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Christmas around the world

Christmas around the world:

How do you celebrate it?

Different countries have different customs, and here we look at some of the fun things people get up to around the world!

Australia & New Zealand

Woolworths Carols in the Park These people are gathered for carols in the park in Sydney, Australia. Wouldn't you like to join them? :)

Carols by candlelight started in Melbourne in 1937, and the custom has spread to other large cities in Australia.

Thousands of people, each holding a candle, gather together – often outdoors – to sing carols. The Melbourne event is broadcast on television all over Australia.

There are often other celebrations in the larger cities, such as festivals, parades and fireworks.

Families often go camping or stay at their holiday homes for Christmas.

Many towns in New Zealand have a Santa parade, with decorated floats, marching bands and teams of dancers twirling batons.


United States

Americans love to parade, too!

hollywood christmas parade This is the 75th Hollywood Christmas Parade. :) There are parades in many local communities three or four weeks before Christmas. Local groups and schools decorate their cars and design floats, the Mayor joins the parade and children from local dancing schools will often take part.

Families line the streets to watch, and children love to catch the sweets (or candy) thrown from the floats.

   Read more about other Christmas customs here on page 2!


For many British families, Christmas would not be complete without a visit to a pantomime.

Daniel Boys and the cast of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Stevenage Christmas Lights Switch-on 2010 This pantomime is about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Do you know the story?

Traditional tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin are retold using words, song and dance, and the audience joins in to cheer the hero and boo the villain.

But everything is upside down: the hero is always played by a girl, and a man plays the part of the funny lady called the “dame”!

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Bonfire Do you think you'd be able to jump over this bonfire?

In some parts of Spain, like Granada and Jaen, there is a tradition where people jump over bonfires (hogueras) to protect them against illness.

This happens on the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice, and marks the beginning of winter.


Santa's Helper

In Zimbabwe, people go from house to house after Church on Christmas Day, visiting their family and friends.

Big stereo speakers are set up outside the houses, to play carols, pop music and African songs very loudly.

Some Zimbabweans only get new clothes at Christmas time, so everyone looks forward to wearing their best outfits.

The tradition of visiting houses to sing carols does not exist in Zimbabwe, but carols are sung at Church on Christmas Day.


How do you spend the holidays? Let us know what you’ll be doing!


Spain bonfire: Flickr user Fire At Will ; Xmas image: Clipart user inky2010; Christmas carols: Flickr user jo3hug; Christmas parade: Flickr user jimw; Christmas Pantomime: Flickr user anemoneprojectors (getting through the backlog); Santa's helper: Jeff Attaway.

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