Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Around the World


Caitlin Keeler

With 11 days until Christmas, Falcons prepare for celebrations of all types.

Caitlin Keeler, Staff Reporter

The celebration of Christmas is widespread across the entire world with significantly more countries celebrating than not. People in America have their own way of recognizing Christmas, but it’s also important to educate ourselves on other cultures’ ways of commemorating this holiday. 

The Philippines:

The Philippines is known to have the longest Christmas celebration in the world, taking place from September until December in the months known as the “ber” months. As many other countries reject the recognition of Christmas until December, the Philippines encourage it. 

A popular decoration is lanterns, known as “parol,” which are made of paper and bamboo in the shape of the Star of Bethlehem sold at Christmas markets around town. 

Religion is prominent in their celebration, with over 80% of the almost 110 million person population identifying as Roman Catholic. 

A popular tradition is the Simbang Gabi, a nine day span of Masses lasting from Dec. 16 to 24. 

While Christmas is celebrated differently in the Philippines than in the U.S., we share the same fundamental beliefs and values surrounding the holiday while also learning more about the interesting way of honoring Christmas as a whole. 


We recognize a figure named Santa Claus as the man who drops off presents to kids around the world, but in Finland, Santa is called Joulupukki, which translates to “Christmas Goat.” This stems from the story of the Yule Goat, who was a bad character and asked others for presents. 

Close to where the Finnish say Joulupukki lives in the northern part of Finland, “there is a theme park called “Santa Claus Village” that is open every day of the year. Located in the Arctic Circle, it is a hunting place for northern lights enthusiasts. 

Surprisingly, Christmas Eve is the most important day in the whole month. Pastimes include buying the Christmas tree on that day, visiting the graves of family members and leaving glowing, hanging lanterns, going in a traditional wood heated sauna with your family, and finally, at noon, attending the most famous declaration in Finland. Taking place at Turku’s Old Market Square, Finns celebrate the Declaration of Peace, which states that Christmas peace is sacred for the 20 days ahead. 

A big difference between America’s Christmas and Finland’s is that the Finns wait until after dinner to open their gifts from Joulupukki, and the gifts are distributed during his visit on Christmas Day. 


The first country that comes to mind when “Kentucky fried chicken” is said, is America, but KFC has made its way to Japan with a surprising twist. 

Getting KFC is a national Japanese event that occurs on Christmas Day, and approximately 3.6 million families gather to eat this as their holiday meal, making it the most popular meal in the country on this day. Eating a bucket of the “finger licking good” chicken is common on Christmas and is becoming as ordinary as opening presents on the 25th. 

Although the recognition of the holiday might be there, in Japan Christmas isn’t an official holiday but is usually used for families and friends to gather together and prepare for the New Year. Christmas Eve is Japan’s version of Valentine’s day which is celebrated on February 14 in America being the most romantic day of the year.

Everyone has their own unique ways of recognizing Christmas, whether it’s going to a nine-day Mass ceremony or eating a bucket of KFC. The celebration of Christmas around the globe connects us to each other and creates all-around Christmas spirit. It’s a cheerful and jolly holiday for all who wish to celebrate.