With decorations filling the city of Gothenburg and joyful music playing constantly, the Christmas season is fast approaching! And with the season, comes the many traditions of Christmas. At a recent international dinner, I asked friends how they all celebrated Christmas with their families in their home country. Prepare to be sleighed…
In Sweden, the Christmas festivities kick-off on December 13 with the Feast of St Lucia. Concerts are held all over the country with choirs singing Christmas songs in white gowns. The main female singer will wear a Candle Wreath Crown whilst the audience sings along and enjoys gingerbread and mulled wine.
On Christmas Eve, it is customary for Swedes to watch Donald Duck and Disney clips which are aired all day on television. This day is to be spent with family enjoying good company, good entertainment and good food.
Also, in Gothenburg, the Liseberg Amusement Park is decorated as a literal, Winter Wonderland. Liseberg has amusement rides, Christmas food stalls, craft stalls, ice-skating performances and even a Medieval area that allows you to travel back in time, and buy Christmas gifts for everyone. It is probably one of the most magical experiences I’ve had for Christmas – but what do I know, see for yourself from my photos below!
On Christmas Eve, families in Norway will sit down and also watch Donald Duck clips, as well as a movie from the Czech Republic which translates to ‘Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella.’ One of the reasons this is such a famous movie for the Norwegians is the man who does the voice-over for the movie does so for all the characters – yes, the same man does a higher voice for women, lower voice for men and so on.
In the Czech Republic, Christmas Eve is a time spent with the whole family. After a great Christmas feast, a bell will ring to signal that Baby Jesus – with the help of the Angels – has delivered the Christmas gifts for all the children.
Spain is doing it right with children enjoying two sets of Christmas presents – typically, the 24th and 25th December is spent at your parent’s house where Santa delivers your Christmas gifts. Then, on January 5 and 6, all the family journeys to the grandparents house where the Three Wise Men bring more gifts and good wishes for the Children.
Whilst Christmas beliefs and traditions vary so much, one thing seems to be the same – Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends. Being around people you love at Christmas (with the added bonus of food, drinks and presents) is the meaning of the Christmas season, no matter where in the world you are.