10 Popular Holiday Traditions From Around The World

We’ve searched the world to find 10 of the most popular and interesting holiday traditions.

The holiday season is upon all of us again! People from all corners of the world enjoy their own personal holiday traditions, from the normal all the way through to downright extravagant. At American Resorts International, we always love to hear how people spend their holidays and what traditions they enjoy. This year, we decided to feature 10 Popular Holiday Traditions From Around The World, which we hope you’ll enjoy!

St. Lucia Day In Sweden – A tradition honoring a saint from the third-century. On December 13 girls dress up as Lucia Brides. This is done with a long flowing white gown and a red sash which dates back to the 18th Century. They normally wear a wreath of burning candles on their heads along with the gown and sash. Girls wake up early and wake the rest of the family by singing songs and preparing coffee and a traditional bun which is called St. Lucia’s bun. 


Hanukkah in Israel – Although this holiday is celebrated by Jewish people around the world, you won’t find a larger celebration than in Israel. Young children prepare different crafts related to celebration weeks before the eight-day holiday even begins.  Hanukkah marks the successful rebellion of the Jewish people over the Greeks. The main focus of Hanukkah is the menorah, which is a branched candelabrum. Every night people light one candle and gifts exchanged along with food and games. 

Seeing in New Year’s Eve in Ecuador – The families in Ecuador dress up a straw man who represents the old year or the year just passed. Each family member lists their faults on the straw man’s will, then at midnight the will and the straw man are burned. This gives everyone hope that they will be able to begin the new year with a fresh start. 


Omisoka in Japan – This is New Year’s Eve for the Japanese people. They consider New Year’s Eve the second most important day of the year, just behind New Year’s Day. Most Japanese families gather together and then celebrate with a late dinner at around 10-11pm. At midnight, many families visit a temple or shrine. Some homes have a cast iron bell that they strike 108 times to symbolize human desires that could cause suffering in people. 

Kwanzaa in the Americas – This  weeklong celebration honors the African-American culture. Kwanzaa began in 1966 and is considered one of the fastest growing holidays worldwide. A typical Kwanzaa celebration will normally include drumming and singing, reading and pledges from African history culminating with a feast and gift giving.

Christmas or Noël in France – Noël or Christmas shares quite a few similarities with Christmas in the USA, Australia or the United Kingdom, but has some distinct differences. On Christmas Eve, Père Noël visits the home of the people of France with gifts. Children are encouraged to leave their shoes by the fireplace that Pere Noel the father of Christmas will fill with gifts. Instead of the Christmas tree found in many other homes, there will normally be a Nativity Scene, which is the focus point of decoration. 


Ta Chiu in Hong Kong – The people of Hong Kong like to pray to the ghosts and gods of their ancestors in the hope that they will help to fulfill their wishes for the next year. A priest will read the names of the living people at the celebration and then attach these names to a paper horse and set it on fire. The smoke from the fire helps to carry the names up to the gods so that the living will be remembered. 

St. Steven’s Day in Ireland – Instead of focusing just on gifts and fun, Christmas celebrations in Ireland normally focus more on the religious side. Christmas celebrations begin on Christmas Eve and then run until January 6th, that is the Epiphany. On the 26th of December, children go from door to door, known as Wren Boys Procession, singing while holding a long pole that has a wren and Holly bust on its top. The children ask for donations for the starving wren that is considered a gift for them. Once upon a time people would kill a real wren, but now a replica is used. 

Sviata Vechera celebrated in the Ukraine – Sviata Vechera is celebrated on the 24th of December in the Ukraine, translated it means “Holy Supper.” The people of Ukraine begin the celebrations once the first evening star is sighted on Christmas Eve. In the rural areas of the Ukraine the head of the house would bring in a full sheaf of wheat, while in the city a few stalks are used. This wheat is used to symbolize the wheat crops of Ukraine and is known as the Didukh, which roughly translated means the Grandfather Spirit. 

Christmas In Alaska – Christmas celebrations in Alaska are similar to the rest of the United States with a few noticeable differences that make them special. The children in Alaska like to go Christmas caroling together along with a long pole that is topped with a large, colored star. The Christmas carols sung in Alaska commonly include words from the Aleut language. Many gifts and treats in an Alaskan Christmas include cakes, cookies, fish pies and smoked salmon. 

Throughout the world, we all celebrate Christmas and holidays in very different ways, but the one thing we all have in common is sharing these times with the ones we love.  So this holiday season, whatever your tradition , may your days be filled with family, friends, joy and laughter.   So from the ARI family to yours, Happy Holidays!


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