Christmas Around the World



Students around South share how they celebrate Christmas.

Nina Goodlett, Co-Editor in Chief

Christmas time is near! Conventionally celebrated on Dec. 25 with a decorated tree, strung lights, and of course… presents. Although a majority of Americans celebrate Christmas in this way, many cultures celebrate the holiday differently than the typical American traditions.

Christmas, being a religious holiday, is celebrated to honor Jesus’ birth. Many Christians celebrate this holiday by going to church, decorating, and making a nativity scene. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Christmas is celebrated from Dec. 12 all the way to Jan. 6.

Hispanic student, Juan Pacheo Zarazua said in his home, “Christmas is usually celebrated more on Christmas Eve than on Christmas day” considering “we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ also known as ‘Nochebuena’.”

On Nochebuena, families gather to do all the activities most Americans would do on Christmas day, but in Hispanic and Latinx culture Christmas is a day of relaxation as most of the celebration takes place on Christmas Eve.

Pacheo Zarazua says “Christmas day in my home is more about spending time with family, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and being thankful for almost reaching another year of life.”

To celebrate Christmas on Nochebuena families pray and many hispanic dishes are made such as “tamales, pozole, pasta, carnitas , barbacoa , flan , ensalada de fruta , and more,” says Pacheo Zarazua. For Pacheo Zarazua Christmas day consists of “going to Christmas mass and eating leftovers from Nochebuena.”

Similar to Junior Alena Keenan, who in a year without COVID, would  “go to the Christmas mass each year, but since our church wasn’t having a lot of people in at the time, it felt different.” The Coronavirus has changed the way many families celebrate but still, it is important to keep the Christmas traditions alive.

For Keenan, tradition is “very important” as one of the traditions in the Keenan family consists of “singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus as we lay Him in the major.” Another of Keenan’s favorites was “the Christmas Pickle and whoever wins gets bragging rights.”

The Christmas Pickle began in Germany along with the Christmas tree, which are now used to symbolize the “birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ” according to Now, Americans have put their own creative spin on them. Decorating Christmas trees with lights, ornaments, and topped with an angel or star.

Just as the Christmas tree is the star of the show, so is the food. Christmas dinners look different for everyone, for Emmanuel Swaray and Davina Acheampong Christmas dinners consist of common African dishes such as fufu, jollof, and kwabre. For Keenan, it’s going to “Carrabba’s with family friends on Christmas Eve” and for Pacheo Zarazua it’s “gathering with family to eat traditional Hispanic foods.”

Whether it’s the food that brings the family together or the memories of Christmases spent as a family, Christmas is a holiday full of gathering and giving back- no matter how you choose to celebrate.

Merry Christmas to you and your families.