Every time I traveled somewhere I was lucky enough to experience not just countries but also their cultures and as well different people and their traditions. I was only lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time with the right people and I appreciate that a lot and I will always be thankful for the people who included me in their celebrations.
Everything started in m childhood because I did not grow up with Santa Clause, I grew up with the “Christkind“. A young female with blond hair, a white dress and wings. The Christkind brings the presents in Austria (as well as Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Hungary and Slovakia) on the 24th of December. Normally a ring of the bell indicates that the Christkind left and the presents are now under the tree. For me there was never a Santa Claus until I went to school and still than I preferred the Christkind because I knew it was special and not everybody has it. My mom always told me, when we learned about Santa, we should be lucky to have someone special because Santa is way to busy to really think carefully about everyone so he has many little helpers in other countries. I never second guessed what my mom told me, when I have kids one day I will do the same. As well as we have some traditional meals we serve for dinner on the 24th including beef or roast goose, if you are not a good cook or you have no time a good way is to get a private chef or a company to cater to you. Austrian CHEF herzlichst Anna’s provides healthy food boxes and for the festive season they add just the best meat from Austrian providers as well as yummy recipes. No stress to shop for everything and no hustle to get the right recipes (the main picture was provided by Anna’s as well)
It took about 20 years to get to another country to learn more about other cultures and traditions but when I had the chance to I couldn’t sit still and learned whatever I could. My first time in the US was really special because I got to experience the US way and the Russian way to celebrate Christmas. In the US kids have to wait one more night, they are only opening the presents on the 25th in the mornings. They also have stockings hung up and leave milk and cookies out for Santa. In Russia they have “grandfather frost” and his granddaughter “snow maiden” who help Santa and Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January.
After that experience I had the chance to celebrate Christmas with some friends from Sweden, their figure is called “Santa Lucia“. For dinner on the 24th they have a “julboard”, a display of different Christmas foods and a drink known as “glogg”.
The last traditions I got to celebrate where with a Jewish family. First of all they do not have Christmas they do celebrate Hanukkah. Most families do not have a tree and will never have one. Something special for Hanukkah is the “Dreidel” a game, potato latkes and the menora. Jews mostly go out for Chinese food on the 24th or the 25th, Chinese people do not have a Christmas as well.
I loved to experience every single one of them even tho I love the Austrian the most. Every family also has their own traditions which I will talk more about next week. Besides the ones I got to experience myself I heard a lot about other countries and I hope to experience more one day.
How do you celebrate Christmas in your country? Special Christmas traditions or food?