How people celebrate the holidays varies around the world and is frequently influenced by local customs and traditions. So, in the spirit of travel and the upcoming holidays, here are a few traditions from across the globe.
In Italy, when Christmas gifts are exchanged depends on which part of the country you are in. While some swap gifts after lunch on Christmas Day, others in northern Italy believe blind Saint Lucia delivers gifts December 13 and they will open them then. In other areas of the country, like Rome and Venice, gifts might not be opened until January 6. This is because la befana, an old, friendly witch, is said to deliver presents to children on Epiphany Eve (January 5).
It’s routine to “jump into the new year,” quite literally. In Denmark, people may ring in the new year by jumping off chairs together at midnight and smashing dishes on their friends’ and families’ doors. (Please be careful if you try a little “leap year” of your own!)
While many in Japan do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, a meal with Colonel Sanders is a December 25 tradition for an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families, according to the BBC. It all started after a clever marketing plan in the 1970s to sell KFC for Christmas, offering a party barrel that’s evolved to include more than just fried chicken, but also cake, wine and more.
As the clock hits 12, the Spanish tradition is to eat a grape for each strike of the clock. In cities like Madrid, people celebrate in squares and eat the grapes together.
No matter how you celebrate, we wish you a very happy holiday season filled with merry moments, joyful laughter and warm celebrations among family and friends.
*The photo featured at the top of this article features Christmas in Milan, Italy. Photo by Flavio Vallenari / Getty Images.
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