Winter around the World

Every year people from all over the world celebrate winter holidays. They have different traditions, but what binds them together is the customs they observe during the winter solstice. Here are some examples how people from various countries celebrate their winter holidays.

Australia is a country with a huge territory, but its population is less than 20 million people. The population of Australia comes from different backgrounds and ethnic groups. Even though it’s pretty warm in December, people decorate Christmas trees and their houses. Also Australians don’t usually leave their homeland on Christmas.

98% of population of China does not take Christmas seriously as a religious holiday, but they celebrate it as a commercial event. The main winter celebration in China is New Year, a well-known Spring Festival that is observed in the end of January. The main ideabehind this activity is to honor ancestors.

Christmas Eve is a big day for Danes. Housewives traditionally bake rice pudding with one almond inside. The person who gets that almond will be the luckiest one in the upcoming year.

According to the Italian legend there was a kind witch named La Befana. Once she met three Magi who asked her for shelter but she refused. After a while she realized that she made a mistake and went around the world looking for them to apologize. Since than she has been searching for the Magi and bringing presents to children all over the world.

The big winter celebration in Scotland is called Hogmanay. It’s celebrated on December 31, but the celebration covers a few days of January as well. “First-footing” is the main tradition of this holiday: the first person who crosses the threshold of a home on Hogmanay day, brings luck to the owner, but it must be a dark-haired male.

Russians celebrate New Year on December 31 with a Christmas tree, rich holiday dinner, and  gift-giving. Russian Santa Claus is called Ded Moroz, a character from an ancient pagan culture. Christmas is a religious holiday which is celebrated on January 7 according to the old Julian calendar.

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