International Holiday Traditions
By Sam Ortiz
The winter months are an exciting time of the year for many people in the United States
This particular season has a large amount of holidays jam packed into a small amount of time. Christmas in particular is celebrated by many people here, and with most holidays come traditions to go along with it.
New Years in the US has the famous ball drop in Times Square and Christmas in the US is well known for its garish sweaters, caroling, trees, and sparkly decoration used by many of those who celebrate it, but what is the holiday season like in other parts of the world?
Like lots of other European countries, Hungary has Christmas, too. It’s a bit different from Christmas in the US, though. On December 6th, children set out their shoes for their version of Santa Claus to hopefully come fill with small treats. Though their version of Santa comes on the sixth, the most important day of Hungarian Christmas is December 24th. On the 24th, Hungarians put up and decorate the tree, prepare the holiday meal and exchange gifts.
A common Christmas starting meal or lunch in Hungary is halászlé, a spicy fish soup, as they tend to abstain from meat on Christmas. A common dinner could be stuffed cabbage followed by a dessert called mákos guba, a sort of bread pudding.
In the Seychelles, Christmas seems to be more of a religious holiday than in the US. As many people who live there are some sort of Christian, midnight church service on December 24th is very popular with another happening the next morning. Apart from the obvious difference in climate, as the Seychelles are in the southern hemisphere, Christmas is not much different than it is in the US. They put up trees and get together with family and friends all the same. Though, Christmas festivities continue into January and end on the 2nd.
New Years is a very eventful time of the year in the Philippines. Filipinos celebrate New Years with a nice dinner, fireworks, and a long list of superstitions to keep in mind. These superstitions come into contact with all facets of the new year. Related to food, a noodle dish called pancit is made to represent a long life, and food made from sticky rice is made so good luck will stick around.
Foods that Filipinos avoid at new years are fish and chicken because they’re representations of food scarcity. Filipinos have more than just food to worry about in the new year, though. They also have to rush to pay off any debts they might have because it’s believed that any financial habits they have will continue into the next year. To attract more wealth in the new year, Filipinos also wear polka dots because round things are said to signify prosperity. Coins are also left about the house also to attract wealth. New Years in the Philippines is anything but a quiet event. Noise is important during the New Years because it’s said to drive away evil spirits.
Every country has its own set of traditions during the holidays but the trend of spending time with loved ones during them seems to be consistent throughout. Happy holidays to everyone and the people they care about.