Holiday Traditions Around The World
The holiday season is here and we're sharing how traditions are celebrated around the world. We've enlisted the help of our international staff to give us the scoop on their holiday festivities across the globe!
Marion Bres, European Regional Manager
In France, Santa Claus is called, Père Noel (Father Christmas). In Eastern France, you can often see Father Christmas accompanied by "Le Père Fouettard" (The Whipping Father), a pretty scary man dressed in black who spanks the naughty children who've misbehaved.
French families enjoy their Christmas meal, Réveillon, on Christmas Eve and attend a midnight church service. Dishes include turkey, goose, foie gras, oysters, lobster, cheeses and the famous Bûche de Noël, a chocolate sponge cake that looks like a yule log.
In Provence (Southern France), the tradition is to end dinner with 13 desserts representing Jesus and the 12 apostles.
New Years Eve is called, Saint Sylvestre and is usually celebrated with family or friends. Again, people eat foie gras, oysters, and drink champagne.
Similar to New Year's Eve in the United States, it is the time when people set new resolutions and exchange wishes!
The holiday period ends with the celebration of Epiphany on January 6th. Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Three Wise Men who took the journey to Bethlehem for 12 days to celebrate Jesus’ birth and offer him gifts. During Epiphany, families and friends eat la galette des rois , a pastry cake filled with almond paste that contains a small lucky charm. The person who finds it becomes queen or king for the evening and gets to wear a gold paper crown!
Roland Llaves, South American Regional Manager
Peru is a catholic country and Christmas is spent with family. Peruvians love to decorate their houses for the holiday. The living room is reserved for the Nativity and nowadays many families set up a Christmas Tree as well.
Peruvians go to the market in the Plaza de Armas to shop for accessories for their Nativity display. People from the mountains come to Cusco to sell handmade accessories of baby Jesus, Virgin Mary, Joseph, the three kings, animals, etc. Over the last few years the number of sellers and the variety of products has increased dramatically!
Families typically cook chicken, guinea pig, or roasted turkey for Christmas dinner. There are also many products made of coca leaves like bread called, Cocaton.
The New Year called, Año, is a celebration for all ages.
Peruvians are very superstitious and choose to wear yellow underwear for good luck or red underwear to find love in the new year. Some people run around the main square of Cusco twelve times in hopes for good fortune.
Cesar Romero, Chief of Staff
The entire month of December is a special one in Nicaragua centered around family.
Christmas Eve is especially significant in Nicaragua. Families gather for a big party with latin music, drinks, and fireworks at midnight to celebrate Jesus' birth. Some families even prepare “gallina rellena” (stuffed chicken)!
Christmas Day is a day of rest after all the celebration. Families relax on Christmas Day by eating leftovers, opening up gifts, and being thankful.
New Year’s Eve in Nicaragua is a hybrid of New Year’s and Thanksgiving where families gather for dinner to give thanks. They toast to the year ahead and watch fireworks at midnight to ring in the new year.
From our U30X family to yours - happy holidays! We look forward to seeing you on a trip in 2019!