Christmas Around the World: Interesting Cultural Christmas Characters & Traditions, PART II

Ho, ho, ho, and a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all you readers!

Last year, we talked about Christmas traditions from Italy, the Netherlands, and Austria.

This year, we will explore traditions from countries south of the equator – Australia, Brazil, and Argentina.

Let’s jump right in!

Surfing Santa in Australia

Though it’s summer in Australia at Christmas time and there’s no real snow to be found, Aussies fold in their own fun-in-the-sun Christmas traditions.

For one, Australian Santa surfs.

Abandoning the traditional white-fur-lined red fleece suit and black winter boots, you’re more likely to see Santa in board shorts on the beach on Christmas day.

And instead of the roast turkey or ham spread found in some western countries, Aussies pack in the prawns for their Christmas meal.

This requires a “prawn run,” where an unfortunate family member will be sent to stand in line at the nearest packed seafood store in the morning to buy the freshest grub.

Thirteenth Salary in Brazil

While Christmas Day may be the more lively celebration in some countries, Christmas Eve is where it’s at in Brazil.

Often people dress up in their finest to visit their friends in the afternoon and hold a huge celebration with their families in the evening.

Dinner is served around 10 PM, and midnight is when presents are exchanged or “Missa de Gallo” (Midnight Mass) is attended by the religious.

There’s no chimney-diving for Papai Noel in Brazil; instead, he drops on by to replace stockings left on windowsills with presents.

And to help Papai Noel provide gifts for Christmas, most employees are given a “thirteenth salary” (two months’ pay) in November/December – a scheme introduced by former president João Goulart in the ‘60s to boost the economy before Christmas time.

Three Kings Day in Argentina

While you can enjoy incredible fireworks displays at midnight on Christmas Eve in Argentina, as well as small paper lanterns called “globos” sent into the sky, you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to open your presents.

Three Kings Day, celebrated on January 6, is when most families receive their gifts in Argentina.

Instead of Santa or Papa Noel delivering the gifts to children, the Three Kings – who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus – will leave them in children’s shoes.

Despite this tradition, Santa is growing popular in Argentina – only there, he is known as “El Gordo de Navidad,” literally translated to “The Christmas Fat.”

As this list shows, wherever you are this Christmas, you’re bound to experience new and exciting ways to celebrate the holiday!