by Ben Halevy
Around the world, a variety of cultures celebrate Christmas differently than most families in the U.S. Here are a few ways that the global community celebrates the most wonderful time of the year.
Most Armenians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 6, commemorating both Jesus’ birth and baptism. Because the holiday is far less commercialized in Armenia, most of the celebration occurs within the church with ceremonies such as the “Blessing of Water,” where the cross is dipped into water to symbolize Jesus being dipped in the River Jordan to be baptized, according to the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
In the Czech Republic, Santa Claus arrives with angels and devils on Dec. 5. His arrival is considered separate from Christmas itself and is called St. Nicholas’ Day, on which St. Nicholas comes and asks children if they have been good all year and to sing or recite a poem. Accompanying St. Nicholas are an angel to give children gifts and a devil to take children away; the trio can be seen throughout the country talking to kids, according to the Saint Nicholas Center.
On the island of Jamaica, Christmas Eve is also known as “Grand Market,” which is a cross between a festival and a market where people can buy everything from clothes to Christmas foods; it lasts from 6 p.m. to Christmas morning. Although some attend midnight mass that night, other Jamaicans party all night and then attend Christmas Day services in the morning, according to the Jamaica Information Service.
The country celebrates Christmas, or Ganna, on Jan. 7 in accordance with the ancient Julian calendar, which is preceded by a day of fasting. While gift exchanges are uncommon, Ethiopians spend time with their families and participate in community activities to celebrate, according to the ONE campaign.