Christmas Traditions Here and Abroad

Junfeng Ni, Staff Writer, Journalism

With Christmas practically here, most families will stay together to do some traditional things for a traditional Christmas, but different countries have different Christmas traditions. Some do not even have Christmas.

As an international student from China and studying in the United States, the first country to discuss is America.

My best friend Nick Haske told me what he usually does on Christmas.

“ I always go travel with my parents and my big sister Maria,” said Haske. “We usually go to Orlando to Disney World and all of us in our family are crazy fans for Disney characters, so other things we do are watching the Disney Christmas movies at home as a family and then play with my cousins.”

Normally people in America like to decorate the outsides of their houses with lights and sometimes even statues of Santa Claus, Snowmen and Reindeer. Towns and cities often decorate the streets with lights to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps the most famous Christmas street lights in the USA are at the Rockefeller Center in New York where there is a huge Christmas Tree with a public ice skating rink in front of it over Christmas and the New Year.

My host sister Naira, who comes from Spain, said, “Our family is a big family. I have two siblings: a brother and a sister, and the most interesting thing in Christmas is opening the Christmas gifts. I always get what I want, and we usually stay together, have dinner, sing and dance together.” Her Christmas Day looks the same as the United States.

And the traditional Spanish Christmas dinner is ‘Pavo Trufado de Navidad,’ which is turkey stuffed with truffles (the mushrooms, not the chocolate ones). In Galicia (a region in northwest Spain, surrounded by water) the most popular meal for Christmas Eve and for Christmas Day is seafood. This can be all kinds of different seafood, from shellfish and mollusks, to lobster and small edible crabs.After the midnight service, people walk through the streets carrying torches, playing guitars and beating on tambourines and drums. One Spanish saying is ‘Esta noche es Noche-Buena, Y no Es noche de dormir,’ which means ‘Tonight is the good night and it is not meant for sleeping!’

About China, we do not celebrate Christmas, and Mrs. Zhang, who is the Chinese teacher at Notre Dame Academy, said, “ In China, we have Spring Festival which is way different from Christmas.  Wherever you are, you should go home on those days and stay with your family, watch the shows from central channels, and the children will blow firecrackers.”

Yeah, she is right, but since I came here, I never have Spring Festival with the family, and that makes me miss home.