We’re all familiar with the traditional celebrations we hold in the US as the winter months set in. However, we are not alone in brightening the colder season with feasts, exchanges of gifts and other festive activities. Cultures throughout the year hold holiday celebrations that keep up cheer until the warmer weather returns. A few from around the globe:

Christmas in Japan

Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan, but it is celebrated there in a manner we’d associate more closely with Valentine’s Day. Couples exchange romantic gifts like flowers and candy. The holiday meal is one we’d find unusual as well: fried chicken! This part of the tradition goes back to the 1970s, when Kentucky Fried Chicken launched a big push to make their buckets a festive holiday meal.

St. Lucia Day

In Sweden, St. Lucia is held in special regard. On December 13 each year, girls dress up in white dresses, then wake their families with songs. They serve them sweet cakes known as “Lucia cats.”

A Different Christmas Dinner in Australia

While Christmas comes during the cold season in the northern hemisphere, it is in the middle of summer down in Australia. Because of this, Australians have strayed from the traditional Christmas turkey or goose in favor of seasonal seafood. Dinners of prawns and other shellfish are common Christmas meals.

12 Course Feasts in Poland

Christmas Eve is the most important family meal of the year in Poland. Be sure to bring your appetite: the traditional meal consists of 13 courses. The number 12 reflects both the number of Apostles and the number of months in the year. Common courses include borscht, herring, sausages, sauerkraut with beans and a range of sweet breads and cakes.

Solstice Celebrations in China

China is one of many countries where the biggest winter celebration is held at the Solstice on December 21. This is the day of the year when the night is longest and the days from there forward get longer. A range of dumplings, sweet sticky rice balls and other foods are prepared for feasts with friends and family.

No matter where you are, you can find people observing fellowship and sharing celebrations together to make the holidays bright. No matter where you are or where you are from, we wish you a warm and happy holiday season!

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