By Anna Harman
In the United States, Christmas is a huge deal. Many people enjoy decorating the outsides of their houses with lights and sometimes they put inflatable figures or statues of Santa Claus or reindeer in their yard. Usually, people with children will leave carrots for the reindeer, and a few cookies with a glass of milk as a snack for Santa on Christmas Eve. Many towns, stores and businesses decorate the streets and buildings with lights to celebrate Christmas. But not all countries celebrate Christmas in the same way. Some places have very different traditions and outlooks on the holiday of Christmas.
Cedarville junior, Grace Bloomer, lived in Brazil as a missionary kid for a number of years, where they have a different way of celebrating Christmas.
“Typically Christmas is celebrated in Brasil by families going to Catholic mass and having a big Christmas Eve meal,” Bloomer said. “Families will then stay up until midnight and at midnight they will shoot off fireworks and open presents.”
Christmas is still important to the people in Brazil, just as it is in the United States. While Bloomer has always done Christmas with her family “the American way,” she enjoys the tradition of going to church the Sunday before or after Christmas and eating a big breakfast and celebrating the birth of Christ in Brazil.
Junior Ligia Benitez grew up in El Salvador. She has never personally spent Christmas in the United States, but she has heard from other Salvadoreans that Christmas in El Salvador can be compared to our Thanksgiving holiday in America. Benitez truly enjoys celebrating Christmas in El Salvador, where she gets to practice her favorite tradition of setting off fireworks for hours with all of her cousins.
“Christmas in El Salvador is full of joy, family and dancing,” Benitez shares. “People usually get together with their extended family and celebrate Christmas on December 24th. We cook Salvadorean food, we do board games, dancing, give gifts and meditate on Jesus’ birth. Dancing is a big part of it, Salvadorean’s dance to cumbias!”
While there are many traditions that differ all across the world for Christmas, the season of joy, peace, family and thankfulness are commonly shared across many cultures. It’s a time to enjoy seeing friends and family, to relax, and to be thankful for the birth of our Savior. I am overjoyed to finally be going into the Christmas season and so thankful for the coming time of rest and family time!
Anna Harman is a junior Biblical Studies major and also a reporter for Cedars. She appreciates writing, peppermint tea, flowers, and going to concerts.
Photo Credit: Daderot, CC0 1.0 <https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons