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Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

The holiday season is full of traditions. We love to put up lights, decorate a Christmas tree, and set out a plate of cookies for Santa. Over two billion people across the globe observe Christmas every year. How do families in other countries celebrate the occasion?

In Serbia, the celebration starts before the actual holiday. It’s traditional for the children to tie up their mothers two weeks before Christmas day. In order to be freed, she must pay a ransom in the form of gifts. The same act happens to dad on the next Sunday.

Children in Scandinavia believe in a gnome-like character called Tomte or Nisse, who is believed to protect barns and bring presents. Instead of cookies, they leave out a bowl of porridge.

Australians celebrate the holiday during the summer with a barbecue on the beach. They also believe that Father Christmas is joined by a pack of six white kangaroos rather than reindeer.

In India, fir trees aren’t very common. Instead, families decorate mango trees and use the leaves to brighten up their homes.

Ukrainians traditionally decorate their Christmas trees with spider webs. It is believed that a magical spider once visited a poor family on Christmas and turned the webs in their home into gold and silver. 

Families in Greece wrap basil around a cross and use it to sprinkle holy water around the house, believing it will ward off mischievous goblins called killantzaroi. It is also traditional to burn old shoes to bring good luck in the New Year.

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