With Christmas looming, most people want to be well prepared - lights, trimmings, presents and who can forget the perfect Christmas menu - all ready to indulge in and share this special time of the year with loved ones. However, if you’re not one for the traditional Christmas festivities or you’re looking to shake up the same old tradition, you might consider spending the festive season abroad. As you know, Christmas is celebrated universally, each country and culture with its own unique traditions and customs. Many holidaymakers travel across the world every festive season to experience and share in the traditions that are different to their own and this year, you could too.
You too can make it “the most wonderful time of the year” anywhere you choose. These countries are rated as some of the best places in the world to spend Christmas…
Christmas and festive celebrations are known to begin from mid-December in Romania. The small Eastern European country has many unique Christmas traditions such as Romanian carols, city streets and villages are filled with scores of people caroling, often accompanied by traditional dancing, costumes, and instruments. Another common Romanian Christmas tradition is The Pig Slaughter (Taierea porcului). The tradition has been practiced for centuries in Romania and takes place on the 20th of December, known as St. Ignatius day - mainly in the Romanian Countryside. A pig is slaughtered/sacrificed by families and is believed to be done in order to have a prosperous Christmas meal. Romanians have Christmas dinners/ lunches where they indulge in traditional Romanian dishes with friends, family, and neighbours.
Christmas is celebrated by a small amount of the population in India - given the large diversity of religions in the country. However, Christmas in India is nothing short of a spectacle filled with beautiful Christmas traditions. The unique food is one of the main highlights. Individuals near and far indulge in traditional Christmas dishes with a touch of India’s flavour. Sweets and treats such as rich fruit Christmas cake and local sweets are especially popular over Christmas in Goa. Christmas traditions vary throughout different parts of India but Christmas carols and lights/ lanterns are a staple in India over the festive season. Goa, Kolkata, and Mumbai are known as the best places to celebrate Christmas in India. Apart from various Christmas traditions, India has many beautiful beaches, resorts, and bars to indulge in over the festive season.
Those who dream of traveling throughout Europe over the festive season can look forward to an array of unique and beautiful Christmas traditions in different parts of Europe. Some of the best Christmas festivities in Europe include dining in Croatia’s Old Town where one can indulge customary food and Christmas markets, Christmas shopping at Rue du Marche in Geneva, Switzerland, Fireworks shows and traditional carols in Madeira, Portugal, ski in the Alps and tuck into some Glühwein and Lebkuchen (traditional Christmas cookies) in Salzburg, Austria. In London, England, experience midnight mass at Westminster Abbey, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and learn the history of Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square. Visit Krakow, Poland for mesmerizing Christmas lights, lavish feasts and an array of Christmas festivities. With so many countries and different Christmas traditions, Europe over the festive season is one to add to your bucket list.
Although Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January, the Coptic Christmas is a special celebration of unusual Egyptian traditions and certainly something worth experiencing. With an array of historical landmarks to visit and incredible deserts and resorts, Egypt is filled with adventure and beauty and is a popular festive season destination. Not only is the weather perfect for travelling through Egypt over the festive season but there are plenty of Egyptian Christmas traditions to experience which include Christmas shopping, listening to the story of the Holy family – it’s a common tradition for this story to be told over Christmas, not to mention, an Egyptian Christmas lunch/ dinner.
In Mexico, Christmas is a very traditional and religious holiday and celebrated from mid-December to early January. Christmas in Mexico is centered around a combination of traditions from Mexican, Spanish, and many other cultures. These traditions include Christmas carols (Villancicos), Posadas (a tradition whereby parades of people re-enact the story of Mary and Joseph when they searched for shelter In Bethlehem), not to forget, Christmas in Mexico includes a variety of traditional Mexican food. If you are planning to spend the whole of the festive season in Mexico, there are numerous New Year’s Eve festivals and parties to reign in the new year or you can enjoy a beautiful firework show in Los Cabos.
Planning on spending your Christmas “down under”? Well, there’s plenty of festive cheer to look forward to if you’re venturing to Australia this Christmas season. The festive season in Australia is an event filled month with loads to do and experience. The list is endless. Experience the Christmas lights at Sovereign Hill, enjoy the nightlife in Perth, Christmas on the beach or join in on the festivities on a boat cruise through Melbourne. Looking for something sentimental? Celebrate the meaning of Christmas in Wellington Square where you can share a day with the less fortunate by serving lunch and handing out presents. With numerous cities to visit and so much to experience in Australia, you are sure to have one memorable Christmas.
To be continued...