During this season of Advent, it’s easy to assume that Christmas is celebrated the same everywhere! Here is how Christmas is celebrated around the world:
- Albania: As a predominately Muslim country, Christmas isn’t quite as popular as it is in the US. In fact, due to the lingering effects of communist rule, during which Christmas was banned, New Year’s has taken the place of Christmas! Instead of Santa coming down a chimney Christmas Eve, “Santa” delivers presents on New Years as “the Old Man of New Year.” One Christmas Eve tradition is having a meal consisting of fish, vegetables, beans, and dessert—including baklava!
- India: Even though the Christian population is small, Christmas is happily celebrated in India! Midnight mass is especially important to the Catholic population. Instead of pine trees, some people decorate banana or mango trees!
- Pakistan: In addition to celebrating Christ’s birth, December 25th is a day that the Pakistani people remember Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. During Christmas, a huge processional takes place in Lahore, which starts at St. Anthony’s Church and goes to the Cathedral! It takes hours to get to the Cathedral for services. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have churches packed for midnight mass and Christmas Day services.
- Nigeria: Christmas is celebrated with a party in Nigeria! Families are visited, trees are decorated, and fireworks are displayed.
- Zimbabwe: Christmas is celebrated all day long. Children believe Santa comes early in the morning to deliver presents that they can show off at church! People put on their best clothes and music is played loud and clear. For most people, Christmas Day begins with a church service.
Sources: https://publicholidays.eu/albania/christmas/; whychristmas.com