Published 23rd December 2019
One of the greatest perks of being a TEFL teacher is the fact that we can work wherever in the world we want to. We can teach in Chile or China or anywhere in-between. In this way we are able to experience different cultures, traditions and festivals to what we are used to at home. Considering it’s the season, we thought you’d like to know what your Christmas would be like if you spent it somewhere a little different next year. Here are some different Christmas traditions around the world.
Christmas in Philippines
Every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve, the Filipino city of San Fernando holds the Giant Lantern Festival. For the last 111 years villages have competed with each other to create the most elaborate giant lanterns. Though they were originally half a metre in diameter, made from paper and lit by a candle, these days the lanterns are around six metres in size and lit by electric bulbs. Surely the best city Christmas light display by far!
Christmas in Japan
If you’re not the traditional type, then maybe you should head to Japan next December. Kentucky Fried Chicken has become a new Christmas dinner tradition in Japan, complete with Christmas-themed KFC bucket. After their dinner of the Colonel’s best, the children find presents on their pillows before they go to sleep.
Christmas in Germany
Germany celebrates Christmas a little earlier than the rest of us. Saint Nicholas’s Day is on December 6. While he’s not Father Christmas, Saint Nick travels around by donkey in the middle of the night and leaves treats in the shoes – which have been cleaned the day before and put outside their doors – of all the good little children.
Christmas in Sweden
It might not be the most festive of animals but every year since 1966, a 13-metre-tall goat (yes, goat) has been built in the centre of the Swedish city of Gavle for the festive season. If you want to see it you need to get there quickly, though – people are known to try and burn it down, and have succeeded twice.
Christmas in South Africa
Many people find it strange that the southern hemisphere celebrates Christmas in summer but the South Africans know how to take advantage of the good weather. Christmas Day is usually celebrated by the poolside and families often gather at outdoor venues to sing carols by candlelight.
Christmas in Egypt
Christians in Egypt celebrate Christmas on January 6. 43 Days before Christmas Eve they follow a strict vegan diet, though they are allowed to eat fish. On January 6, families attend Christmas Mass and after midnight they celebrate with a huge (meaty) feast.
Christmas in Ukraine
Christmas in Ukraine is all about charity. Legend has it that a poor widow didn’t have enough money to decorate her tree but when her children woke up on Christmas Day the tree was covered in spider webs, glistening beautifully in the morning light. Because of this, traditionally spider web-shaped decorations are hung on the Christmas tree.
Christmas in Finland
In Finland you’ll enjoy a nice sauna on Christmas Eve. This is to cleanse the body and mind before celebrating Christmas Day.
When you are celebrating Christmas this year with your friends or family, take a minute to consider celebrating it a bit differently next year. If you have a TEFL certificate, who knows where you could be next year!