December global holiday

December Global Holidays Around the World

In just over two weeks, the December global holidays season will officially begin. Around the world, people are decorating trees, baking cookies, and hanging wreaths on their front doors as they prepare to celebrate Christmas with their families and friends.

There are many different ways that people around the world celebrate this time of year, with many festive traditions taking place all over the globe at this time of year. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common December holidays from around the world, so you can plan your celebrations!

Christmas in Japan

December global holidays are celebrated as a secular holiday in Japan with festivals, tree-decorating, gift-giving, and adornment of temples and shrines with lights. The main symbol of Christmas in Japan is Santa Claus (サンタさん) who has been introduced into Japanese culture by American servicemen during WWII and by TV anime series beginning in 1963.

In many parts of Japan such as Tokyo, families celebrate Christmas on December 25th at department stores or shopping malls to avoid cold weather outside.

Hanukkah in Israel

December Global Holidays
December Global Holidays

It’s a season of light and miracles, as candles are lit each night for eight nights to mark a miracle that took place over 2,000 years ago. Hanukkah means dedication in Hebrew; in ancient times, Judah Maccabee and his followers fought to purify their temple after it was desecrated by Greek forces in 163 B.C. E.

The Festival of Lights is celebrated from December 12 through December 20 on successive evenings, with special foods eaten on each day and family gatherings held throughout Israel. On December 24—the eighth day—the menorah is lit at sundown with nine blessings recited before friends and family gather for feasting.

Christmas in Germany

The Christmas season in Germany is a magical time. Stroll through Frankfurt’s quaint Christmas markets and sip mulled wine, or visit Nuremberg to see Christkindlesmarkt – Europe’s largest Christmas market. In Mainz, kick off your shoes and dance around in wintry wonder at Zunft-Markt, which features musicians, puppet shows, and artisans selling handmade crafts.

And of course, there are plenty of traditional German dishes to enjoy during these festive days! You can start with glühwein (mulled wine) or an array of sausages before moving on to schnitzel, potato salad, and roasted chestnuts. It’s also common for Germans to serve lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) for dessert.

Christmas in Italy

Italian culture is a rich and varied tapestry of regional traditions. One way Italians celebrate Christmas is with a crèche display called presepio (or presepe), which features figurines to tell their version of Jesus’ birth story. Families decorate small nativity scenes in their homes, depicting Jesus’ birth using local cultural motifs and regional elements.

The most popular place for these displays is Piazza Navona in Rome. Italy’s second-most-popular holiday destination, Venice, also has a tradition of displaying elaborate crèches throughout December.

Christmas in Thailand

Like many countries around the world, Christmas has become an important cultural holiday in Thailand. The Thai Christmas season begins on December 15 and ends on January 6. While Christmas in Thailand doesn’t have much of a religious overtone, it’s still a very big deal.

Throughout December Global Holidays, stores set up Christmas displays and play holiday music. Most businesses close for at least two weeks during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In addition to shopping, people often decorate their homes with lights and other festive items. It’s also common for families to get together to celebrate. And while gifts are exchanged, there is no Santa Claus figure—instead, kids put their shoes out on December 24 for Father Christmas (or Santa) to fill with presents.

Christmas in South Korea

South Korea is a relatively small country, and its population is about 50 million. But, it’s still a major player in terms of Christian churches and communities around Christmas time. On Christmas Eve, South Koreans share their belief that Jesus was born on December 24th. The festival officially begins on December 22nd with family gatherings, presents, and sharing of special foods. Many families will eat samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) while they wait for Santa Claus to arrive.

Christmas in Brazil

The Christmas season in Brazil typically begins on December 12 and ends on January 6, and is commonly referred to as Natal. The most important holiday of Christmas in Brazil is the day after Natal, which is known as Epiphany. In Latin America and countries that are heavily influenced by Catholicism, it’s believed that Santa Claus visits children on Epiphany Day—the day when it’s believed Jesus was baptized by John.

New Years’ Eve around the World

New Year’s Eve (also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries) is a celebration held on December 31 each year. It is generally celebrated at midnight when many people gather together to watch or listen to a special greeting message for the coming year broadcast on television and often bring in each new year by participating in rituals designed to improve their lives.

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