How to celebrate christmas in other countries

Already alone in Austria there are larger and smaller differences like Christmas and Silvester is celebrated. Customs and rites have been handed down and passed from one generation to the next over many years.

"The Christ Child"

"When the houses are brightly lit and hearts are in turmoil,
then a magic unites the people."

When I was a kid I could hardly wait for Christmas. At baking cookies to help and to decorate the house were sometimes my favorite activities. On 24.12. I was not allowed to be present however as a child with the last preparations. My grandmother took care of Decorating the Christmas tree and my mother wrapped the last presents and put them under the Christmas tree.

Between 17.00 – 18.00 o’clock there was then dinner. Usually there was salmon and white bread, at least as far as I can remember. Today it is quite different.

At some point my grandmother had disappeared and my mother said that she had gone to buy to open the window in the bedroom, so that also the Christ child could come in and put down the gifts. I was always very excited and the anticipation was the best part!

Then I heard softly ringing a little bell! This was the sign that the Christ Child was here and I was allowed into the room. The candles burned and the gifts lay under the Christmas tree. After we had sung Christmas carols, including "Silent Night, Holy Night", we blew out the candles and I was allowed to distribute the gifts.

I still do that by the way! And ringing the bell is now my job.

Unlike other countries, in our country still comes the Christ Child and brings the presents.
As we know, for many this is Santa Claus or Santa Clause.

New Year’s Eve – At home

After all the festivities and visits to family and friends, the turn of the year to!

In the city, Christmas stalls become New Year’s Eve stalls. Instead of Christmas balls there are now little pigs, shamrocks and toadstools as well as hoof irons to buy a few things that were supposed to bring luck.

A nice tradition at our house’ was that Pouring lead. Small figures made of lead were melted in a spoon over a candle flame. Afterwards the melted was poured into cold water. We then took the figure out of the water and tried to interpret what it might represent. We never really agreed.

How to celebrate christmas in other countries

From On New Year’s Eve 2018, however, the pouring of lead is forbidden. Read more here

Of course, at midnight in our garden there was always a Fireworks, and in the gardens of our neighbors too. The sky full of lights. Something like this is really nice to see.

But before going into the garden, there was a Lentil salad, with kernel oil and onion in Styria. Because also the lentils should Happiness and money in the new year bring.

The New Year’s Eve Pummerin in St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the crowning glory – the famous bell that rings us into the new year. At the twelfth chime of the bell it is then said: "Everything Waltzes" and everyone dances to Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss "Beautiful Blue Danube.

TIP: New Year’s Eve in Vienna – Happy New Year!

For many this starts new year with the 1. January and a New Year’s concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. If you have never heard it, then I can only advise you to get some tickets.

Customs& Rites around Christmas

Peculiarities in other cultures& Countries

Like us humans, customs and rites are different and therefore we would like to give you here a small insight in how far traditions differ or resemble each other.


"Kripperl-Schauen" in the city and in the country Salzburg

A dear tradition to shorten the wait for the Christkind in Salzburg is to get the children on 24. December to walk from church to church. Almost in every church in Salzburg – and there are many – there is a Christmas crib. This is the representation of the birth of Christ in a model landscape.

The figures are usually artfully made of wood carved. Mary and Joseph, an ox and a donkey, a few shepherds and sheep are placed in a barn open to the front. For the Jesus child is in the Advent season (from the beginning of December) an empty feeding crib with straw set up. It is soon to be born.

In the Salzkammergut, for example around the Traunsee, there is the tradition of the "Kripperl-Roas", which means as much as a "journey from crib to crib". Many of the old nativity scenes, passed down through generations, are set up in private homes. These open their doors to visitors during Advent, usually for a small donation.

Christmas crib Wood


The Christmas traditions begin in Slovakia already on 13. December. Because on this day Lucia celebrates her name day. It is customary for the girls who have not yet been given away to write on 11 slips of paper the names of their possible futures. Every day a piece of paper is thrown away. The last note, which the girl on the 24.12. open, bears the name of their future.

In the evening Christmas wafers with honey and garlic eaten, apples are sliced, and the wedges are divided among the people at the table.

Wafers for Christmas

At 24.12. celebrating Christmas and gets the Christmas presents. In Slovakia the children are given Christ Child the gifts on 24. December. In the following two days one visits the close family. On 26.12. the first parties (Stephan’s party) will take place at. the time of balls begins.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic you can get Gifts not from Santa Claus but from the Christ Child, in Czech "Jezisek". The presents magically appear under the Christmas tree. So when you bells hear the Christmas bell ringing softly, hurry to the Christmas tree and see what the Christ Child has brought you.

In addition, it could be a that you choose your Sharing a bathtub with a carp must be. For some, this tradition is cruelty to animals. It is Custom on 24. December to eat a carp. To guarantee that the fish is fresh, many buy a live carp and kill it themselves. Until then, however, the carp must stay in your bathtub.

It is also supposed to bring good luck a fish scale in your wallet to be kept. With this you are sure to make money in the new year.

Carp for Christmas

Ukraine& Russia

The gifts are already distributed on St. Nicholas Day and are less common at Christmas.
The Christmas party is according to the Julian calendar on 07. January, it follows the "Old New Year" on 14. and Epiphany on 19.

A widely known custom in the latter is the ritual bath in the freshly blessed river or pond – which in the region is always connected with the fact that first a hole must be sawed in the ice cover.


At Christmas Eve there is after a strict fasting day a meal consisting of 12 different dishes.

Man renounces meat, eggs, dairy products and alcohol (!). Typical are Borshch (red beet soup) and Varennyky (dumplings filled with potato mixture, cabbage or mushrooms).

In order to recreate the situation of the stable (where the crib was) under the tablecloth some hay which is terribly inconvenient, because then the glasses fall over continuously. There is always a extra place setting, because one holds oneself symbolically Surprise guest ready.


Unlike us in Austria, the Italians do not celebrate until the 25.12. Christmas, on the 24.12. there is, however, a big dinner together with the whole family, "cenone" called.

Especially important for the children is the Befana, an old lady who flies from house to house on a broom to fill the children’s socks with sweets: the good children get candy, the bad only a piece of coal.


In France the 25. December Christmas and a holiday. On the evening of 24. December the whole family gathers for a big festive meal.

Not every family eats the same, of course, but there are commonalities. Generally we eat as Appetizer seafood. There can be oysters, langoustine, lobster, etc. be.

Finally there is dessert. The traditional dessert is called "la bûche de Noel" and is an iced dessert. "La bûche" means "log" which is placed in the chimney to make a fire, and since the frozen dessert has the same shape, it has its name. It is a very high calorie dessert, there is a lot of cream in it, so we often eat only a small portion.

Before going to bed, the children put their slippers under the Christmas tree. It is said that Santa Claus comes in the night through the chimney and the Gifts next to the slippers puts. In the morning we open the gifts together.

The 25. December is usually a very quiet day. There is often another big meal at noon and it is an opportunity to spend time with the family. On the 26th. December everyone goes back to work."


25. December. 30 degrees outside temperature. The sound of the sea. Surfers running around with Santa hats. Australia in Christmas fever. The Christmas holidays are In the middle of summer , so most people are out to celebrate Christmas. Be it on Beach or in the park , usually also at a BBQ, barbecue and a cold beer in the hand. Christmas in Australia!

After the main course (usually lamb or chicken or a selection of fresh seafood), there is a traditional Australian dessertPavlova. Every mother has her own recipe, but it always tastes good and consists mostly of Sugar with fruit on top.

Customs& Rites around New Year’s Eve


In Spain is called New Year’s Eve "Nochevieja".

This evening, Spaniards gather either in the famous Madrid square "Puerta del Sol" to watch with excitement the Ringing of the bell tower at midnight to wait. For it is traditional to eat a grape with each stroke of the bell, making a total of 12.

It is also important to note that the Spanish 1. January, end of New Year’s Eve, traditionally with a breakfast of chocolate con churros start, a pastry similar to doughnuts, which is dipped in chocolate.


"Star shooting / firecracker shooting" in the city of Salzburg

On New Year’s Eve, at 31.12., every year in the city of Salzburg there is the New Year’s Eve star shooting.

The so-called "Prangerschutzen" stand on the bastions of Salzburg’s local mountains (Mochsberg, Kapuzinerberg, Festungsberg) and, on the last day of the year, shoot with their pillory guns. Here is a short video

These are guns 50 to 70 cm long and weighing 15 to 30 kg, which are loaded with 50% black powder and make a very loud bang when ignited. This is also where the name is derived from: prang = noise, splendor, sensation.

This noise custom takes place around ca. 16.00 o’clock in the city of Salzburg its climax. Then it’s on for everyone: "Don’t stand too close to the shooters and cover your ears!" For many Salzburgers, a fixture for the end-of-year feast.


In Italy to wear on New Year’s Eve ( capodanno ) red underwear ("biancheria intima rossa"), which you throw away used the next day. This is a sign of female and male fertility and is also supposed to bring good luck in the new year.

They also eat lentils with black pudding on New Year’s Eve: le lenticchie con il cotechino


Turkey welcomes the New Year with decorations, special food, parties and fireworks. The New Year celebration is for the family: dinner together with the family, with many delicacies such as roast turkey, followed by board games, TV, music, and drinking.

fireworks are an important part of the New Year celebration. Private fireworks in the streets and the big fireworks display in the city at exactly 00:00, which lights up the sky for many minutes.

The New Year lottery is also a Tradition in Turkey And buying a ticket as a gift is widespread. Gifts for family, colleagues or friends are prepared and put under a decorated New Year tree laid, a pine tree. The Gifts will be in 31. December or distributed on the last working day.


On New Year’s Eve and the New Year is Cabbage soup with clobber and meat eaten – in contrast to Christmas.


2019, the year of the pig (5. February 2019 – 24. January 2020)

The Chinese New Yearfestival, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important traditional festival and holiday in China. The festival falls on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar (usually late January or early February) and ends with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day after.

The traditional customs for the spring festival, which originated several millennia ago, are still widely followed today.

Give yourself red envelopes

As at Christmas, people exchange gifts during the spring festival. The most common gift is the red envelope. The red envelopes contain money. Red envelopes are considered symbols of good luck and money.

There are still so many traditions& Customs that do not all find room here.
Read here: "40 ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve"

And how do you celebrate Christmas& New Year’s Eve?

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