Text: Charlotte Engsig
The snow is falling heavy on the ground (or perhaps more sleet in the last few years) and it is dark. However, the light from the candles ensure a nice and cosy atmosphere whilst the Christmas tree is brightening the living room with its many colours. Indeed, this is how most of us Danes regard Christmas as we each year uphold old traditions with delicious Christmas food, Christmas calendar and a candle that shows exactly how close Christmas actually is. However, it is not everyone that has the same assumptions about Christmas as we do, and some are having their very first Danish Christmas this year. Exchange students’ traditions from their homeland are far from ours, and it really shows how silly traditions can get – let’s be honest, we do sing and dance around a tree each year.
Therefore, to get everyone in a proper holiday mood, as the days grow shorter and shorter, we can celebrate each of the wonderful Christmas traditions around the globe that are all gathered in AAU. Here are three brief stories from people around the globe and their traditions.
Gabriela – age 22
First of all, the weather in that season is really hot and the food that we eat is really heavy as well. Therefore, I can say for sure that there is no logical meaning in what we eat and the weather here. Especially since the air-conditioning always collapses because everyone is using it a lot. So Christmas is a very sweaty thing here in Argentina. Also, Catholic traditions are strong in Argentina, so Christmas has a big religious meaning. When I was little the parents made us perform the birth of Baby Jesus, so I was usually an angel or something similar to that. It was mainly the scene in the shelter with donkeys and hay around them. A lot of farm animals! This is something we do every year usually. So that is my story about Christmas – I am always an angel.
Yostin – age 21
In my country we have posadas, which is a party with close friends and family. At this party you sing a song about Joseph and Virgin Mary searching for a place to stay in Nazareth, which is where Baby Jesus was born. This is a nice tradition that we celebrate each year. Furthermore, we also have a kind of star-shaped piñata with seven points. These seven points are to represent the seven sins and the piñata represents the devil. Then kids hit it with sticks, which are meant to represent fate. That is a pretty common Christmas tradition here in Mexico.
Jonathan – age 24
In Germany, we have many of the same traditions as you do here in Denmark. A pretty important tradition in Germany are Christmas markets where everybody goes in December before Christmas to buy Christmas-themed things and drink large amounts of hot wine with spices. This is called Glühwein. Also pretty important is the Advent wreath or Adventskranz in anticipation of Christmas, but you do have that as well here. However, there is one thing that we do in my hometown, which perhaps stand out a bit more. In my small hometown Esslingen, every local loves the tradition of the Holy Forenoon (heiliger Vormittag). This is when you on the 24th of December meet in the city before noon on the street or in various bars that are open early for this occasion and proceed to get drunk. This is a very nice tradition in my opinion. If you are religious, this happens right after you leave the church.
All in all, it is safe to say that all over the world we all have different ways to celebrate Christmas. In Europe, it is obviously more similar to Danish traditions, but it is not all the same. Therefore, grasp the next opportunity to try one of these outlandish traditions, as it could be quite possible that the holy forenoon or the piñata could be a great addition to the upcoming holiday events.