Christmas is a special time for people around the world celebrating the annual holiday. People spend time with family and loved ones, exchange gifts, and create lasting memories with one another.
The day is a religious holiday Christians celebrate to welcome the birth of Jesus, according to Britannica. The holiday has many different names and by the 20th century was celebrated by Christians and non-Christians, developing into a secular family holiday, according to Britannica.
Although Christmas was a holiday celebrated in different ways around the world, it did not become a federal holiday in the U.S. in 1870, according to History.com. When Oliver Cromwell the Puritans took over England in 1645, they canceled Christmas to get rid of cultural traditions in England. The holiday was restored when Charles II came into power in 1649.
In America, the holiday was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681 and anyone who was caught celebrating the holiday was fined five shillings, according to History.com. It was also not celebrated after the American Revolution, in an attempt to get rid of English customs.
Here are some holiday traditions people participate in to celebrate the holiday:
Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines
On the Saturday before Christmas, the city of San Fernando holds the annual Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu). The tradition began in 1904, and now there are eleven villages in the area that take place in the celebration by building the best and most elaborate lantern, according to the City of San Fernando website.
Gävle Goat, Sweden
Move over Santa Claus, there’s a 42.6-foot goat that is taking over Christmas in Sweden. The Gävle Goat was created in 1966 and was supposed to draw people to the restaurants and shops nearby, according to the Gävle Goat website. Since that year, the goat, which is made out of straw and weighs over 7,000 lbs, has become a special holiday tradition.
Every December 6, Austria will hold its annual Krampus and Perchten Parades in Salzburg, Austria. The story of Krampus is a devil-like creature that travels with Santa Claus on December 6, looking for children who weren’t good this year, according to the Salzburg website. The Perchten are also folk creatures who wear scary masks that carry bells to help scare away the winter. Parades are usually held on December 6, where people wear Krampus and Perchten masks.
Saint Nicholas’ Day, Germany
On December 6 every year, children patiently wait for St. Nicholas. The holiday celebrates the patron St. Nicholas, who was devout Christian who gave back to people in need, according to the St. Nicholas Center. If the children were good, they would be given candies, nuts, or fruit on a plate or inside of their shoes, according to the website.
Before going to sleep on Christmas Eve, Norwegians will sweep the front porch of their homes to ward off evil spirits, according to The Telegraph.