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Christmas Celebrations around the World

While the year-end holiday season for 2020 may be observed differently this year, it does not mean that treasured traditions cannot be kept.

It has been estimated that about 30 percent of the world’s population are Christians or, at least, observe the Christian traditions. However, this does not stop the rest of the world or those from other religions from celebrating Christmas as many do view it as a generic year-end festivity

So, what are some of the unconventional, or rather, non-Northern Hemisphere traditional ways of Christmas celebrations?

Merry KFC Christmas for the Japanese!

Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan. This, however, does not stop Japanese from coming up with their own unique Christmas tradition!

As the tale goes, Takeshi Okawara, a manager of a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet in Japan, overheard some visitors complaining about Japan’s lack of suitable food for Christmas dinner.

The same night, it seemed as if St. Nick paid Okawara a pre-Christmas visit. Okawara said he dreamed of a KFC “party barrel” in his sleep. His Christmas vision of replacing the traditional turkey with chicken turned into a business that resulted in nearly 3.6 million Japanese having KFCs for Christmas annually.

So, KFC set a new Christmas tradition in Japan. The Christmas party barrel evolved to become a national tradition so much so that KFC suggest ordering months in advance of Christmas!

The devil will see you in Austria!

In Austria, there is legend that a half-man half goat creature, Krampus, will join humans for their Christmas celebrations every year on December 6. On that day, children are asked to list their good and bad deeds for the year.

Come Christmas morning, “good” children will be rewarded with candy, apples, and nuts while the naughty ones will wait in trepidation what Krampus would bring.

Beachy Christmas in Australia!

In Australia, Christmas holiday is celebrated at beginning of summer holidays! As it is in the midst of a hot season, the majority of Aussies head to the beach or the great outdoors for Christmas. In true Australian style, many a Christmases are spent in front of a “barbie” although great care has to be taken to avoid a bush fire!

And, don’t forget the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht race on Boxing Day! This year it will proceed with new coronavirus measures.

Le Marché de Noël in France

In France, the Christmas shopping experience is one to remember. The Les Marché de Noël will see major cities and smaller towns, particularly those that are steep in history, brightly-lit with Christmas revellers and travellers. There would be a wide offering of art and craft items, local specialties and special gastronomic delights – something to fill every stomach and heart.

Humid Christmas in Malaysia

Closer to home, how do Malaysians celebrate Christmas?

While it may not be a white Christmas, the year-end festival is still one of the most widely celebrated across the country.

In true Malaysian style food leads the way with hotels and restaurants offering various Christmas Special Menus. Then, there are those who make full use of the holidays to indulge in a bit of inter-state travels in search of, yes, food!

Be assured that many of the traditional Christmas menus would had been given a tinge of local flavours – a dollop of durian, a dash of curry or even a sprinkling of Sarawak pepper!

Wherever you may be celebrating your Christmas this year, remember, we are living in different times -- make sure you wear a mask and follow the SOPs! Have a safe Christmas! 🎄

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