12 WAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Merry Christmas adventurers!
Christmas is celebrated by Christians all over the world every year to celebrate the birth of their saviour Jesus Christ, who is seen as the son of God. Jesus was born on 25th December and it's on this day that many different cultures celebrate with a huge variety of differing traditions.
To celebrate this festive season we're counting down with the 12 Ways of Christmas from around the world. Everyday we'll open another door revealing another Christmas tradition.
Make sure you check back here every day or on Instagram!
Also click the days to learn more about each tradition.
Don't forget to learn more about each tradition with the corresponding info below.
1 - Iceland
Icelandic children don't have one Father Christmas but have 13 Yule Lads ('Yule' meaning Christmas in Icelandic). In the 13 days leading up to Christmas Day each child leaves a shoe and a snack on their bedroom windowsill for that particular days visiting Yule lad.
If the child is good on the previous day then they get a wonderful surprise of sweets or chocolate. However if they haven't been good then they receive a rotten potato...ew!
2 - Vatican City
On Christmas Eve the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope delivers a service in St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. This service is called Mass and is traditionally given at midnight as the day crosses into Christmas Day.
The service celebrates the life of Jesus and includes a Holy Communion where bread and wine are eaten and drunk to represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
3 - Spain
Welcome to the weird and wonderful tradition of Tio De Nadal. In the days leading up to Christmas children in Catalonia, Spain fill a hollow log up with nuts, raisins and seeds. They then paint a happy face on the end of the log and wrap it up with a blanket to keep it nice and warm.
Once Christmas Eve arrives the children then beat the poor log with sticks until the blanket is removed and magically there appears sweets and chocolate from underneath.
4 - Gambia
This traditional Christmas Eve parade was originally created in order for women to show off their wealth and standing in society. Representations of their houses were made from paper and bamboo and then lit from the inside with candles. These were then paraded through the town as they walked to church for Midnight Mass.
This was made popular in fishing villages where the houses were swapped from boats and it is now a common tradition in small coastal towns and villages.
5 - Japan
With only 1-2% of Japan's population being Christian they may seem like an odd one to bring up in the Christmas Countdown. However Christmas is a big deal in Japan's cities as the festive season is a great way for shops to make money.
This means they need someone to hand out the presents and it's not Father Christmas...it's Hoteiosho, a plump Buddhist Monk with a sackful of presents. He is a jovial character with eyes in the back of his head to look out for any naughty children!
6 - Poland
We've all heard of eating Turkey and Goose on Christmas Day but families in Poland sit down to eat fish....more specifically Carp! There is no set way to cook it but there is an interesting way to keep it fresh before the big day...
...Traditionally the Carp is bought from a fish market a few days before Christmas Day...alive. It's then kept in the families bath tub to keep it fresh. This is supposed to make the fish taste nicer as it's usually found at the bottom of muddy rivers.
7 - Antarctica
Despite no permanent human population, the 1000 or so Antarctic scientists still celebrate the festive season. Scientists at the American Amundsen-Scott research station have started their own unique tradition called 'The Race Around the World'.
Every year after gifts are exchanged and before Christmas dinner the scientists get together and race in a loop around the South Pole. The 2 mile route means they pass through every single different timezone hence 'The Race Around the World'. Very cold by very cool!
8 - Australia
In the Northern Hemisphere Christmas Day is celebrated in cold and snowy weather with snowmen and warming drinks. However in the Southern Hemisphere Christmas comes in the height of summer with boiling hot temperatures.
In Australia Christmas Day is spent on the beach, swapping the Turkey roast for a BBQ and a dip in the Ocean. As many Australians are descendants of Britains and Europeans some actually have a fake Christmas in July when it's their Winter!
9 - Liberia
As well as Santa Claus another colourful character shows his face around Christmas time in Liberia, West Africa. Old Man Bayka (or Beggar) is seen around the festive season begging for presents from those that he visits.
Dances and small processions are carried out on his travels with Santa Claus. Often he tries to get grumpy people to donate gifts and in turn make others happy. If 2 Santa Clauses or Old Man Bayka's meet then they have a 'dance off' to see who is best!
10 - Brazil
We all know that Brazilians are famous for their carnivals and Christmas is no exception. Folia de Reis or Kings Day is celebrated in the 12 holy days between 24th December and 6th January.
It's carnivals, processions and feasting celebrates the 3 Kings that visited the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day and then their journey back to spread the word of the saviour.
11 - United Kingdom
If you're a child living in the United Kingdom then it is more than likely that you'll take part in a Nativity play at school or at your local church. Nativity tells the story of Jesus' parents Mary and Joseph as they journey through Bethlehem where Jesus is born.
The plays are usually carried out in the week before Christmas, with every child getting their own role from Mary and joseph through to the 3 Kings or Angels. Often hymns and religious songs are sung throughout and everything is performed to proud parents and congregations.
12 - Denmark
Christmas Day is a lot calmer compared to Christmas Eve in Denmark when the true traditions and celebrations take place. The day is full of fun with the decoration of the tree followed by a big meal in the afternoon.
After the meal it's tradition to watch the tree being lit with lights before songs are sung and hand in hand families dance and sing around the Christmas Tree. It's the time to hand out and unwrap all the gifts under the tree.