If we are used to Christmas movies from the United States flooding the screens around the world, it would be wrong to deduce that this holiday is celebrated everywhere in the same way.
One can certainly see common traits and a form of universalization, but traditions persist and peculiarities persist. A short tour of the Christmas world in 7 testimonials!
1 - Christmas in Argentina
" In Argentina, even under 40 degrees, most people buy a Christmas tree, fake snow and eat winter food! ", Clemence fun, a French who lives for 5 years in Buenos Aires, the capital.
She explains that, unlike France, Christmas is a holiday, in the literal sense of the word. “After the meal, people go out a lot, they go dancing, organize parties at home with their friends ".
“The dinner starts late, people go to mass at 8 pm and go home at 9:30 pm, details Hugo, Argentine. We open gifts at midnight. Then we party until 3 am. We have a drink in the street with people from the neighborhood, as for the New Year. There are a lot of firecrackers and fireworks. "
In Argentina, Santa Claus is present, but in the majority of families, “these are the Three Wise Men superstar’s gifts, “as Clemence discovered.
2 - Christmas in Australia
“When I studied in Australia I had the chance to spend several Christmas and New Year holidays in this new country for me, “says Estelle, a French woman who spent three years in Brisbane and Sydney as part of her studies.
“The highlight is, I must admit, to spend Christmas in summer! December 25, 30 degrees in the shade, feet in fans at the beach! "She amuses herself, she who comes from a small town often covered with snowpack at the end of the year.
No Eve on the 24th in the land of kangaroos, everyone goes to bed early. And on the 25th, you will not find the Australians sitting for hours around the Christmas meal as we can do in France: they instead organize outdoor barbecues. On the menu: grilled meat, cold salad, and mashed potatoes.
Then, everyone goes out, swims, and drinks a beer between friends. “It’s very disconcerting, an experience we do not forget! The long meal, the foie gras, and the Norman hole will still have missed me ... "recalls Estelle, a native of the region of the apple.
In some neighborhoods, the student remembers that the streets and the shops were very decorated, perhaps even more than in France. Christmas music also resonates everywhere.
Do not wait to see real trees in the houses: “I know that many Australians have never seen a real tree. I guess it's too expensive to import. Most are plastic. "
The 26th, called Boxing Day, is a day that seems so important for Australians. The stores, like the American Black Friday, offer rebates unbeatable. “It’s also one of the reasons that push one of my Australian friends living in the US to celebrate Christmas in the sun.”
And when asked an anecdote, Estelle tells us: “One year, I saw a poor unfortunate fall in the apples because of his disguise as Santa Claus under the overwhelming heat! So most of the time, we see Christmas dads in swim shorts and flip-flops. "
3 - Christmas in Guatemala
“A little before Christmas, December 7, in Guatemala, we celebrate the Quema del diablo, “said Ana, originally from the capital of this Central American country. On this occasion, the Guatemalans gather all their old papers to put them in the fire. “The idea is to burn the devil before the birth of Jesus, " she adds.
Christmas is a very convivial event, a moment of sharing with family and neighbors.
“The traditional dish is the tamales or patches, and we drink ponch ", she tells us.
For those who do not know, tamales are corn buns filled with meat, fish, chilies or even cream and strawberries!
4 - Christmas in Senegal
In the town of Linguère, where Ibra grew up, the atmosphere of the Christmas holidays is very different from that of France. “We do not put a Christmas tree in my city, maybe some families in Dakar but not in Linguère. There are no Christmas decorations in homes or in the streets, "he says.
The young people organize dances on December 24th and 25th. They meet in advance to collect dues to put everything in place, from music to meals. You can see the best Christmas gifts for 2019 from my deal.
“Christian families are inviting Muslim families to come to their homes to share these holidays together, " Ibra adds.
And what do we eat on this occasion? “There is no traditional meal, families prepare to eat according to their means, " he says. Couscous with chicken, potatoes, vermicelli, and many other dishes still find themselves on the tables.
Marion, a French woman who lived in Dakar, adds: “There are a lot of French brands, so we can find chocolates, garlands and so on. And a false tree is installed at the entrance to the large Sea Plazza shopping center. "
5 - Christmas in Egypt
In Egypt, where the Copts are the majority among Christians, Christmas is celebrated from January 6 to 7, according to the Coptic calendar.
“This celebration is preceded by a 43-day fast, during which we do not eat meat or dairy products. This corresponds to the 40 days of fasting of Moses before he receives the word of God and the 3 days of fast established by Pope Abraham Ibn Zaraa the Syrian, "says Father Moussa Anba Bishoy.
On January 6th, during the day, families visit the poorest families to offer them meat, clothing or money. In the evening, they go to church for a mass that ends after midnight.
Just like in France, children receive gifts, which they find under the Christmas tree on January 7th.
Marion, who has also lived in Egypt, was surprised by the decorations and the false trees: “It’s funny, you're in a country where it will never snow, but all the aesthetics comes and it's obvious.”
She also observed that the Anglo-Saxon influence is still present, through Halloween and Christmas. “The members of the big bourgeoisie celebrate Christmas, whatever their religion because they often have family living in the United States or Britain, " she says.
6 - Christmas in China
In China, Christmas is especially celebrated by the youngest. “Often, it's considered another Valentine's Day, so people can take the opportunity to declare their love to someone. Shops make sales and boys buy gifts for their girlfriend, "recounts summer, Chinese.
She especially sees Christmas as a “capitalist holiday ", although she notes that the inhabitants of the big cities decorate their house for the occasion.
7 - Christmas in Poland
Maya, part of whose family is Polish, gathered her memories to tell us about Christmas in Poland. “From memory, they have three holidays on 24/25/26. I have a doubt about the 24 ". A look at the Wikipedia page explains this doubt “December 24 (Wigilia) is not an official holiday, but the administrative, economic and commercial activity stops mid-day”
“In any case, the most important day is New Year's Eve, “says Maya. The Christmas party begins when the first star appears in the sky. “We then share the opłatek which is close enough to the host and is blessed in churches, it seems to me. Every year it is my grandmother's neighbor who sends it to us by post. "
And sharing is a ritual in itself: “At home, my father holds the opłatek, I break-a piece and I tell him Merry Christmas. My mother breaks a piece and tells her merry Christmas. Then I break a piece with my mother and she breaks a piece at my house. At one time we included my Scotch cat in the loop. “Then there is dinner with the famous 12 courses. On the menu, the dish “MOST IMPORTANT " is the carp explains Maya in capital letters, before telling a tradition that ended in his family, to fight against animal suffering: " She bought herself alive and then she can be preserved (traditionally) in the bathtub time to finish it in the kitchen. "
And Maya concludes: " There is a tradition that I adore is that there is always a place to commemorate the absent and welcome the living. Basically, if you're at home on December 24, well, you take the cover and eat with me. Otherwise, ben is the cover of the invisible man and he represents the people who died or could not come but who are in our hearts. "