Global Christmas Traditions: A Festive Journey

General Knowledge  •  13 Dec, 2023  •  5,157 Views  •  ⭐ 3.0

Written by Shivani Chourasia

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Have you ever been curious about the origins of some of our most cherished Christmas Traditions, like why we decorate trees or where advent calendars came from? Read on as we delve into the fascinating histories of some well-known and some lesser-known festive customs.


Advent Calendars: A German Legacy

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In Germany, windows adorned to resemble an Advent calendar are a common sight. The tradition of Advent, from the Latin 'adventus' meaning 'arrival', starts four Sundays before Christmas. German Protestants in the 19th century would count down to Christmas by erasing chalk lines drawn on their doors, one for each day of December. This evolved into paper Advent calendars in the early 20th century, thanks to Gerhard Lang who mass-produced them, inspired by a homemade calendar from his mother. These calendars only began to include chocolate in the late 1950s. Today, enormous Advent calendars can be seen on buildings across European towns, particularly in Hattingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bernkastel-Kues in the Moselle Valley, Germany, and Innsbruck, Austria.

Europe's Tradition of Decorating Fir Trees

Image Credits: Britannica

European pagans originally brought fir trees indoors during the winter solstice, adorning them with candles and ornaments to symbolize celestial bodies on the Tree of Life. In Scandinavia, greenery was used to decorate homes and barns to fend off evil spirits, symbolizing eternal life and the anticipation of spring. The exact time when Christians began using fir trees to celebrate Christmas is unclear, but Tallinn, Estonia, and Riga, Latvia, both claim to have been the first to publicly display a Christmas tree.



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Colombia's Night of Little Candles: Lighting Up the Festive Season

Image Credits: Cartagena Explorer

In Colombia, the Christmas Events season starts with the Noche de las Velitas (Night of Little Candles) on December 7th, honouring Mary and the Immaculate Conception. Streets and homes are illuminated with candles and lanterns, marking the beginning of the holidays. This tradition, once a modest family event, now involves public celebrations with music, fireworks, and Festive Activities. A similar tradition can be observed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the Christmas Eve Farolito Walk.

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