The festive season of cheer is upon us once again! Discover the quirky, traditional and interesting ways this holiday season is celebrated around the world.
At a Buddhist temple in Kamakura, Japan, the stone statues of Jizo – considered the guardian deity of children – are usually donned with a Santa suit and scarves during the holiday season.
Jizo at Kamakura © Kazu Letokyoite/Flickr
While festive traditions are similar to that of the United States and Great Britain, Christmas in Australia comes in the middle of summer. Families often gather in the parks or by the beach to enjoy barbecue feasts and beat the summer heat.
Manly Beach, Australia © Christopher Eden/Flickr
Considered both as tradition and superstition, the Spanish usually eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The first 12 seconds of the New Year may seem quiet as everyone focuses on eating the 12 “miraculous grapes” that symbolize an auspicious 12-month ahead.
Grapes © Johnn/star5112/Flickr
Lying in Thailand’s northern region, many revelers flock to Chiang Mai to kick off the New Year. One of the festivities includes releasing a lantern, made from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame, to the sky. Thais believed that it is fortuitous to float the lanterns to the sky as they are symbolic of problems and worries drifting away.
Sky lanterns in Chiang Mai © Andrew Schaffer/Flickr
Russia celebrates Christmas Day on January 7th as the Orthodox church follows the Julian calendar for religious celebration dates. Traditionally, Russians fast for 39 days until Christmas Eve (January 6th). Then, a Christmas feast consisting of a 12-course meal commences, in honor of the 12 apostles.
Christmas in Russia © kishjar/Flickr