction and celebrate the lighting of this Christmas tradition
Bahamians begin partying for the New Year on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) with a colorful parade of dance and music. Junkanoo celebrates Bahamian culture through a carnival of exuberant dancing along the streets. While the origin story is debated and truly unknown, it does not heed the locals’ excitement for this tradition. Dance and music routines are practiced over the year as the carnival is celebrated more than once–it also takes place on New Year’s morning, Independence Day, other holidays, and even has its own summer festival.
In a typical year, Christmas ornaments take on a different form in Ukraine–spider webs are a popular decoration during the holiday season. The fictional legend explains how sparkling tinsel became a common Christmas tree accessory. The story tells the tale of a poor family unable to afford ornaments when a friendly spider takes the tree as its home and in the morning the children wake up to silver and gold spun spider webs glistening over the branches. Keeping this tradition alive, Ukrainians often include metallic spider webs in their ornament collection. We’re hoping that all Ukrainians are able to display these webs again very soon.
China & Japan
Bodhi Day is a Buddhist holiday on December 8th when enlightenment is honored. The holiday is celebrated among the Buddhist population in China and Japan, Buddhist followers in several other Asian countries also enjoy the holiday. On this day it is said Siddhartha Guatama achieved enlightenment after leaving the luxuries of normal life behind. Unlike our holidays, Bodhi Day is commemorated with meditation and relaxation with some Buddhists decorating a Bodhi Tree.
The Christmas season in Guatemala has a fiery beginning. La Quema del Diablo or “The Burning of the Devil” takes place on December 6th outside of homes and throughout the streets. Guatemalans use bonfires to burn symbols of satan and devil-shaped piñatas to expunge evil. Christmas is saved from evil and celebrated with fruit punch and donuts!
Happy Holidays from Bell & Bly Travel and thank you for your support. Being able to inspire travel and help you make the most of your precious time with family and friends means the world to us. Reach out here to get started planning your next trip.
Cheers to a bright 2024!