Every year during the month of December, people across America deck the halls with festive decorations. Outside the United States, however, countries are displaying unique traditions and customs different from those here.
While Snow College students are stringing up colorful lights and decorating pine trees, Christians in India are busy decorating banana trees. Due to the warm tropical climate, it is more common to place ornaments on a palm tree than a more traditional pine.
Milina Ishikura, an international student from Japan, is experiencing an American Christmas similar to the one she knows at home.
“One of my roommates brought a real Christmas tree to our apartment,” said Milina. “We decorated it and it was very cool. In Japan, my family uses a fake Christmas tree. I have never had a real one before.”
Up north, in Canada, there is a postal code that citizens can write letters to, addressed to Santa. In fact, hundreds of Canadian volunteers read the letters and reply to their earnest correspondents, working as Santa’s helpers and spreading Christmas cheer across the country.
Similar to the stockings hung on American mantels, children in the Philippines leave polished shoes or clean socks near their window sill, anticipating gifts from Santa Claus and sometimes The Three Kings.
Dallin Duncan, who spent two years living in the Philippines, has personal experience with the culture and holiday traditions. “Filipinos are mostly Christian so they celebrate a lot like they do in the UK and the United States.” Explained Dallin, “They have ‘noche buena’ which is a big open house dinner where everyone in the neighborhood comes by to eat.”
Regardless of geographical location, there are plenty of Christmas traditions to welcome the holiday season in different ways. Whether it is a pine tree or banana tree, a stocking or a boot, symbols of Christmas surround us all around the world.