How does your family celebrate Christmas? Our Christmas tradition is board games, mince tarts and watching Love Actually after church on Christmas Eve, followed by a jam-packed day of seeing the extended family, exchanging gifts and eating too much food. It’s the little things we always do in amongst the wonderful meaning of Christmas that makes it my favourite day of the year.
Many of the communities where World Vision works celebrate Christmas in their own unique and beautiful ways! Here we’re sharing a little glimpse at Christmas around the world.
Christmas is a community affair here in Uganda! With a big shared meal and lots of dancing and games, it’s a special day for everyone involved.
“I really happy for the Christmas time because we got presents and also we have school holiday. In this time we can play together we can eat together and we share our presents to each other,” says Aung Soe. She and her friends are excited to have received Christmas cards from their sponsors.
World Vision staff in Honduras worked with local parents to hold a special Christmas party where 150 children could gather and have fun!
“All the children enjoyed with our parents, making reality the right we have to recreation, to play, and to be happy. We had never had a party with games, prizes, piñatas, music, and food,” said nine-year-old Carla.
“We had never been so happy and had so much fun in the Christmas party. It was marvellous!” added 11-year-old Sindi.
Reva and her friends from Lebanon share their favourite things about Christmas and how they celebrate with their family.
“When Christmas approaches, I feel happy when I think about the preparation we make for the holiday,” says 13-year-old Helen. Because Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, they celebrate Christmas on January 7th! It is called Lidetu Le Egzane or Ganna, and marks the end of the 40-day fasting period of Advent.
People decorate their houses and classrooms a week before Christmas. Most children prepare different kinds of handmade decorations from paper and aluminium foil. They place these on artificial Christmas trees with Christmas lights.
At dawn in the morning of Ganna, people get dressed in white. Afterwards, people go to their homes to feast. Food and drink are plentiful, with many households preparing special dishes. Gift giving is a very small part of Christmas festivities in Ethiopia – only small gifts are exchanged amongst family and friends at home. But one gift most eagerly awaited by all children is a new outfit that they wear with pride on Christmas Day!
“Holidays mean much to us, we cannot think Christmas without new clothes, celebrations at school, church and home with our friends and families,” says 10-year-old Ermias.
In the Philippines, many families go to church at dawn for Christmas. They light candles as a symbol of love and hope, and pass the light of their candle on to others. On Christmas Eve or ‘Noche Buena’, families join together to share a meal – which often includes spaghetti, a Christmas tradition!